Bully Turned Deadly

Geraldine DeRuiter recounts the story of her bully:

In 2010, after years of finding nothing, I learned from a friend that my bully had been murdered in his home not far from where we grew up. Consumed by the story, I pored over every news article on his death I could find. He had been dealing pot and was killed in a robbery gone wrong. One of the murderers had been his childhood friend.

DeRuiter also gives a different perspective on the bully:

Nobody wants to extend sympathy to a tormenter. The trouble is, school and neighborhood bullies aren’t adults. They’re kids, and many are grappling with their own problems. In 2008, the Institute of Education in London published a report that found that bullies had higher levels of anger, depression, emotional disaffection, paranoia and suicidal behavior. Other studies have found that as they grow up, bullies tend to have more trouble keeping jobs, have more problems with alcohol and drugs, and are more likely to have criminal records. A large number of bullies are also victims of bullying, meaning they face some of the same pathologies that they induce in others.

“These kids have been told that they’re worthless, that they’re stupid. They’re dealing with trauma, and they don’t have the social skills to process it. Punishing them just makes it worse,” says Julietta Skoog, a school psychologist with Seattle Public Schools and co-founder of Sproutable, a company that creates video-based parenting tools. “It’s never just ‘I feel like being a jerk.’”

As a victim and survivor of bullying, I also wonder how my tormenters turn out. One of them showed up on Facebook. We were neighbors. I was around eight or nine and he was two years older than me. He beat me up because he thought I made fun of him, which I did not. He was stronger and a better fighter than me; therefore, I was not stupid enough to piss him off. The punch was not as hurt as the embarrassment when I mom got involved. She banned me from speaking to him. As time passed, he wanted to hanging out with me again, but I could not. If he apologized, I would have reconsidered it. Now we are friends on Facebook. He seems to be doing fine. We did not bring up the past. The memory still lingered.

Bonjour Vietnam