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Carlos Miranda Levy

NEVER HELP: engage, enable, empower and connect, Relief 2.0 / Markets of Hope

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What can we do and what do we do about bullying?

Recently, while playing Red Dead Redemption I noticed another player, LatinLupe752, running in a straight line towards Chuparosa, a dusty settlement in the middle of nowhere.

Obviously a noobie. If you run in a straight line in an open field, you will be shot, in real life and in video games too.

I took my gun and killed him. Bam! 10 seconds later he, or she, respawned and started to run in a straight line again. I shot him again. Bam! He respawned once more; I switched weapons to a shotgun and shot him again, and again, and again. Soon I was "most wanted player" and there was a bounty on my head. I was killed by other players who came for the bounty.

I respawned and looked around for LatinLupe752, and saw him in the distance leaving the area, probably just wanted to play in peace and decided to go somewhere else in the game. I got on my horse, climbed up a hill, took aim with my carcano rifle and shot him in the head from afar. He respawned again and I shot his horse and then I shot him. They never came back.

Why would I, an active collaborating member of Stanford University Peace Innovation Lab, become a bully so vicious to this individual? Why couldn't I just let him play?

I did it because:

- There was a reward for me in doing it: Everytime I killed LatinLupe752 I would receive experience points and increase my reputation. A clean head shot earned me additional points.

- Yes, I was killed twice by other players who came to collect the bounty on my head, but that did not reduce my experience points or my reputation, so I didn´t mind the inconvenience of respawning a few seconds later and continue my behavior going after more points with LatinLupe752's face in them.

More important, it had nothing to do with LatinLupe752, I did not think he or she was weak, weird or different. It wasn't about intolerance and it wasn't personal.

I did it because there was something for me to gain and because the penalties involved were not enough to deter me from it.

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    Jul 3 2012: We can inculcate a deep and abiding dislike of bullying behaviour in our children and encourge prosociial prohumanitarian impulses.
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      Jul 3 2012: And how would we do that?
      The church claims to do so. And so does any school that claims to include "values" high among its delivery of the academic curriculum.

      Can we as parents compete against the favorable conditions for bullying existing in schools and society in general and the praise of anti-values from media and meta-messages kids receive from the experimentation and discovery of society - as in the prominent role of movie and music stars which is not related by far to anything we may try to "inculcate"?
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        Jul 3 2012: I was blessed with five and I believe what works is demonstrating compassion, bringing people of difference into our homes (for me that meant welcoming a neighbour who has fragile X- the most heritable form of mental retardation- my kids love him and defended him even in the fragile teen years), challenge every time a kid resorts to such behaviour, never model such behaviour with children and finally, ask them how they feel and what the bullied party feels.. That should keep parents so busy that they at least cannot bully.

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