The Silent Epidemics/ Bullying and Intimidation/Open the Closet

The Silent Epidemics/ Bullying and Intimidation/Open the Closet

There is a saying "those who can, do; those who can't bully." Tribune Columnist Heidi Kiebler Stevens recently touched on a subject that certainly is in dire need of a good rinsing in America. She directed her words at Mayor Pete Buttigieg a candidate for President of the United States. Words that we all should finally pay attention to.  A candidate for President of the United States without question has a platform. I know nothing about him whatsoever, but I'm now paying close attention because his subject was bullying.  Can anyone remember another politician ever bringing the subject up?  It's possible but I doubt it. The difference between mental and emotional abuse is subtle. The best way to distinguish them is to think of mental abuse as abusive behavior that damages a person's mind and emotional abuse as behavior that damages a person's emotions.


According to the Charter Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) there has been a major shift in perception regarding bullying in America.  More and more American organizations, including workplaces, schools, athletic departments, social media,  etc. are finally accepting that it does exist and is the cause of a myriad of difficulties and problems, both for individual victims and institutions alike. In addition to being undermined and or humiliated,  bullying has also been associated with other symptoms such as sleeplessness, acute anxiety, feelings of isolation, nausea, migraine/severe headaches, depression, panic attacks, anger, and suicidal thoughts.  There, of course, are many more but the picture is clear, the physical and psychological effects of bullying affect people in their personal health.


The British Medical Association which is light years ahead in its research of the effects of bullying estimates that in the UK bullying costs 80 million lost working days, and up to 2 to 3 billion in lost revenue each year.  A new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) looked at the long-term psychological effects of bullying for kids who are bullied, who bully or play both roles which are the case in many instances. Earlier studies have relied on registry data, only giving a vague peek into the peoples mental health. The new study actually followed up with its cohorts as they aged into adulthood. We know now that the effects of bullying can and does last well into adulthood.


From time to time I  get calls from teachers, reporters, politicians or even curious friends asking about the levels of violence in Chicago. I have to admit that I have had a front-row seat both up close and personal and from a distance after I retired after 33 years working Chicago's inner city streets.  In the last year or so the questions have not so much been about the killings and shootings themselves but about the ages of the victims and offenders and also the number of girls and women becoming the targets.  The answer, of course, is bullying on steroids (INTIMIDATION)  My good friend and constant companion Merriam Webster describe intimidation as, "to make timid or fearful, to frighten, especially to compel or deter others by or if by threats."  The below photo calls this individual a MAN, Okay he was a 17-year-old man.  Started as a shorty, he's probably not finished yet.


Chicago's thug gangs enjoy a veritable minor league of young compliant youth whom they affectionately call "SHORTIES. " Teens as young as 12 are bullied and shaped by older intimidating hardcore gang leaders. Several have been victims in recent weeks and also several have been charged with being the offenders. Imagine a city where taxpayers are on the hook for $7 to $8 million dollars yearly to foot the bill for a "SAFE PASSAGE FORCE" just to ensure children are not attacked for attending schools when crossing gang boundaries. A consequence that Mayor Emanuel never even thought about when he closed over 50 Chicago Public Schools. The head of the Chicago Teachers Union at that time started to call him Mayor Murder. A cynical person could give that some thought.  During Emanuel's 8 years in office which ended Monday,  there were 4,535 people murdered  (566 a year on average) and over 20,000 wounded. But hey! how nice is that new RIVERWALK?


Until Chicago's leaders realize that the gangs are the number one reason for the continued violence and the bullying and intimidation are their most effective weapon,  we will never break the chain of mayhem and the levels we have reached. The City has to finally quit buying into the bullshit that witnesses to these shootings are not cooperating because they don't trust the police. The threat of death looms large over these communities, the intimidation factor is the number one reason for the silence. Intimidation (also called cowing) is intentional behavior that would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities to fear grave injury or harm and even death.

Behavioral theorists often see threatening behaviors as a consequence of being threatened by others, including parents, authority figures playmates, and siblings. The gang elders will exact revenge, if not the intended target then a family member, girlfriend, wife or sibling.  It's called collateral revenge or retaliation, thus the increased number of female victims. Give credit to Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg for bringing bullying out to the campaign trail, although his answer of asking your bully "what's wrong with you? " will not work for the gang intimidators.  It's a start that might get some of Chicago's leaders to thinking.  New mayor, new ideas, Chicago's violence needs tending to.




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