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Rev. Peter Baldwin Panagore Headshot

Chicken-Hearted Bullies and Lionhearted Girls

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Bullies are cowards. This story is true, and stories like it occur every day.

In a town far away, in a town anywhere, out on a rural road. Two high school football players drove a pickup toward the end of a rural road. These football players had power. Town talk said the driver had come from a loving home. Town talk said that the passenger was angry, and abused as a child. Is it true? God knows. Together they slowly drove past a house. Three younger teens, talking among themselves, stepped out of that house. The football players pulled over. There were no adults around. The players taunted the younger teens, and one boy in particular. He was considered peculiar. The peculiar boy touched the pretty truck. "Take your (bleep-bleep) hand off of my truck, retard." The player had a rule: nobody touches the paint job and wax.

Both bullies beat that boy black and blue. They threw him to the ground and kicked him. The boy's friends watched. The boy struggled to his feet, and ran and hid inside a tool shed. The bullies had a blow-dart gun hidden behind the truck's seat. They shot the boy twice. They aimed through cracks in the walls of the loosely-planked shed. He burst out and ran again. They chased and caught him. They dragged the boy back into the shed for more. He took it. Much later he told his mom, "I did what you told me. 'Don't fight back.' They wanted me to fight back. They wanted an excuse. I could tell."

Tired after their exertion of repeatedly beating the boy and shooting him with darts, both bullies began to leave. In a final act of terrorism, one walked to his pickup truck, picked up his unloaded deer rifle, pointed his it at the mistreated teen, and pantomimed the recoil action, shouting, "Bang."

Weeks later, on a bus to their school, a similar outcast -- another boy -- became their next target. On this bus, both bullies bound this new boy's hands, stuffed a dirty sock into his mouth and then punched him repeatedly. Teenagers on the bus watched, and did nothing. Both bullies pulled knives and cut his hands free. This boy seldom speaks. Both bullies knew he would not talk. Two girls talked. They told the principal. The principal acted. Justice prevailed. In due time, both bullies were prosecuted.

Bullies intimidate and terrorize, and expect to get away with it. These kinds of cock-a-doodle-doos use fear. They pick on the weak; they may hold power, but they are chicken-hearted cowards.

Lionhearted co-workers, families, neighbors, communities and strangers speak up, and stand up together against bullies of all ages. As the Psalms say, defend the weak.

Our Loving God, teaches us to pray for our enemies, so pray for bullies, and that God may strengthen us their victims.