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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 5 2012: To be attacked last night by two thugs on the last stretch of my daily 40km bicycle ride was the best way to finally finish Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Upon ducking to evade the first assailant with the same maneuver I practice everyday to avoid the low branches on the trees, I surprised the second brute with a hellish scream and raised my elbows to make him release his grasp on my chest. As I sped away the heavy steps of the one desperately chasing me and the other's cry of "catch him, catch him" were muffled by Ragnar Danneskjöld's final words in the book:

    "One of these centuries, the brutes, private or public, who believe they can rule their betters by force, will learn the lesson of what happens when brute force encounters mind and force". :-)

    (not exactly about bullying, but I guess Danneskjöld's words somehow reflect the sentiment of many in the ongoing discussion here).
    • Jul 5 2012: Sorry to hear about the attack, but glad you came out okay. Way to ninja your way out of it. ;)
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        Jul 6 2012: Thanks. It all went so fast I still haven't time to process it. That's the main reason I wrote the story of it. One has to deal with such events, not just ignore them or put them aside or they will lurk in the back, affecting our mood and probably judgement. It was a violent attack, unprovoked, violating my private space, my precious 2 hour daily alone time, my right to freely exercise and ride my bike without bothering others.

        Worst part, I feel partially guilty of the attack, as it took place at 9:30pm in a dark street on an deserted park that is flooded with people and visible police and security presence from 5pm to 8pm. But that day I started late, and when the attack happened, I couldn't and still can't shake the feeling that it was my fault for riding alone out there so late.
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          Jul 6 2012: Sorry to hear about the attack Carlos.

          Where you say you read the quote from Atlas Shrugged, was the real or a metaphor?
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        Jul 13 2012: Real. I finished Atlas that day and it had been less than an hour since I had heard the lines I quoted. -- I listen to books using Audible while riding my bicycle - it gives me 2 hours of "reading" time every day :-p
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          Jul 13 2012: Carlos, I could not respond in the proper place but I am delighted you are out cycling! The reaction you describe is quite typical for people who have endured experiences like you have endured. Wait it out. Tough it out and it will go away. Take back your life as you are able and as it feels comfortable. People like me from half a world away are cheering you on!
          Go Carlos!
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          Jul 13 2012: My thumbs up is not working but I am cheering you for your reading time as well - if not the choice of book. My greatest objection is that we all need each other and no one is so strong that they can afford to believe that they are an island and that others are weak. Those 'weak' ones who might need a hand now are the ones who might keep you alive one day. We all need them and each other. "Strength in isolation" is the stupidest and most fleeting illusion common to mankind.
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      Jul 6 2012: So glad you are okay, Carlos.
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        Jul 6 2012: I am sure we all are pleased and happy that you are OK!
        Jetison any guilt as it is not productive. You have every right to be where you were at any time. People tend to accept such guilt as a way of protecting themself or so the theory goes ancd i like this one.. For example a rape victim will never again wear a red dress sort of supersticiously because -her subconscious mind which is working very hard to understand what she did to create such a terrible outcome- decides that this is a possible explanation and if she never wears a red dress again (a ficticious example) no harm can come to her because she has discovered the 'cause' of the incident. She then feels she has control of her life again.
        In your case, this is the fault and craziness of two thugs and you were in their path. Simple and awful as that. You do not deserve to suffer one more minute, Carlos! You still have all the control you ever had.
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          Jul 6 2012: The one exception I would take to what Debra says is that there are some places and times that are safe for transit and some not. This should not be true but it is, and as long as it is, we will not have control over our safety there.

          I would surely want my son and daughters to avoid such places if possible rather than to assert their freedom to pass.
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          Jul 13 2012: Thanks. I have been returning to the same path every day... But as soon as it gets dark, I move outside to a parallel street across the park with fast frequent traffic, where I am probably at a bigger risk, but at least not exposing myself to the same attack I already experienced. It does get to you though, just 2 days ago I was biking on the street with traffic and another biker approached me from behind and said "vamos, ciclista!" (go, biker) and I literally jumped scared from the friendly salute :-(
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        Jul 7 2012: Fritzie, your point is more than valid and all prudent people do so and i assume that Carlos is a prudent man. I just wish to releive any additioinal suffering.

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