Letters to the Editor

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BULLYING: Incident reflects darker nature

Letter by Arne Herstad, Gig Harbor on Aug. 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm with 3 Comments »
August 29, 2012 3:22 pm

Re: “Parents say child bullied by teacher, classmates” (TNT, 8-29).

The Kopachuck Middle School incident should put us all on notice with regard to our own nature. If humans were perfect, we wouldn’t need laws. The very term “civilized” connotes the darker aspect, and consoles the better beast within us that we’ve made a good show of reining it in. Then this.

But why call it “bullying” or “hazing”? We’ve an older and better word for it: scapegoating.

The ancient religion of scapegoating has stalked us through millennia and is seeded in the birthing room of every human heart. The movie “Hunger Games” draws on it, as does “Gladiator.” But the infamous Inquisition takes the cake, because the details were recorded by those who thought they were doing good. Had they thought otherwise, they’d have hidden their deeds from posterity.

Brazenly peering into a cellphone camera while classmates under your charge play “Lord of the Flies” may have flown in ancient Rome, but it better not fly here.

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. pasmacker says:

    Arne, Kudos for one of the most insightful and well reasoned letters to the editor I have ever read. Most times these things are ragged rants full of half truths and half thoughts written by half brains.

  2. whitecap says:

    Well Arne, at the risk of sounding like one of pasmacker’s “half brains” I don’t get it. A scapegoat is someone upon whom blame is placed. I don’t see that happening in the KMS incident. So I would ask you, why not call it bullying or harassment? And, since when has scapegoating ever been a religion? It was an Old Testament practice, but I’ve never seen it listed with any of the world’s religions.

  3. Eohippus says:

    p: I’m encouraged. If one person understands the spirit of my letter, then others will also.

    W: Hey, no risk, no gain. Good question,too. You are correct about the scapegoat. So, “scapegoating” is what people looking for scapegoats do. This process I’ve tagged as “religion’ because of its outcome: human sacrifice. Bullying and hazing are scapegoating’s ugly cousins. They herd the victim in for the kill. But I wanted to get to the root of the tree, not the fruit of it. An interesting book on the topic is “The Scapegoat” by Rene Girard. The first thing you’ll find in it is that I’m not the first person to ever think about this. Good hunting.

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