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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 13 2012: I like how you've paralleled the gaming experience to bullying.

    By doing so, you've highlighted something that made me gain perspective on the nature of bullying. People bully those who they deem susceptible. Usually bullies are insecure about something, hence they pick on ones who they think are easy catch for them.

    You may agree, or disagree, but I think that the motivation to constantly kill the noobs in games developed from the fact that we are insecure of dying and being called noobs ourselves. Since, killing LatinLupe752 gave you a window to escape out of that insecurity pretty easily (plus you were rewarded!), you chose that path.

    Similarly, in the real world, most bullies have intentions that are almost always directly connected to their insecurity. Shown in a lot of movies (from real life experiences), most bullies pick on others because they feel threatened by their victim subconsciously. Some everyday examples are:
    -(verbal) bullying of someone good looking if he/she happens to be around your love interest
    -(verbal) bullying of co-workers in an office environment if he/she starts to become popular with the boss
    -(physical) bullying in school because teens need to create hierarchy, and the only tools in their arsenal in strength
    -(cyber) bullying throughout the internet, and something you've provided an example on (although not the best)

    Now that we know the stem of it, we can try to find ways to eradicate it. How? I think someone else mentioned that it depends on the upbringing. Now I'm no parent, just a high school student, so here are just some things that I think could be useful:
    -raising in an open environment without being scared of anything particular
    -are explained their roles in society, and as future citizens
    -are encouraged to talk about daily experiences so that adults can help
    -are brought up with good sources of knowledge such as educational cartoons (not the violent games; following the ESRB ratings for movies/games helps

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