In his April 8 Point of View article "Adding tolerance to the law," Rev. Jack McKinney wonders how there can be any objections to anti-bullying legislation. At the risk of being called a bully myself, let me share a few.
Unlike assault, for example, the definition of verbal bullying is necessarily subjective. Offense taken by the purported victim usually stands in for any objective measure. Do we really want the unkind remarks of insecure adolescents in school hallways adjudicated by the criminal justice system rather than the teachers, counselors and administrators who interact with them daily? I sure don't.
If we must have anti-bullying legislation, it should apply to all equally without indicating particular groups. Each target specified creates by implication a class of villains and a class of victims, thus politicizing the whole issue. What is to prevent a person like Mike Nifong from turning a schoolyard dispute into a cause célèbre to advance his own agenda? It has happened before.
McKinney calls support for the current state House and Senate bills a no-brainer. That's the problem with many such crusades. In creating the laws which govern our society, we need both compassion and reason, working together, to arrive at wise decisions.