Monday, November 04, 2013

Innocence Abhorred

I am not an easy man to shock, but a case last week gave me a lot to think about. I cannot say too much, but the core of the case was that a young girl was being threatened by girls from her school, and consequences ensued from that.
Three young girls gave evidence via video, and they came across as ordinary kids, typical of our area. As the saying goes, butter would not melt..
As evidence emerged it turned out that one girl was a victim of nasty bullying, and that an incident had arisen when one of her bullies assembled a gang and went to the vicinity of the victim's house, the whole business being co-ordinated by BBM (Blackberry messenger) ( A kind of mobile telephone, m'lud).
My colleagues and I each concluded that this was a 'Lord of The Flies'  situation. The targeted girl said in evidence that she and he ringleader had fallen out last year, but that she could not remember why. The reasons have faded, but the hatred remains fresh.
I can't say much more about this, but as a human being and a grandfather of two little girls I find it depressing that children in a a comfortable area of a rich country in the 21st century can behave with such basic savagery. What on earth will they be like when they are adults?


  1. What will they be like as adults? Probably some who were involved will grow up to be very decent people. Some will not.

    I am reminded of a letter in 'The Times' some years ago, which stated that at the writer's school, one boy had bullied another. "He came to the attention of the headmaster, who caned him. He never did it again, and went on to have a highly successful career as a..."

    May I recommend the recent 'In Defense [sic] of Flogging', by Peter Moskos? It presents an interesting argument for the use of corporal punishment.

  2. Bearing in mind my years at a flogging school, I'm moved to ask whether this defence of corporal punishment relates to the possible improvement of the victim or the enjoyment and satisfaction of hte flogger?

  3. One of the problems of traditional "stratified" educational systems is that there is no heirarchy within it so children have to compete with each other; this often manifests as bullying. When they go into the world of work, they will start at the bottom and there will be a "pecking order" which they will fit in to.

    1. So there will be no possibility of bullying in the workplace, as there is not in schools in which there is a hierarchy. That is good to know.

  4. @anonymous you may not. There is no excuse for beating children.
    @Bystander I fear they will grow up to be just like their parents

  5. At my Grammar School in the 1950s-60s the cane was a sanction which was available in extreme cases. I was there for 7 years and it was was very rarely, if ever, applied. The important thing is that we all knew that the sanction was there and would be applied if necessary, the result being that very few took the risk of crossing the "line in the sand".

  6. In this case, the past can't be invoked in support of corporal punishment. These are girls remember, and girls were rarely if ever subjected to formal corporal punishment. Anyway, from my own experience corporal punishment and bullying can happily coexist.
    I'm not sure quite what point Bystander Team is making. Lord of the flies? Yes children and young teenagers can be very nasty, nothing new in that. It used to be thought that learning had to be beaten into them and sin beaten out. Now the official line is that children are naturally good unless corrupted. I don't buy either.

  7. "Caning you say? Just the thing. Sort the little buggers right out. Never did me a spot of harm."

    - Sir Harry Paget Flashman VC KCB KCIE (or maybe not)

  8. Will the law benefit either victim or villians?
    And will there be ostracism and payback?

  9. @Beaky and @Unknown

    Peter Moskos suggests that flogging be considered as an option in adult punishment.

    He proposes the following:
    that those convicted of an offence should (with certain exceptions, especially if the convict is a danger to the public) be given the option of being flogged in place of prison, at a given rate of months per stroke;
    that a doctor would attend and monitor the convict;
    that the canes used would be suitably sterilised.

    The reasons for doing so are that it would keep people out of prison, thus allowing them to have a short time off work, if employed, rather than losing such a job and causing break-up of such family as they might have; reduce the (many and severe) problems of over-crowded prisons; and reducing the vast expense of prisons.

    Query: If one child beats (or hits, kicks, etc.) another, is the parent justified in doing so to the perpetrator, in order to show the perpetrator what it is like, but doing so in such a way that it does no lasting damage?



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