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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 4 2012: Lovely episode and story.

      However, I am afraid - and many would point this out - the kind of bullying kids face today is far from the small town, neighborhood one on one bullying where kids could sort things among themselves. We have both digital bullying and harassment on social networks as well as increasingly violent or risky bullying. More and more, and younger, kids today have access to guns, knives and may be inclined to use them.

      It may not be enough, or even fair, to send a kid to man up against his or her bullies when he or she is in a position of disadvantage, both physically and socially.

      The abundant, yet limited in comparison to their actual numbers, reports of sexual bullying in the military academies, the youngsters who have perished by hazing gone wrong and the plain brutal confrontations and random killings of urban gangs, should make us think twice before embracing such a strategy.
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        Jul 4 2012: But bullying in a video game is more real?

        An environment that exposes kids to weapons is no place for kids. If this is a systemic problem then the very rule of law does not exist and the future of that location or culture will end as it is literally killing it's future.

        Regarding the idea of passive resistance I don't agree in fact I would say: live by the sword die by the sword, don't live by the sword and die sooner.

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