Sticks and stones can break my bones

Sticks and stones can break my bones, a Samurai sword can slit my throat, but words and hurtful deeds can destroy my spirit. No excuse can be made for the gratuitous spilling of innocent blood that we witnessed in the murder of Jacques Pretorius . I nevertheless wonder whether the cry of the perpetrator, a troubled teenager, has or will ever be heard. It seems in situations as such as this one, people search for explanations that make them feel comfortable or provide opportunities for their own axe-grinding. Placing perpetrator’s in a categories far removed from one’s own life, allows the taking of comfort in the illusion that you and yours are exempt and immune to such occurrences. This seems to be the reason why people search for answers in exotic notions of rock music or Satanism. The true heart of the problem seems to be the ubiquitous phenomenon of bullying. I would pose the following question to both Morne Harmse and those who witnessed the event;  what if when Morne was first spotted, someone had giving him care, affirmation, even humoured him in a respectful way rather than taunting, ridiculing and belittling him? Might the outcome have been different?  Here was an insecure isolated teenager trying clumsily to gain approval, acceptance and a sense of significance from his peer group. What if they had given what he wanted rather than escalating the very behaviour Morne was trying in his own desperate pathetic way to prevent. I am not saying that Morne is not responsible for his actions. What I am saying is that every bully, every indifferent person who could have reached out to this boy and did not, every adult who knew that he was in distress and did nothing shares some responsibility. Bullies by nature lack empathy and compassion. It is the passive and silent bystanders who hold the power to prevent tragedy. Every person who bullies, by acts or omission needs to look at themselves and see how, if even in a diluted way with no visible consequences, they are participating in the destruction of a precious spirit.

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