Bullying: A Genetic Problem with a Social Solution by Craig Carter Edwards – October 26, 2012


Photo: Facebook

Are we going to tell our children to stand up and do the right thing, or to watch in silence?

How do we have a hope against bullying if so many of us are complicit bystanders?

CFN – There’s lots of talk about bullying these days.  While it appears there is broad consensus that bullying is bad, we’re not quite sure how to deal with or even how to define it.  Is bullying uniquely a youth thing, because adults have more emotional maturity to handle aggression/not take harassment personally?  Does social media/violent TV contribute to bullying behaviour?  Is micromanagement a form of bullying?  How do we discourage bullies – and is it possible to inoculate people against the emotional stains bullying causes?  

The latest conversation has been kicked off by the heart-breaking suicide of Amanda Todd, a victim of the all-pervasive kind of bullying that has only become possible thanks to social media.  Before her it was Jamie Hubley, another high-profile youth who killed himself after merciless torment; prior to that there was Greg Doucette.  Each of these deaths shocked us into conversation and a retributive mood.  While these specific bullying-induced suicides grab the nation’s attention, they’re a bit like the Attawapiskat crisis; individual, visible examples of a pervasive, systematic issue.

One in five students in Canada says they have been bullied.  Between Canada, Australia, the US and the UK there have been 41 cyber-bullying attributed deaths since 2003.  Youth suicides are just one indicator of the social impact of bullying – in Canada, one in six employees reports they have been bullied.  This pervasive, society-wide harassment has a hugely detrimental impact on individual mental health, the economy, our health care system, families – it goes on and on.  The problem is so significant that Political Parties from across the system are trying to find ways to legislate against it. 

If bullying is such a recognized problem, you’d think we would have a clear definition for it.  Public Safety Canada tells us bullying “is characterized by acts of intentional harm, repeated over-time, in a relationship where an imbalance of power exists.  It includes physical actions (punching, kicking, biting), verbal actions (threats, name calling, insults, racial or sexual comments) and social exclusion (spreading rumours, ignoring, gossiping, excluding)”.  The “balance of power” reference is key to our understanding of bullying; without that caveat, you could easily include everything from heckling in the Legislature to the Obama Birther movement as harassment.

How then do we define “balance of power”?  The man accused of kicking off the bullycide campaign against Amanda Todd clearly had power over her, in terms of the harmful video he’d conned her into providing.  The tables turned, though, when Anonymous outted this man, shifting the balance of power against him; the bully became the bullied.  Was it bullying when the Conservative Party of Canada spread rumours suggesting Irwin Cotler was going to retire?  Heck, aren’t allattack ads a form of bullying?

Most would say no – because politics is expected to be a blood sport.  Politicians should expect to be attacked and be prepared to fight back.   It’s through the cut-and-thrust of Question Period, election campaigns and increasingly, every political interaction in between that the public can determine not only which ideas stand up to scrutiny, but which representatives/leaders are tough enough to do the job of governing.  Somewhere in here is an unspoken notion that the balance of power doesn’t apply to politics, due to individual agency and public accountability of each elected official.  This notion doesn’t hold up to scrutiny itself, though; as politics becomes increasingly aggressive, Political Parties are becoming increasingly tribal.  How can you not label as bullying the dogged targeting of individuals by entire political packs?

What about micro-managing employers?  They have power over their employees; does abuse of the employer/employee relationship count as bullying?  Again, there are those who would argue against this, suggesting that individuals always have power over their own fates and are therefore equals in the labour market. If employees are really bothered by the treatment of a boss, they can speak to them about it and if that doesn’t work, they can quit and move to another job.  If they don’t do that, they’re just playing the “victim” card.  If this were really the case, though, would we be facing an unheralded business crisis in Canada?

For me, these aren’t academic questions.  I know what it’s like to be bullied.  A December baby, I was always the youngest in my classes.  Added to this, I have Attention Deficit Disorder, a “disability” which went undiagnosed until I was well into my teens.  Being the smallest and a bit different in how I interacted with the world, I was a natural target for those on the lookout for someone to diminish as a way of aggrandizing themselves.  From about Grade 1 all the way into high school, I was on the receiving end of vicious taunts, torment and physical abuse. 

Decades later, I still have clear memories of being chased home by older kids waving baseball bats (Grade 2).  It made them feel powerful to instill terror in a runt like me.  Then there was the time I was tied to a flag post in winter and left outside after all the other kids went back to class, laughing at me (Grade 4).  It got so bad that my parents eventually moved me to a different school, but by then the damage was done.  I had become a fearful child, mistrustful of people and afraid to speak up, knowing that whatever I said would be used against me.  This hesitation morphed into a stutter, which became just one more opportunity for my peers to mock me.

When bullying is that pervasive, there is no escape.  Even when your tormentors are gone, the anxiety remains, riddling your thoughts with disquiet and doubt.  Ihated going to school.  I didn’t like interacting with others, period.  I dreaded every waking moment, never knowing exactly what sort of private hell it would bring me.  The ADHD only magnified the pain, as I could never shut down the soundtrack of doubt and self-loathing playing non-stop in my head.  Self-harm became a way out; if the pain was sharp enough, it would cleanse my mind of the pervasive anguish that nestled there like a splinter.  Of course, the relief was temporary, and the fact that I was cracking my head against my desk hard enough to leave welts simply put another arrow in my bullies’ quiver.  Suicide was definitely something I contemplated – there just didn’t seem to be any other way out.

That was then.  Today, I am a confident, positive person that has a reputation for finding the silver lining around any cloud.  There’s nothing life can throw at me that I can’t handle.  Why is that?  Why is it that my name now appears in a byline rather than having featured in a headline like Todd, Hubley and Doucette?  When moving schools didn’t solve the problem, my parents decided to try an alternative solution; fight might prevail where flight did not.  They enrolled me in a Karate class led by a tough-as-nails Sensei with the hope that learning how to fight back might help.  It did, but not in the way they intended.

My Sensei was tough, but always fair and never judgmental.  He never criticized mistakes – instead, he corrected them.  The senior students who helped lead the lessons were the same way; they pushed the class but were always, always supportive.  They taught me how to fight back, which I eventually did.  The supportive attitude of the teachers carried over to the students; we were all in the same quest for perfection of technique, together.  Although I hated the class at first, it eventually became my community.  For the first time I could recall, there was a place I felt safe and respected, plus a group that included me as one of their own.

This element of belonging made a huge difference, but Karate provided me with even more.  The strict physical discipline and quick reaction times required by martial arts nurtured in me a level of focus and confidence that bled over into every aspect of my life.  My stutter began to fade; I became more and more comfortable in asserting myself.  At the same time, the experience of having been bullied combined with the positive experience of the class shaped my understanding that individual strength is nurtured within supportive communities. 

I tell this tale not to gain your sympathy or to toot my own horn but to show that it can get better when we address the underpinnings of bullying proactively and cooperatively.  The importance of collective morale and promoting individual resilience is understood within our military, if not those who command it.  The idea of fostering social-emotional learning and positive relationships with teachers and peers is equally a key component of Ontario’s Full Day Kindergarten program.  The entire field of positive psychology is dedicated to the development of cognitive grit the way exercise builds physical strength.  There is no reason these principles can’t be applied more broadly, especially in the places where bullying is most prevalent – schools and the workplace.

The other lesson to draw from experiences like mine is that the tools for developing resiliency aren’t instinctive.  As Colin Powell points out in It Worked For Me, social functioning is learned behaviour; this is as true for the human animal as it is in all social species.  Left to our own devices, we tend to fight, flee or circle the wagons and avoid – it’s just how natural selection works.  There’s really not much difference between the playground, Question Period or an episode of Animal Kingdom.  It takes moderators – an elder, a teacher, the Speaker, etc. – to referee social interactions, foster respect and maintain order. 

It also takes leaders to set examples and develop the kind of work or school cultures that manage down this bullying instinct. Former Ontario Premier Mike Harris famously fostered a competitive culture within the Progressive Conservative Party, believing that ambitious people would produce the best results.  Instead, the internal fighting became so toxic to the Party that Harris had to lay down the law for his cabinet ministers.  It’s the exact seem scenario that’s being fueled by theheightened, competitive rancor in Queen’s Park now.  Somewhere along the way, our political leaders have forgotten that it’s possible to be in total disagreement with someone without denigrating them as a consequence.

If we, as a society, want to have a hyper-oppositional culture that fosters survival of the fittest competition, that’s fine – but we’ll also have to accept that victimization and its consequences are part of the package, including the lost productivity, the health care costs and the youth suicides.  If we’re really serious about addressing bullying, we have to realize the only way to do so is proactively – by providing universal resiliency and social-emotional training on the one end and using programs like restorative justice to stifle bullying behaviour on the other.  The most important thing we can do to end bullying, though, is lead by example. 

Craig Carter Edwards

Born and raised in Cornwall, Craig has lived in or travelled to nearly 30 countries and currently resides in North York with his wife and son.  A political veteran, Craig brings a wealth of government, private and not-for-profit sectors experience to his current role as strategy consultant for the social entrepreneurship sector.

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  1. I have a little problem with the title. If bullying is to be viewed as a “genetic problem” (presumably you wrote your own headline?) then logically behaviour that makes one act as the victim, or the passive bystander must also be genetic “problems” …even though I’m loath to call any genetic trait a “problem” unless it’s something like Huntington’s Disease or Tay Sachs or some other killer pathophysiology. The problem with dumbing down genetics to explain social trends, like so-called bullying, is that it can cause other problems such as racism. Also, many people equate the phrase “survival of the fittest” with natural selection and/or evolution. But Darwin never used the phrase and geneticists don’t either. As a result, most people use the phrase naively and don’t understand what natural (or artificial) selection is.

  2. You get bullied. You hit back twice as hard. Weak kids with weak minds from weak parents today. Toughen up!

  3. The title is misleading – “Bullying: A Genetic Problem…”. Do we now equate genetics with evolution? Has a gene been found that causes “bullying”?
    The comments of evolution by Craig are appalling:
    1….”social functioning is learned behaviour; this is as true for the human animal as it is in all social species. Left to our own devices, we tend to fight, flee or circle the wagons and avoid – it’s just how natural selection works”.

    2.”There’s really not much difference between the playground, Question Period or an episode of Animal Kingdom.”

    3. “If we, as a society, want to have a hyper-oppositional culture that fosters survival of the fittest competition, that’s fine…”.

    We teach societies’ children, on a whole, that there is no God, no absolutes, no right from wrong; we are just animals so act like one. So that is what they do! The have sex like rabbits, and kill each other as “the King of the Beast”, while seeking to be the top dog!

    The Holy Scriptures declares that we are not animals but men and women created in the image and likeness of God. The Scriptures also declares that we are fallen sinners who hate God, and love ourselves supremely! What can change a demonized man in Mark 5 into a loving, caring, submissive man? Coming to know God in a saving, powerful way through the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to bring glory to God, and salvation to the soul of such an oppressed one. What could change an angry-murderous mob who one day cried out “crucify Him”, and 50 days later, confessed Him as Lord, as new creatures in Christ? God’s way of eliminating bullying- forgiveness from God, and a love given for the Risen Savour, for His church, and for all of God’s creatures.

    The solution to bullying is having a respect for life! Evolution has murdered the sanctity for life! Without God, one can not have such a respect, if one is a animal only, without a soul, without love in one’s heart that will enable one to live and care for others before oneself. Love for self will always win out until a Supreme God changes that heart.

    And yes, Craig’s solution for himself was, and seems still to be -“survival of the top dog”. Without God’s life changing power, society’s only solution – a police state, legislation of morality. The state must become god! Self glorification, self esteem, and all other self helps are just many rays of a world/life view that is foreign to the teachings of the Messiah – Mat 26:52 “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword”.

  4. With all due respect Pastor Tom I think it’s humankind’s ability to think progressively that set us apart from the others in the animal kingdom. The belief in a creator notwithstanding, our ability for compassion and ingenuity may have something to say in the fact that we have come thus far – not all of us believe in this system of social darwinism.

    You know, the Greeks were onto something with this concept of democracy and the belief that everyone has a say. If not for democratic principles and the rule of law, what for instance, would prevent me from ousting you? Well, only if you had the greater ability of war or to defend yourself, right? I’m thinking of the very real historical facts of using religion as a means of uniting my believers under my banner and my God to defeat your God. (The Crusades)

    Pastor Tom, give humankind some credit here. For the most part, let’s lay down some ground work here. Let’s say for instance, A) That there is a God or all-seeing creator. Alright then. This creator fashioned us in his own image and then gave us the tools to think and fashion tools and to reproduce ourselves.

    Well, we build societies from the sweat of our own brow, write poetry and farm and industrialize. How can we continue to thank God for all of our accomplishments? God didn’t help me get dressed last night for work, God didn’t make my lunch for work last night and God didn’t stock 15,000 dollars in merchandise last night either. Okay, I get it, God in his/her/it’s realm must be acknowledged for the macro aspect of existence as a whole but he/she/it cannot take credit for the everyday hard work that us as individuals/groups do. We can take a bow for this type of thing. And I honestly think I’m just acknowledging reality here, not necessarily indulging in a phantasy, egotistical trip.

    To Craig. Craig, there are a small amount of us who enjoy your refreshing, metaphysical type letters/editorials however you need to dumb it down a bit. I think to many of our fellow Cornwallites, your writing may appear to be a haphazard conjunction of buzzwords and written verbal spaghetti – although some of us know different. The unfortunate truth of the matter Craig is outside of academics, most of the public doesn’t know what the hell you’re talking about! To reach a greater audience, try maybe OAC level writing and approach methodologies accordingly. I mean the deepest respect here.


  5. I think that bullying tendencies might stem from a combination of genetic traits and learned behaviour. When someone with an aggressive personality has learned, or believes that he/she is superior, or has all the answers, bullying seems to result. We see it regularly with hard-core partisan politicians, fundamentalist religious fanatics and media personalities like Ann Coulter and Ezra Levant. It’s not just the kids who are guilty. They have plenty of adult “role models” teaching them.

  6. Bullying will always be there. For those quessey parents who rather be a yes pers to there child, the outside enviroment takes the opposite approach.
    By the way, to all those “specialist”, are you going to be there for the rest of thier life? I don’t think so.I hope there is enough money in the kitty to pay you.
    Take a good look at yourselves did you have your MOMMY with you when you left home?
    Yes, a young lady did away with her life,so do many young people do away with their lives in this planet for no good reason but, THAT”S LIFE.
    I’m NOT apologizing for what I am saying, because that’s the TRUTH.
    Enough said.
    Have a nice day.

  7. Soc – yes, the headline is mine. Behaviour is individually-produced within a context, but how familiar are people with that which causes them to react in certain ways? While neuro-chemistry triggers fight-or-flight or passive reactions, these are things we can learn to control. So, like being short or hearing impaired, we don’t need to let our predispositions control us. I like your reference to “survival of the fittest,” though – because what defines fit in some contexts doesn’t in others. The most aggressive, stubborn and ruthless man may become Mayor of Toronto, but that doesn’t mean he’s the most fit for the position.

    Wow – you are, if anything, predictable. Perhaps your not familiar with the concept of escalation? Blood feuds get started when everyone plays the “hit back twice as hard” game. Are our police officers and soldiers suffering from PTSD “weak minds from weak parents?” What about bully employers – should employees be shouting back at them? What of cyber-bullying – how does someone hit back personally cowards who won’t even reveal their own names? Your simplified viewpoint is disproven and rejected by all political parties in Canada. Members of the Progressive Conservatives are among those who’ve come up with anti-bullying legislation. It’s the end of civilization, eh, when people start looking for shared solutions?

    Pastor Tom – I think you focused on the part of the message that appalled you and missed the rest. Genetically, physically, behaviourally, humans are great apes. What’s more, many of the traits we think of as distinctly human – empathy, the ability to plan ahead, to educate, etc. are all demonstrated in the animal kingdom. Homosexuality is present in species ranging from bonobos to penguins, too, showing that it’s natural and genetically linked, rather than imposed sinful behaviour. I’m sure you’ll have something to say about that.

    But look at the other side of things – chimps can learn to understand human concepts and even sign human language. There’s something humbling and eye-opening about seeing how similar we all are, a realization that also makes it harder to abuse others. Which, surprisingly enough, is how restorative justice works. Instead of the wow-like approach of dehumanizing people as weak-minded and weak-kneed, the goal is to build links of empathy between people and discourage bullying behaviour in the future. To teach, in essence, reverence for life. Everyone has the chance at a new start, correct?

    My solution wasn’t to hit back, but to build resilience and learn self-control. it was community, support and education that helped nurture in me those tools. Now, I do the same for others. We don’t need to live by the sword, but we have to teach ourselves how not to. Religion, frankly has and continues to play a large role on this front.

  8. Ed – I think you’re bang-on. We can and must do better.

    Cory – thanks for your kind words and sage advice. I can write however I want, but to little end if I’m not getting anything across. I’ll work on that.

    BTW – LOVE the line “a haphazard conjunction of buzzwords and written verbal spaghetti” – THAT’s some good writing!

  9. “…humans are great apes” – Here is a song for you to sing Craig, as you swing through the trees, as you try to think up how you can prove such a unsubstantiated statement:

    “I’m no kin to the monkey”

    I’m no kin to the monkey no no no,The monkey’s no kin to me yeah yeah yeah,
    I don’t know much about his ancestors, But mine didn’t swing from a tree.

    It seems so unbelievable,And yet they say that it’s true, They’re teaching us about it in school now,That humans were monkeys once too.

    Although it’s so ridiculous,They’re teaching us now that it’s true, The teachers that came from a monkey,Would be better off in a zoo.

    It seems so much more believable,And surely, surely it’s true, That God made Man in His image, No monkey story will do.

    This monkey business has to go,Because it just isn’t true, It’s such a disgrace to the monkey, A disgrace to the human race too.

    Oooo I’m no kin to the monkey no no no,
    The monkey’s no kin to me yeah yeah yeah,
    I don’t know much about his ancestors,
    But mine didn’t swing from a tree,
    Mine didn’t swing from a tree,
    Mine didn’t swing from a tree.

    ( I am not being unscientific, your statement, just like the “theory of evolution” is a theory, and not scientific fact, nor can it be verified as fact. Just repeating it as your mantra, won’t make it a fact!)

  10. Also Craig comment -“Religion, frankly has and continues to play a large role on this front”.

    Modern day Christians do not take up the sword, as do the Muslims, Hindus, i.e. The Crusades of old were against the plain view of the Scriptures of non-violence, and were perpetrated by Roman Catholics, not real practicing Bible Christians.

    Historically, the Muslims were the aggressors, as they were taking over the whole know world back then, just like they trying today. It was up to the kingdoms of Europe to stop them – sword against sword, which they did in the battle of Tour in 732 a.d. by Charles Martel. Just think, if Charles had failed, all of Europe, America, and Canada, most likely would be Muslim today!

  11. Craig writes another unsubstantiated statement as fact: “Homosexuality is present in species ranging from bonobos to penguins, too, showing that it’s natural and genetically linked, rather than imposed sinful behaviour”.

    The cry of the sodomite community is – “Find us a queer gene!”. so I can say, “God made me so”. It has not happened, and it won’t.

    So called science investigation can never trump divine revelation:
    Lev 18:22 “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination”.

  12. Read through your column several times, I find it is quite global in its approach and because I have read the work of Barbara Coloroso, particularly the book “Extraordinary Evil: A Brief History of Genocide…and Why it Matters” which followed her work on “The Bullied, the Bullyer and the By-Stander” I can see how you approach the subject in a comprehensive way. Like you I have a tendency to write a lot but since I have the fortune to have a very experienced editor who cuts my columns down to size they tend to be brief. Sometimes I don’t appreciate what happens to my column because it goes through two editors before it appears, but it is a valuable experience in terms of becoming more precise and getting to the point. It also has helped to contain my ego, a large and unmanageable part which needs constant pruning.

    Mainly Craig, I think that the subject of bullying and now this whole new reality of cyber-bullying is very important for us to address. It’s just as real as being pushed around on the playground, being spat upon or being ignored and put down at work. Wow proposes no solutions, just a continuation of the same issues. Bullying can be stopped, just as we address other social problems like cigarette smoking and drinking and driving- slowly attitudes change and people realize these issues are harmful and need to be addressed through regulations etc.

    The remedy for bullying may be to combine the best of social, scientific and religious knowledge to address it comprehensively. The latest religious knowledge prohibits the use of force, denounces fanaticism, and calls for an ending to all forms of oppression. Religion plays a huge role in social structures and it should get its act together to provide a unified voice for social good and advancement. Religious institutions world-wide need to get their house in order if they truly have the fear of God in their heart of hearts.

    We are not glorified animals, human beings have such vast untapped potential that seeing ourselves merely as animals does us a huge disservice and keeps us trapped in old ways of thinking and behaving. One solution-oriented method is to teach children to distinguish the dangers of flattery as it is just that which convinced Jessica to show her breasts to the online predator who then used that against her. Had she been able to understand how to resist flattery she would have been empowered to refuse in the first place.

    One of the many other questions that we need to ask ourselves is why do our children have access to the internet at home and do these things with no supervision? Supervision is essential on the playground and on the internet. We have to take our responsibilities seriously. Mcleans magazine has an excellent article about this as well:

    Keep on expressing yourself Craig, I enjoy your work. I think your description of your lived experience of bullying and how you were able to recover is excellent and very useful to anyone whose child is suffering. My boys went to judo and it helped so much, all of them were bullied to varying degrees. My youngest daughter decided to walk the 1.5 km to school rather than have to have her red, curly hair be made fun of on the bus, even when it was -30 degrees she stoically walked back and forth every day. She just refused to be bullied. It was a source of much pain in our family and never addressed at the school level. We have alot of work to do to make our corner of the world a better place to be healthy, safe and flourishing.

  13. @Craig
    PTSD in the Forces is quite different from bullying gay, fat, small, or promiscous people in grade school, fighting men were shot or worse in most circumstances.. I have never allowed a bully to escalate an action against myself or others, sometimes to my physical harm, and it ended there. It is the teaching of “I’m
    OK, You’re OK” that is weakening North America. My house is in order.
    And Cory raises a good point about your writing. In business school we were taught to make a point clearly and as briefly as possible. You are writing like a liberal politician. The education level here is low as you are certainly aware. Tone it down a bit so the readers don’t need a lawyer to explain it.

  14. And I agree with Pastor Tom, except for everything he wrote besides homosexuality. It is an out hole.

  15. “I am not being unscientific, your statement, just like the “theory of evolution” is a theory, and not scientific fact, nor can it be verified as fact. Just repeating it as your mantra, won’t make it a fact!”

    This from someone who believes and insists that our Universe is six thousand years old.

  16. @Craig, all I’m saying is that if your title says you’re going to make an argument for the genetic basis of bullying then you should follow that thread in cogent, convincing and well referenced manner. As it is, your column should probably be called: My personal experience with bullying and what I learned.

  17. @Pastor Tom, you are quite right about the history of Europe. I have a feeling you also probably know how science defines, hypotheses, theories, facts and laws. But in case not: http://youtu.be/ItxVLu8J_d0

    Creationists would be wise to stop saying: a theory is just a theory. It has the effect of making people appear incapable of understanding. Better creationists should say, “I understand the science, but I reject it.”

    It’s a much stronger position and neither side would have to hurl insults or scientific misinformation such as that humans used to be monkeys.

  18. @Craig. Your words to me: “The most aggressive, stubborn and ruthless man may become Mayor of Toronto, but that doesn’t mean he’s the most fit for the position” ….has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with genetics or evolution or the scientific use of the word “fitness.”

    ANOTHER reason why not to introduce the promise (in your essay’s title) that you’re going to discuss genetics.

  19. Craig, you mentioned in your article that you took karate lessons. I have a shodan level in Shorin Ryu and a blue belt in Goju Ryu currently. Do you still practice?

    It’s true. I found the same discipline instilled in me as a young man when I took karate lessons as well.



  20. WOW! We’ve gone from Genetic Problems to religion,politics,homosexual,theory of evolution and how to standup to a bully( join a defensive club and then you can knock the hell out a bully). Boy, it sure shows you’ve missed the boat of hard knocks.
    WOW- I like your idea, get bullied, hit back twice as hard either mentally or physically. BUT one thing in this day of age has severally curtail the physical action, is a suit called ” suing”.
    Try as you might, your never going to win.
    So much for all your lecturing , folks, I hate to burst your bubble.
    Have a nice day, folks

  21. Pastor Tom Newton

    You hit on something that I have been studying for years that “the state must become god” and people don’t know this but it is true what you just said. If people looked into this “police state” thing they would tremble because it is already starting to happen but it is going to be a great deal worse. We are going into “fascism” where state and corporations become one. This is no fantasy but truth and the Bible says it as well I think in the Book of Daniel. We are going back to the days of Mussolini and Hitler and if people don’t wake up this is exactly what will happen. There are those two “sticks” on both the US dimes as well as those wooden sticks behind “Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the President of the US” and those sticks represent “fascism” so folks wake up I really do mean it. I never wanted to come out with any of this but I read it on what the Pastor said which is so very true indeed. Please folks wake up and I have been into this for a mighty long time now and it is all very true indeed.

    You all have to think well of yourselves and get right with God. We don’t know what is awaiting for us whether tomorrow or a year from now or when but it is coming and it is frightening. Get back to the Good Lord and ask his forgiveness and stay with the Lord. I was never religious until about 5 years now. The Pastor is absolutely right when he quotes the Bible believe me I have 2 Bibles (the KJV and the Catholic one) and the KJV is the most accurate of all.

  22. Pastor Tom – you left out the whole colonization of the New World, but I guess that wasn’t by Real Bible Christians. That group seems to be a rather small and exclusionary group – no wonder you fear the threat of everyone else. All I can say is, love thy neighbour.

    Soc – a fair point; I struggle with what others have mentioned here, how much fine-print detail to put in without losing people. Having said that, there should have been more genetics meat or a change of title. Behaviour is influenced by neuro-chemistry; our emotions are, essnetially, a filter-system that allows us to respond in “safe” ways to stimuli: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/myl/llog/Brizendine/Phelps2004.pdf These systems have been evolved through millenia of evolution, but they can get out of whack or be stressed in ways for which they weren’t designed. That’s where Wow misses the boat on PTSD; different people have differing degrees of “toughness” and even the most resilient have breaking points. Anyone, put under enough prolonged cognitive strain (including bullying) will suffer from the mental equivalent of carpal tunnel syndrome. Fortunately, with a number of programs out there these days, we can build greater resilience and help people “toughen up” but there undeniably needs to be some structural changes, too – micromanagement is bullying and it hurts our economy plenty. There are changes we can and need to make on that front, too.

    Cory – nope, haven’t practiced Karate in a LONG time. My martial art of choice these days is kumdo, though even that I only do lightly, as time and access allows. Which is why my 4-year old boy kicks ass at play sword-fighting!

    Finally Wow – I didn’t go to business school and I tend to have more faith in people as a whole. People are pretty capable and deserving of the facts – the trick of good politicians is not to pander to them but communicate honestly. Clarity of message is easy when you’re delivering messaging, but real communication is a tough challenge. But then, I’m not a politician – just a humble columnist.

  23. Craig – writes “you left out the whole colonization of the New World”. Was that done by the “Sword”? Maybe the forced conversion of the Native American Indians by the Roman Catholic missionaries? Western colonization was civilized savages conquering uncivilized savages. So you equate the spread of Islam and the Ottoman Empire to Western colonization? As far as I read in my history books, western colonization main drive was not converting the Indians to so called Roman Catholic Christianity, but the whole idea of profit -$$$. Not much has changed in the mindset of the West.

  24. I think the easiest fix would be seeing the aggressors displayed unpunished on youtube rather than a resolution of suicide by victims.
    What may have been encouraged and supported now is that it is ok to kill yourself in the face of depression. Remember an individual’s mind once broken or damaged under those circumstances will take the path it find the easiest.

    Have the aggressors provided civic duties clean the schools rake local parks and help maintain local public facilities.
    In many cases it is the same individual bullying as it is defacing properties.
    There is a great many questions on this whole issue we do not see answered.

    Why do we always resort to homosexuality in these circumstances? And who stated that even animals accept homosexuality in their groups.
    You need to research that a little more in short of approximately 30, million species about 1,500 display same gender courtship. Most of them are of the herding type and families and some forms of social structure. In all documented case they noted the animals displaying same gender courtship had some form of social dysfunction.

    Now I would hope you are not accusing homosexuals of being animals, dysfunctional…Nor do they eat their young or through there challenged children to the wolves as. It is ok to find justification for your beliefs but make sure it has some magnitude of thought

    Nature itself controls what will happen, why do you think they cannot procreate? Could it be wrong?

    If you believe being one sided on that topic, either way, is difficult try fitting in with a preference to both sides….

  25. Sorry that should read
    “the aggressors displayed and punished

  26. @Pastor Tom..yes conquering the New World was a money grab. No question. And more people (Craig should know this b/c he read Guns, Germs & Steel) were killed by our infectious diseases than our guns…small pox, measles, the common cold, syphilis …to name a few.

    @Craig…get a grip, this column was your best ever. You shared something personal. I’m not picking on you, I want you to free yourself to use your own voice. Go for it! Column writing is the most difficult of all the journalistic specialities. Check out Christie Blachford, Margaret Wente, Heather Mallik, Jeffrey Simpson, Rex Murphy etc. etc.

    @Hailey…you’re a sweet person, the kind I would like to call friend but there is no EASY FIX.

  27. @ Hailey…raking leaves -as therapeutic as I myself might find it – won’t do anything to mollify the bullies. Bullies….are weak individuals who are afraid of being found out. They’re not aggressive, they’re not cursed with bad “violent genes.” They’re EFFING losers, spineless whimps who prey on the innocent. And they’re everywhere…

  28. Isn’t it odd how the discussion of your topic brings out the bullies, the bullied and the bystanders. In terms of humanality, the study of human personality types, there are those who are predisposed to being bullies, those who are predisposed to being bullied and those who are predisposed to doing nothing. And even though we may not be able to change our nature, what makes us special is that we have the ability to act with reason and not just on instinct. You have really brought out some good discussion this week with your column.

  29. predisposed = genetic engineered = fate = God made us that way?

    The Bible declares this – Ecc 7:29 “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions”. The “many inventions” are the ways of self, and sin. You and I come into this world as sinners – alienated from God and with a disposition to rebellion, to lawless, and hatred towards God. So God did not make us this way, but because we are fallen creatures in Adam, we sin naturally.

    Garry writes -“we may not be able to change our nature, what makes us special is that we have the ability to act with reason and not just on instinct”. We are born sinners and are sinners by choice. Substitute “instinct” with inward innate depravity, and clarify that we have the ability to use our “reason”, our darken reason, and you have a pretty good picture of you and I as come into this world by birth –

    Psa 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies”.

    Jer 13:23 “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil”.

    That is why God in His mercy sent us His Son to save us from our sins because we can’t save ourselves, and in fact we don’t want to be saved.

  30. Soc
    You may find that by engaging in physical labor the individual has little time to bully. That could be due to hours of long work or perhaps they grow fatigue from experiencing something they rarely ever do, actual labor. It also provides them a sense of belonging over time of course.

    My chiropractor had a saying on his wall which referred to a person’s spinal column, “As the twig bends so grows the tree”

    The same could be said of an individual’s predispositions. We are all born with unique traits, but being born that way is no excuse for choosing to live that way. If they opt to be a bully then there must be repercussions.

    It is no different than being born, as murderer, a pedophile, a mentor or a leader…and now apparently the new buzz word for homosexuality is “ It’s not my fault I was born this way” So be it….it is still your choice to live that way .

  31. Garry – that’s always the hope. Thanks to a number of factors, we’re evolving into much more of a “talk at” than a “communicate with” society – it’s a disconcerting trend.

    Soc – thank you! :o)

  32. Pastor Tom

    Psa 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies”.
    Jer 13:23 “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil”.

    That is why God in His mercy sent us His Son to save us from our sins because we can’t save ourselves, and in fact we don’t want to be saved.

    Are you saying god messed up two times?? He made a mistake in the womb, and that a person is destined to be evil as the leopard cannot change their spots. Why would he make that?

    Then he sent his son and allowed him be bullied

    Now if god is capable of, or to blame for natural disasters in the name of religion why would he create so much evil and expect us to live in it? Is his hatred of mankind so unforgiving that out of a few bad choices we now live as we do?? Is that a just god?

    I would be interested in hearing what you have to say about who wrote the bible and or any form of religious books? I believe there is no book that has the author as god and no gospel signed by god….in each case it is man….
    The very same man you mentioned in Jer 13:23, Psa 58:3.

    And did you know the entomology of psalm is a song of the harp? Or pertaining to a song….could our current understanding of the bible be wrong and the bible nothing more than an old book of lore of a time gone by used to scare people into believing? Is the same happening again?

  33. Hailey – get it strait man missed up, and he is still messing up! Enjoy your unbelieving faith!

  34. To Pastor Tom,

    Sir, would you agree that the countless thousands of man hours spent praying to Gods that we cannot touch, see, feel, taste or hear would better be spent on something more productive like volunteering for community service organizations?

    I just cannot get around the idea of what appears to me the wasting of time sitting in Church pews when we can be out in the community helping each other out for the betterment of all of us.

    Imagine if, every Sunday, instead of praying we all volunteered for something like working at a soup kitchen or picking up garbage.

    For, if there is a higher power that created us, wouldn’t he/she/it want us to help out one-another rather than appeasing to it’s ego by lighting incense, chanting and paying homage to her/him/it?

    I’m interested in your thoughts/comments/feelings on that.

    With Sincerest Regards,


  35. Cory – to kinda support Pastor Tom (emphasis on the kinda) there is real value in developing a sense of community be it through a church, a political party or even a neighbourhood. Despite what Ayn Rand thought, it’s collaboration around shared goals, not strict competition, that allows us to achieve great things. Here’s a blogpost I wrote about the role of religious ritual in establishing productive communities: http://cce-wakata.blogspot.ca/2012/10/bread-candles-and-community-new-sabbath.html

  36. No I could not imagine “no heaven”. But such a fact of heaven is not based, nor grounded in human fancy or emotion, but clearly declared to be a fact in the Holy Word of God.

    If there is no heaven, then there is no hell. Both places are for real – Revelation 20:12-15 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God (in Heaven); and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”.

    The question that remains to be asked – how do I get to heaven, and how do I escape the damnation of hell. In the above picture that Craig used, we see the late Amanda with a angel hallow over head. Does that mean she is in heaven? Some would assume that, but from the writer’s perspective, I would think that he does not believes in a heaven or a hell. The Bible is again clear on this question – not by being good, for there is none good, nor good enough; not by human merit, or by religious and secular achievement for their is none righteous, no not one. All have sinned and all have forfeited their place in Heaven. Whether you believe that there is a heaven or hell, be sure that you believe in a Saviour that can take you to heaven, and deliver you from hell!

    Acts 4:10-12 “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”.

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