The Texas father of a high school football player would have been right at home in Salem, in the British New World colony of Massachusetts, around 1692. Then, thanks to hysteria about witchcraft, a vengeful citizen could permanently set the populace against a neighbor who had offended him, say, by winning a lawsuit, stealing a recipe or looking lustfully at his or her significant other, by accusing that neighbor of being a witch. This would inevitably spark an investigation, suspicion, infamy, maybe even a trial…and if the accusation stuck, a sadistic execution, perhaps by piling rocks on the neighbor’s witchy chest until everyone heard the sounds of squishing and cracking.
The cry of “Witch!” doesn’t work so well any more, but accusing someone of being a bully works almost as well. It can cause schools to impose punishment for words and activities that have nothing to do with school, and give law enforcement officials the power to pile rocks on the First Amendment. Now a vengeful father who watched his son’s hapless football team get the just desserts of all hapless teams—losing badly—has successfully punished the victors for being stronger, faster, and better coached, by accusing the superior team—it beat his son’s squad by a score of 91-0—of “bullying.” This mandates an investigation, so the winning team’s coach is now under a cloud, and in peril of seeing his career and reputation squished and cracked.
Mission accomplished! Continue reading