Good wins versus evil

Bi-weekly columnist examines and ugly incident in the news, and the upside announced in its wake

I’m outraged, truly and thoroughly outraged and disgusted beyond words.

Today I was reading online news when I came across a deeply disturbing video. The video, commonly known on YouTube as Making the Bus Monitor Cry, shows four middle school students verbally abusing their bus monitor, 68-year-old Karen Klein.

At one point, their taunts and insults were so painful to Klein that she began crying.

In response to the tears, one of the students said, “Oh my God, your glasses are all foggy from your [expletive] sweat you fat [expletive].

For ten long and painful minutes the students continued hurling insults and names at the woman including some reference to her kids wanting to kill themselves because she is their mother. Unfortunately, Klein’s son had committed suicide ten years ago.

Even more troubling is the fact that not one person on that bus chose to intervene, not even when one of the students actually physically abused her.

Factor in that someone maliciously chose to videotape the incident and then post it online and the whole incident takes on huge and ugly undertones.

Be forewarned; should you choose to watch the video it’s a shining example of poor parenting, bullying at its worst and disrespect for the elderly all rolled into one big ugly ball.

Growing up we all got bullied to some degree. There was a huge tolerance for bullies back then, and generally, the person being bullied wasn’t pitied. Instead, he or she was told to grow up or ignore it. Bullying was considered a part of childhood and thus was accepted as such.

Thank goodness things have changed. Unfortunately, it took high profile cases, thanks to the social media and the Internet, to change the view on bullying. Nowadays there’s anti-bullying legislation and schools and workplaces have, for the most part, adopted a strong stance against anything that even resembles bullying.

As I was researching this story for this column, I began reading posted commentary from readers. Sadly, some of those comments shed a light on why we still have incidents such as this rearing their hideous heads.

Here’s just one example of a comment left by a reader, “These little [expletive] deserve a worse possible fate than anyone could imagine. Personally, if I had the opportunity to be in a room alone with the [expletive] doing this to her, they wouldn’t come out alive.”

Um…. Yeah.

I understand the anger and outrage, I really do. But the retribution some of the readers suggested was just as repulsive and horrifying as the action of the bullies. Maybe even more so. These were adult readers who were commenting, they weren’t middle-school students who have a lot yet to learn in life.

It deeply saddens me that we are still at a place where verbal and physical abuse of an elderly woman still happens and it dismays me that the knee-jerk reaction to such things is solution by way of physical mistreatment.

Somehow it reminds me of the parent who spanks their child for hitting their sibling.

The only redeeming factor to this story is that a Toronto man, spurred by the senseless cruelty towards Klein, set up a fundraising account on indiegogo.com in order to help send her on the “vacation of a lifetime” and had, as of June 21, raised some $250,000.

Oh, that and the fact that the parents have promised punishment for their offspring. Somehow I think that discipline is a little late coming. The barn door has already been opened.

The outpouring of generosity from strangers, however, has far surpassed the cruel acts of those four middle-school students and underscores the fact that, while our society is still peppered with a small population of such evil-doers, as a whole we’re a society which turns our backs on such despicable doings and instead chooses to combat evil with good.