I got bullied in grade school. Then I stood up to one bully in public and grew six inches in a year and developed some athletic ability. So I didn’t get bullied in high school.
I don’t like bullies. I’m sure I was one of them. I didn’t take lunch money or slam anyone into a locker, but I was verbally vicious. After I got big enough that people didn’t slam me into lockers, I didn’t suddenly turn into Jesus Christ. I stayed a verbal bully.
One night, all the boys I was running with decided to hold one guy down and “twiddle his dick.” I didn’t participate. I didn’t report it. I just kind of hung out on the edge so I’d still be in the group. I was surprised by what my group suddenly decided to do. You don’t do your best moral thinking when you’re surprised. I should have stopped it. I should have at least reported it. I didn’t. And I don’t feel that bad about it. Moral courage and going against the group is an adult virtue. This is why you should be really careful as a parent about who your kids hang out with.
Boys do stupid shit. Cowardly and bullying shit. Even good boys. It’s pack behavior.
I set mailboxes on fire.
I set a lot of things on fire.
I did horrible racist shit against Jews only because they were in our neighborhood and I was 11 and running with a pack. I didn’t really know what a Jew was, except it was fun to light a flaming bag of dogshit on their porch, ring the bell and run. We called their house the Jewish Temple. I should probably work real hard to find those people and apologize. But I won’t.
It’s been quite a while since I harassed a Jew or set anything on fire. I’ve even toned down the verbal bullying quite a bit.
People grow up. Not me, but most people.