|Destination Intimidation part 1: Is it aggression or assertion?|
|By Joe Bouchard|
In corrections, there is often a complex posturing that is based on image and intimidation. It is a matter of survival. Such is the world that we work in. Therefore, it should come to no surprise that staff and offenders sometimes perceive the other as bullying.
To most, intimidation is the tool of the bully. But is it always bullying? Is aggression sometimes really assertion? Is there a difference between meeting issuing direction and coercion? Is it fair to use bully tactics on a bully?
To answer these questions, I offer this non-corrections story. This should illustrate that the truth about bullying is sometimes nebulous.
Many years ago, my father was in a Sunday softball league. I remember watching many games at Softball City that featured “The 12 pack”, my father’s team. This was a group of guys that worked in the steel treatment shop and had a little fun with America’s favorite past time.
While at bat, my father, a short statured man, was the subject of chatter from the opposing team’s first base man. The first base man yelled, “C’mon, little guy. Hit one here to me if you can!”
Unperturbed, my father allowed two good pitches to pass. He waited patiently for the ball to be thrown. In the mean time, the first baseman continued with his taunts. Then, as the third pitch was thrown, my father’s left foot pointed toward the first baseman. A line drive right to the first base man’s knees sent the heckler sprawling. Without a word, the batter trotted to first base, looked his adversary up and down and then snickered.
The first baseman was very silent each time after which my father was at bat.
Let’s examine this through corrections eyes.
Perhaps the line drive aimed at the heckling first base man was a counter bully measure that was meant to level the field. Maybe there was malice in the mind of the perpetrator. Maybe it was a utilitarian move. Whatever the truth, there is more to intimidation than meets the eye. And, just like in a ball game, “It isn’t over until it is over”.
Part 2: - The Anti-intellectual Bully
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