Friday, 13 March 2009

Anti-bullying expert Helle Rabøl Hansen's bullying language

E-mail to Danish "anti-bullying-inspirator" Helle Rabøl Hansen:

Dear Helle Rabøl Hansen,

In context with the latest school shooting in Germany, I happened to read Gitte Svanholm's article "Elever kan afværge skoleskyderier" (Students can prevent school shootings),, January 26th, 2009,, that quotes you:

"Those who go berserk have an extremity - a twisted soul - in addition to their loneliness. But it isn't only their genetic material and their education, that makes them go berserk with weapons at schools. To a great extent, school structure enters into it, too".

I agree, that society, parents and school included, play a decisive role in regard to the single individual's well-being. They do play the decisive role.

What I don't understand though, is where you get your knowledge in regard to the genetic material of the individuals concerned from. Until this day today, no one gene has been found, that could be made responsible for these individuals' behavior. Thus, your mention of genetic material is pure speculation, and has to be termed extremely unscientific.

Furthermore, both insinuating a genetic defect, and even more a wording like "Those who go berserk have an extremity - a twisted soul- ..." (my emphasis) is utterly discriminating against the individuals concerned.

Now, unfortunately it is on our society's agenda to grossly discriminate against everyone who doesn't in every particular live up to the norms that define normal behavior. It is normal to do so, so to speak. Nevertheless, I wonder how comes, that even an expert on the matter of bullying obviously isn't capable of recognizing this, and of avoiding to grossly discriminate, bully, herself, and I'd appreciate to hear, how you explain your choice of words.

Best regards,
Marian B. Goldstein


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your email Marian it was spot on.

I would like to lodge an official protest on genetic material being bad. My genetics did not come with code to go off on people.

I can't disagree that much about the 'twisted' part though. There is something that twists a certain way because of the home and school environment. What is that but our very soul?

The kids that go off and do shootings are not only ones that are bullied. What causes some bullied kids to become self destructive (substance abuse, cutting, etc) versus the bullied student sitting to the right of them who comes in with guns blazing.

The ego sense of self the >>I<< is twisted in what can only be called supreme narcissism. It's not enough to put a bullet in your head to end your suffering, you have to put bullets in other heads first. That's narcissism. One of the Columbine boys asked a victim if she believed in God before shooting her.

That's narcissism. It is ego presumption beyond the pale. At the point where you are executing people because life so unfair you have terminal narcissism. I came very close to stabbing kids at school. It was not my genes that made me do it. It was an urge to strike back and 'teach' the kids a lesson about picking on people. That need to educate the masses with brutality was serious, massive narcissism. Because people 'dared' to fuck with me and had to be taught a lesson.

Who was this >>I<< that was so offended? Who was the >>I<< that wanted revenge? Who was >I< to presume to be their karma? I was twisted I won't even pretend otherwise. That twisting occured to my developing ego. I didn't think I deserved to be picked on at home and at school.

There is nothing we can do about the home environment as breeding ground for mental illness but there is something we can do about school shootings. End school.

School is public educational institution designed to keep kids of the streets while their parents are at work and provide an education and teach conformity.

There is nothing wrong with educating kids or keeping them busy. It's the public nature of school that sets the stage of discontent. You have rich kids and poor kids. You have straight A students and back of the room slackers. You have the cool kids and misfits. Girl gangs and boy gangs. Exclusion and inclusion. It sucks.

If you are not in a good gang so to speak you get picked on. The way you dress and walk and talk. You are there to get an education but you get another education altogether in the simple cruelty of teen development in group social setting.

Log onto school from home, no more bullying in the school halls and recess yards, no more trenchcoat mafia with semi automatic weapons trying to get one last revenge in before suicide. No more worrying about kids going coming to school under the effects of psych meds wondering if they are going to shoot you.

As long as you have teens on hormones from different walks of life, parental training, home environments and class disparity you will have bullying. No getting around it.

Young teens are not generally in the process of trying to attain enlightened consciousness but rather concerned with what their hair looks like and what kind of car they are seen in and where they are in the school pecking order.

Monica Cassani said...

schools are definitely fucked up but isolating in front of a computer in order to learn is not the answer either...healthy socialization is a good thing and an important part of human development...granted some kids don't get to experience that, but that doesn't mean you get rid of it all together.

figuring out how to make spaces for kids safe for all or to be more realistic MOST kids is the answer...

how to do that I don't know ...but then again we live in a very fucked up unsafe world and none of us will ever escape trauma and abuse 100% until utopia is reached and that is most likely never going to happen. Reality must be dealt with and the fact is most people are unconscious abusers at least some of the time.

some kids would definitely do better away from school...but avoiding people altogether across the board isn't the way to fix things.

we're social animals and most of us do better with others around us...again the operative word being MOST...