These were the last words of Casey Heynes, a 16 year old Australian student who had taken enough bullying from 12 year old Ritchard. The bully (who was not only a lot younger, but also half the size of Casey and still found it a good idea to pick on the kid) was seen in a YouTube video repeatedly picking on Casey, punching him in the face and shoving him to the amusement of his friends. And as the camera from a cellphone rolled, Casey lost his temper and told his bully off. What happened next was what caused this video to go viral. The bully was picked up by Casey, held high above his head for a few seconds before being slammed to the concrete ground in front of all his peers. The end of the video shows the bully limping, practically falling over as he made his way towards the camera, his face contorted in tearful pain. Casey is shown walking away.
See video HERE. Warning, it’s brief, but it’s graphic.
As a result, the bullying Ritchard is now in the hospital with a broken nose and a shattered shin. Casey is suspended from school and may face possible charges for defending himself. And America has named Casey a hero as a victim of bullying who finally got tired and defended himself.
But is he a hero?
I watched the video, and I felt sickened by the whole thing. It’s true, in all the cruelty that lies in schools in the teenage years, I’ve never had to endure torment as this kid Casey probably did. And I know there are many who HAVE endured ridicule and bullying, and are cheering Casey on for standing up for himself against some kid who has surely been making his life a living hell. I get the anger that has probably been building up, the resentment for being made fun of. And it can be guaranteed this kid will not be messing with Casey every again.
But should violence solving violence be hailed as heroism in our war against bullying?
Casey’s dad swears that his son is not a fighter, he just got tired of the bullying:
“There’ll be reprisals from other kids in the school and he still has to go to school somewhere,” Casey’s father said. “He’s not a violent kid, it’s the first time he’s lashed out and I don’t want him to be victimised over that.
“He’s always been taught never to hit. Apparently other people’s parents don’t teach their kids that.”
While the details of the whole story have been conflicting, it’s been reported that Ritchard is also suspended from school, and that his suspension is longer. And protests have popped up online to “free Casey” from his suspension.
What are your thoughts on all this?