by Scott Garver, attorney at law
I really dislikes bullies. All kinds of bullies: kid bullies, adult bullies institutional bullies and governmental bullies.
When I was a kid I was the “victim” of schoolyard bullies. Often I came home emotionally distraught, often crying in my mother and father’s arms.
At first my parents were soothing and sympathetic, but after a time they grew frustrated.
In those days parents didn’t complain to the school about such things, especially if you were a boy. So my father, a product of an earlier generation, taught me some survival skills. I am not sure how childhood development experts today would think of this, but he found an old pair of boxing gloves and taught me how to throw a punch, using himself as a target. After this he taught me the even more valuable lesson of how to take a punch. He hit me, not so hard as to do any harm, but enough to evoke boyish tears. The lessons continued until I learned not to cry. He reasoned that if I could stand up to a bully and not cry, the bully would lose his power over me. Dad was right.
It might seem as if Dad was brutal and cruel, and yet, nothing was further from the truth. He did the best he could—out of “love,” and I am certain it was not easy for him.
This strategy of standing up to a bully and not crying worked beautifully, I had only two more fights with bullies and then they gave up. The last physical fight I has was in seventh grade.
This lesson gave me a sense of power and self-confidence I carry to this day. As a lawyer I like nothing better than to stand with and fight for a victim.
These days the bullies are different. Cyberbullying is particularly harmful. Harassment in the workplace is common. There is terrible mental and physical abuse in families. Businesses try to intimidate each other and often mistreat consumers. Debt collectors use threats and scare tactics. Police investigators use fear as a tool of coercion.
As a lawyer I often find myself standing between a bully and my client. My father’s boxing lessons in the back yard many years ago make me a better lawyer today.
I just don’t like bullies. Sometimes I have to take a few punches in defense of a client. But if I can make it hurt back, the bully will give up a play fairly. That is what I call justice.