Casey the Hero

I frequently see friends of my 14-year-old stepsister using words like “fagget” (yes, they spell it that way), “gay”, “homo”, and other gay slurs to describe people they don’t like. That is no different than it was when I was a kid. I was called all of those things – beginning in third grade at Walter Jackson elementary school. I’ll never forget the first time I was called the F-word and how my teacher did absolutely nothing about it. From there it was all downhill. I was cornered, smacked around, beaten up, tossed into lockers, dropped from elevated walkways and stairwells…you name it, I took it. It wasn’t just at school, either. Nathan Hutchison lived down the street from me AND went to church with me. He once beat me until I was covered in bleeding welts. Danny Sugasti first went to school with me then started going to my church because his girlfriend went there. “Faggot” was his favorite name for me. Theresa Baylott cornered me in the locker room more than once to beat me up – and she rode the bus with me, too. Her favorite thing to do was call me “big girrrrrl” in the most annoying, nasal voice she could muster from across whatever space she saw me from. I had bigger boobs than most every white girl in school, so she made fun of me for it. Ginger Bailey had science with me; she’d make a face and go, “ewwwww!” when I walked into the room. Eugene Klimczak also called me a faggot – he also called me dyke, queer, and a host of other gay slurs that I didn’t understand in jr. high school. He, too, cornered me and beat me up on more than one occasion.

I never fought back because I was deathly afraid of what my parents would do if I were caught fighting. The idea of self-defense didn’t even cross my mind, even though back then teachers did discern between fighting and self-defense. My parents were against any form of violence. It was made well known in our home that if any of us were suspended for fighting, we’d be in a hell of a lot of trouble. I never fought back because I was more afraid of the fallout at home. Both issues made my life a misery that a select few share with each other once they reach adulthood.

Recently I saw a video that has gone viral: young Casey Heynes, a 10th-year student in Australia, fighting back against a younger boy who was bullying him. Here’s Casey talking about the incident, along with the clip in question:

Seeing Casey pick that kid up and slam him back to the ground to stop the abuse took me back to the days when I was being treated that way, outnumbered and surrounded, wishing I had a way out – and imagining myself doing exactly what he did.

Amazingly, Ritchard Gale – the bully – claims that Casey started it all:

I have no illusions that Ritchard will actually read this, but if he does, he’s going to get his first lesson in reality. People can tell when you’re lying your ass off, buddy.

First of all, in the original clip, it is obvious who started it. Casey had no friends with him. In fact, he was surrounded by Ritchard’s friends, one of whom filmed it with a cell phone. Ritchard’s friends were spurring the incident on and laughing. And when Casey finally put a stop to it, one of Ritchard’s bigger friends stepped up and threatened Casey. Casey, unlike Ritchard, walked away once it was over. Those aren’t the actions of an instigator. Consider, too, that Ritchard was taunting Casey by dancing around him. That is what a bully does.

Remember the first kid I mentioned – Nathan Hutchison? His mother thought his shit didn’t stink. She believed everything that came out of his mouth. He would bully my brother and I and turn around and tell his mother that WE were picking on HIM. The day he severely beat me (he did so with an industrial-strength blueprint mailing tube), he claimed to my mother that I’d “nailed” him in the chin (which I hadn’t done). HIS mother believed him and told me to my face that I deserved what he’d done. The only problem was all of the other neighborhood kids who tried to tell her he was lying. She still believed him. Were I to meet him today, I would likely do exactly what he claimed I did back in 1991 – nail him. Today, though, I’d hit him hard enough to shatter his jaw.

Ritchard Gale’s father may not accept it, but his kid is a bully. Claiming that Casey abused him first is exactly what bullies do when they’re caught…they try to lay the blame on their victim for starting it, thus taking the full weight of the trouble off of them. I can only hope that school administrators see it that way. And if Casey ever has to defend himself again, I hope he shows the same courage that he did that day.

I’m in my thirties now and I will forever wish I had when I was his age. I’m now quite well-versed in Shaolin gongfu and Krav Maga and wouldn’t tolerate being abused. I’m just eighteen years too late.


6 thoughts on “Casey the Hero

  1. That was a bitchin fight. Short and super sweet. That bully broke the first rule of fighting: Never ever get up unless you concede defeat. If you get up without conceding then you are telling your adversary you good to go for more. He’s lucky he did not get pavement slammed a second time. Where I come from he would have been nailed a second time. It does not matter how fast you get up. It does not matter if you stagger when you get up. If you get up without giving in then you get some more business.

    I guess the Aussies brawl in a different way.

    I bet that little megalomaniac thug willl never stir it up any day soon.

  2. “I’m just eighteen years too late.”

    I don’t see it that way. We all do what we do in such things to cope. There isn’t a right way or a wrong way per se to deal with thugs. When I was in high school the only way to get people off my case was to join a sports team. My high school worshiped athletes and I was one of them. Yeah I was a queer, a queer who was on varisty and one of the best on the team.

    Sports were not my preferred way to cope with that sort of harassment. As I said, we do what we do.

    I don’t resent those days. To rent those days gives those people power over me.

  3. With you on that Mel.

    I put up with way too much of it myself. Being shamed for being the only person I could be, then trying to hide it.

    You are braver than I am. I applaud you for this article.

  4. Hi! We are students at Smith College in Massachusetts. We invite you to take a survey assessing attitudes about lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and transgender people. The survey should take between 30-40 minutes to complete and is completely anonymous. To thank you for your participation, you will be entered into a raffle for a $50 gift card on Thank you in advance for your participation!

  5. Well I am not gay, am a hetero female in fact, but I find gay conservatives very interesting and admirable. I like people who have intellectual integrity to stand against the crowd. As for this post, I was also bullied a lot in junior high by thuggish girls, for no other reason than that I was small and pretty. I was terrified and didn’t know how to fight back. Even now that I’m in my forties, I still think about those incidents and get angry!! I hate it but, some things do stay with you. Anyway, looking forward to reading and learning more here.

  6. I remember getting beaten up on my 12th birthday by a guy who was picking on my little sister. I defended her and got beaten up, thrown down a hill-sized pile of snow, then I went home to my birthday party and ended up crying in front of all my friends. Quite humiliating. I remember the thing that was awful was feeling like I was doing the right thing then things turning out badly anyway.

    A few years ago I strangely, miraculously received an important bill in the mail intended for the guy that beat me up. Somehow it ended up in my mail even though I live across the city from him. His name is unique enough and the city is small enough it could only have been him. It looked like an urgent piece of mail that required a rapid response or he’d get into some credit difficulties.

    I recycled it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s