Tag Archives: violence

Douchebags, Vigilantes, Really Shitty Decisions, and Just the Right Amount of Violence

In case the title didn’t give it away, this one contains material which may be considered offensive. Video link is very graphic.

What Makes Me Applaud Violence:

One of my very best friends came over and we were catching up. I have known her for 11 years. Our families have spent weekends together, camping and playing games. Her kids are my kids. They are fabulous people. Mean card players.

One of their stunning, smart, funny, articulate, fearless daughters is babysitting for me this summer. I’ve known her since she was five. She now stands about six foot tall. Long blond hair. Completely beautiful girl, inside and out. One of their sons is my Cup O Noodle-eating soul brother. I want my daughter to marry him, but she’s only 11, and he has a girlfriend. He’s a good six-four with smiley blue eyes and a heart of generosity and valor. I’ve known him since he was seven.

Meg mentioned that my soul brother, her son, had had a scuffle at school. “What happened?” I asked.

“One of the boys said he wanted to _____ (sister’s name), so he took him out.”

He punched out a punk kid for being disrespectful about his sister? “Perfect!” I exclaimed.

Sincere. All-in. Fist bump. Teary-from-pride eyes. “If you need any support on that one, I’m first in line behind you,” I told her. Some words don’t need to be spoken, but these were.

 The Backstory to Put My Colosseum Fervor into Context:

I’ve been doing some investigative digging at the intersection of rape culture, social media, vigilantism, feminism, power dynamics, gender relations, and free speech. I have daughters and sons and so these topics are important to me on a variety of levels.

It’s been three parts stomach turning and two parts social study. Not surprisingly the concept of “douchebaggery” frequently appears.

"douchebag" graphic
No douchebags. Made using the tool hosted at tagxedo.com.

I love the word “douchebag.” I would only feel hinkier about admitting that if I had decorum or plausible deniability. Though it does degrade, by association, the feminine care product from which its name derives, “douchebag” describes individuals who practice the baser version of humanity recognized by misogyny, bullying, and exploitation. Sometimes there’s no better word to do the job.

Free Speech:

Free speech is a two-headed beast. Free speech does not just protect noble expression. We can say the most reprehensible thoughts imaginable and as long as we don’t threaten imminent harm, we are within the bounds of law. But what does that look like when a drunk high school student’s friend makes  a 12-minute video of him laughing about and mocking an unresponsive 16-year-old female student who has possibly been drugged and is being gang-raped and possibly urinated on and posts it on YouTube? Is there anything criminal in that? How can there not be? And yet…


Two of the boys were charged as delinquents for rape (“guilty” for minors), but the coach, whom tweets indicated may have known about the incident the night it happened and who neither reported it nor benched his players when allegations surfaced, got a two-year contract extension. The prosecutor said the girl’s family didn’t originally want to press charges because she didn’t want to be drug through the media mudpit.

Social Media and Bullying:

And tweets and Facebook and pictures…

Amanda Todd, another teen victim of peer douchebaggery, has a tragic tale that serves as both cautionary tale and  wake-up call. As a 7th grader, Amanda visited webcams with friends. A guy online sweet-talked her into flashing her chest. One year later, he stalked her online and threatened to distribute her pix far and wide if she didn’t “give him a show.” He did. She didn’t know how he got her info.

Police showed up at her house on Christmas to let her know what had happened. Amanda didn’t press charges because she wanted to move on. Friends turned against her. She became “that girl” among her peers. She suffered major depression. She moved.

Watch the video below for the full story. Slut shaming killed her.

Not just boys are douchebags.

And here’s another one. Kid in high school in Colorado makes the team and gets hazed a la sodomy by his team-mates in the back of the bus on an away tournament. The team did well. Principal’s son is the victim. Dad of victim finds out when his other son hears the coach’s sons bragging about it. Coach’s sons are perpetrators. No lawsuit, no real consequence. Coach is part of influential family in town. Families played together since kids were young. Family of victim is ostracized. They move. Don’t rock the boat, Baby.

Girls aren’t the only victims in the “boys will be boys” douchebaggery.


If you don’t know about the guys in the Guy Fawkes masks, welcome to Anonymous, a loosely organized hacking collective that takes its inspiration from the dystopian cult movie “V for Vendetta.” The group is known for inflicting DDoS attacks on sites they find offensive (banking, corporate, etc.) and hacking into and distributing extracted personal information (DOX) of people whom they target as perpetrators. Their signature announcement is to hack into websites where the perps live with their voice distorted videos, warning the guilty to be on the lookout.

Response to the Steubenville rape divided the community. On one hand there was the “Steubenville law enforcement is covering up for the football team and, by the way, satan lives there.” And on the other hand camped the, “That girl asked for it. How dare she try and break apart the football team?!!” people. The social media attention either hampered the investigation, was responsible for the justice that did prevail, or was a witchhunt, depending on whom you ask.

I want to be able to simultaneously applaud Anonymous AND root for a fair and effective criminal justice system, but I gotta be honest: it’s hard not to side with Batman on this one.

I talked with a spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s office who has jurisdiction over the grand jury that is going to reconvene allegedly sometime to see if there are other’s guilty in the Steubenville incident. Though the grand jury has failed to meet on two separate scheduled dates, and no new date had been scheduled as of a week ago. It’s possible that vetting evidence and doing so according to the legal process to make a slam dunk arrest takes time.

I’m writing that and thinking, “Oh, c’mon. How long does it really take if you want to figure something out? I bet they’re just hoping the press will die down and the whole thing will go away.” And I get that. But I also get that getting that just keeps the whole stupid rape culture thing framed in the “boys will be boys and she shouldn’t have been there” BULLSHIT that is the booster banner on our collective mental gymnasium wall right now.

Even if our daughters make shitty decisions to go to parties without a cadre of friends who have each others backs… even if, like Amanda Todd, they are complete morons and flash their boobs to guys they don’t know online, couldn’t we agree that we are always going to take the side of the person who gets unwelcomed things shoved into their orifices?

Deric Lostutter, the leader of the band who headed up the Steubenville campaign is facing a five to ten times longer incarceration for being involved in the hacking of the team’s website. I did mention above that the coach got a contract extension, right?

A journalist named Alexander Abad-Santos has created tremendous coverage on the case.

The Problem with Vigilantes:

…which works really nicely until they accidentally identify the wrong person. In the case of Amanda Todd, Anonymous ID’d Kody Maxson who, clearly a douchebag as winner of an online underage naked girl screenshot video award, was exonerated on all charged attached to Todd’s case.

…or until they get pissed at Israel and blame them for heinousness in general. I like Israel.

The Room Where Bunny Trails Collide:

What’s the “So What?” here? We have kids, some of us. We are familiar with the idea of kids, the rest of us. Kids aren’t supposed to have to negotiate the messed up world of vindictive little bitches with access to Facebook pages or school-wide bullying based on unchangeable attributes. One of my daughters is approaching middle school. I want her to be safe. I want her to have fun. I want to tell her how to stay away from douchebags without her having to know the extent of the potential douchebaggery. I want her to find the making of dorky unicorn videos hysterical for at least another decade and emerge from that phase at some point in her mid-20’s ready to be respected for the tremendously valuable soul that her body houses.

I have sons. Eventually they will have puppy crushes and wind up on some flat surface with a girl. How do they stay out of lawsuits? “They shall remain virgins!” you proclaim? Um, okay.

I want there to be a clear difference between good and bad and I want there to be justice however it happens.

To give you the best I have come up with so far, I am going to provide a bunch of links. I hope they help you. Feel free to attach more and share your thoughts in general.



It’s about all of us, Stupid

Last week we were collectively raped by a troubled young adult whose supreme act of cowardice and evil resulted in the tragic passing of 26 souls. We are shocked; we are violated beyond reckoning; we are pisssssssed. We are filled with questions, mostly unformed, which swirl around the central theme of WHAT. THE. FUCK?!!

And we are looking for someone to blame because we need this fixed and we need it to go away. NOW. This is one of the ways we process the rage fueled by powerlessness.

We’ve all sat in front of the TV before, humming our ‘oh-dear-we-need-to-do-something’ mantras somewhere along the spectrum between raw brokenness and those-poor-bastards-over-there-ism. But this time it is different. He targeted our kids.

So we have taken up our pitchforks, and in an effort to assuage our limbic fear, we have formed two mobs and are lunging at each other with our pokey tines. We are calling each others’ mobs names and we are being quite ugly toward one another. At least I am. I had to stop engaging on the topic of guns with some of my dearest friends because I realized every person truly only needs one exit for excrement and there are better ways to use my words. (I am, though, still waiting for the email from the guy who offered to send me a picture of his genitalia to prove that it is bigger than my hillbilly brain. And I might have threatened to post it on FB because, and I’m not going to lie, I love a good fight.)

About the time I was getting caught up in the energy caused by engaging with the open-minded liberal who had just called me a pussy, a dear friend of mine — a school teacher — posted about her day. Her high schoolers had been asking questions, making requests that would make them feel more safe.

Would she put some paper on the window? Yes.

Would she lock the door? Yes.

“Mizz Ed, would you take a bullet for us?”

To which Mizz Ed responded with teary-eyed conviction, “Every one of us in this building would.”

They needed to know that.


The night of the incident, I was reading an article entitled “How do deal with violent children.” I wanted to know why his mom and dad didn’t keep us safe from their nut job son. I can’t believe they were ignorant that he had issues and that they weren’t trying to get him help. No parent WANTS this for their kid.

Matt saw the title of the article. He’d just kneed his brother in the butt for hogging the WII remote and been met with the perfect amount of scolding. “Why are you reading an article about violent children?” He was wanting to know if his butt-kneeing was grievous enough to the taken to the Internet gods for a ruling. “No, Sweetie, I’m just upset by this whole thing today and I don’t understand how somebody can be so icky.”

They started talking about their lock down drills, so we snuggled up together on the couch while they told me about them. They sit on the rug, very quietly while the teacher locks the doors and puts paper on the windows.

1) What fucked up world has kids going through lock-down drills?

2) Thank you, teachers, for putting the kids through lock down drills.

Talk about lock down drills led to talk about their building and how it’s built for their safety. How the teachers are trained to keep them safe. How every parent that they see would absolutely do anything in their power to keep them safe. How law enforcement is trained and ready to protect them. How we as a family will keep each other safe. How the entire rules of the road are built around school buses. Because we are a society who loves our kids, and if there is one thing that brings us together as humans, it is the safety of our kids.

I left out that when something breaches that code, we feel brutally ripped apart. Together. They’re kids. They haven’t forgotten that yet.

We do this. We protect each other. We don’t fight each other with pitchforks and leave the real issues unaddressed and all of us more vulnerable. We become grounded, and proactive, and we expand to allow complexity and nuance as we walk together toward our solutions.

I’m including a link to an essay written by a mom of a kid at high risk of going wonky. It is very powerful, and it reveals the complexity we face and the ardent need for a proactive address of what we are up against as a society. Let’s do this the right way, Tribe. I promise not to post the picture.

Link to essay by Liza Long “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” <–


(Brene Brown writes an outstanding book about shame called I Thought It Was Just Me, But It’s Not. Excellent discussion on the insidious rooting of shame which keeps us separated from each other.)