A Senior Moment
'The Town Bully'
by Rev. Bob Johnston

April 9, 2017


New Perspectives

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He was one of the town’s bullies, a cruel man who would regularly abuse his own family. His physical violence soon earned him a suitable nickname--- “The Basher.”

For years, the other residents of this town ignored his behavior, figuring that it was none of their business—and anyway, what could they do to stop it? (Admittedly, some of his children were rebellious, their behavior at times as despicable as the father’s.)

One day about three years ago, the situation dramatically escalated.

This time the bully had gone too far, deliberately spraying a few members of his family with pepper spray as some kind of sadistic punishment. The town was understandably shocked and revolted by his abhorrent act.

Basher had already been warned that any such atrocious behavior would not be tolerated. It was a line that the bully must not cross—or else! But then he did---and the town’s leaders responded forcefully---by calling a meeting. In fact, it seemed they talked endlessly about how evil this act was. Eventually, after taking a long, but well-deserved, break from all their strenuous talking, they reconvened and talked some more, agreeing once again that Basher’s act was indeed quite evil.

In time, the townsfolk called upon one of the bully’s few remaining friends, himself another well-known bully named Vlad. This friend agreed to make sure Basher got rid of his remaining stockpile of pepper spray which had been cleverly hidden in the basement. To reinforce this message of deterrence, the town took Basher to court where he was found guilty of excessive bullying with pepper spray. Punitive sanctions were applied----including a garnishee against his personal income.

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It had been the town’s foremost and most powerful citizen who had originally warned Basher about using that pepper spray, then did nothing when that line was crossed three years ago. Recently, this powerful man moved away and a new family, with its leader Donald, moved into the historic, beautiful home.

Initially, Donald seemed indifferent to Basher’s ongoing, but just routine, bullying. After all, it was occurring on the other side of town and Donald had enough work to do, making his own neighbourhood  “great again.”

This week however, Basher apparently used pepper spray once again, although he strenuously denied doing so. He immediately blamed one of his rebellious children.

Donald was surprisingly quick to react.  He suddenly hurled a volley of 57 heavy rocks, smashing windows and landing with a loud crash into Basher’s home.

The townsfolk reacted with a mix of responses. Some praised Donald’s initiative, others felt he should have consulted them first and a few worried that Vlad, the other big bully, might now intervene to assist Basher in a wider fight against the town’s people. Isolationists complained that Donald had no business trying to act as 'Town Policeman'. Some cynics even suggested that Donald’s behavior was designed to refocus attention away from his own problems at home.

Predictably, Basher labeled Donald’s behavior as an act of blatant aggression and interference.

However, there was no doubt how the abused family members felt. They welcomed the destruction and prayed for more support from Donald.

Whether that will happen remains unclear. Whether Basher has “got the message” also remains to be seen.
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Saturday, April 08, 2017