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How to Stand Up to Bullies and Fight Crime: Crooks, Cowards and Courage; Work as a Team; Questions to Prepare; Education

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Ann enjoys writing about social issues, inspired by something topical or personal experience. She finds common sense lacking in politics.

The Crime

Not long ago, I saw on television some CCTV footage which would have been hilarious had it not been so serious. It was on a programme akin to ‘Crimestoppers’ where people are asked to phone in if they recognise any of the criminals concerned.

Two potential shop thieves armed with large batons entered a store during the day, marched up to the counter and demanded the shopkeeper empty the till. Did he scream for help? Did he cower and give in? Did he run away? We would understand, not condemn, any of those reactions.

A Mop and a Pizza

En garde!

En garde!

Who Needs a Weapon?

No, he did none of those things. Not a young man, the shopkeeper, with amazing presence of mind, grabbed a mop which was nearby, aimed it at one of the burglars and chased him out of the shop.

At the same time, a shop assistant took a pizza from a shelf and, piece by piece, aimed it at the other burglar, so chasing him too from the shop.

Outside, members of the public who had stopped to see what all the fuss and noise was about then helped the owner and assistant to apprehend the robbers and detain them! I cheered them on from my living room. People power at its best! I was so impressed.

Piece by piece!

Piece by piece!

The Power of the Unexpected

Those two thieves (probably not their first time) assumed that they would win, that people would be afraid of them and give them what they demanded. They looked as though they were prepared to use force. However, confronted with resistance and counter-attack, they cowered and ran, hands over their heads for protection, right into the arms of others who weren’t afraid of them either.

Crooks and Cowards -v- Courage and Team Work

As with many criminals, I believe, they were cowards. They were bullies. They wanted to look as if they meant business, they wanted to scare people, they wanted to take illegally from others. Most of all, they assumed that they would get what they wanted. Their surprise and humiliation at being resisted and thwarted was so good to see. Their arrogance and ‘macho’ stance crumpled in two seconds. Apart from the thieves’ pride, no damage or hurt occurred. A mop and a pizza can’t inflict much harm other than a few stains. However, the courage shown and its effect can do so much good.

It's worth pointing out, though, that anything kept within reach intentionally for use as a weapon may not be looked upon favourably. These people just used what was available at the time, a spontaneous reaction.

The outrage caused by the thieves’ actions made the shopkeeper react without thinking, albeit with innate courage. It could have got him into trouble; maybe he wouldn’t have done the same if faced with guns. However, his courage enabled the assistant to summon up his own and the double attack worked. The snowball effect meant that those outside saw who was winning and they were more than willing to help. What team work!

Teaching Children about Crime and Bullying

Children, at home and in school, are hopefully taught not to fight or bully. They are also encouraged to report bullying. If you’re faced with the situation, though, you might not have time to stop to consider ‘What shall I do?’ To resist force is not the same as fighting back.

To be able to deal with a situation it helps if you’re prepared. Preparation requires having talked over the possibilities, with parents or teachers or friends, so that if you are caught in such a situation then you are at least partly aware of what might happen and what to do given possible scenarios.


Helpful Questions for Discussion

These questions can be asked for useful discussion:

‘What would you do if....?’

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‘Why would you do that?’

‘Do you think that’s the best way to deal with it?’

‘What would the consequences be?’

‘What would you feel like?’

‘What would you think of the criminal?’

‘Do you think the criminal should be faced with his victims?’

It’s also important for children, for all of us, to realise that we can pull together to help one another in such situations rather than just walk away or ignore someone else’s potentially difficult or dangerous situation.

Fleeing the scene of the crime!

Fleeing the scene of the crime!

Stand Up to the Bullies!

Whilst we are encouraged not to fight back, not to put ourselves in harm’s way if we can avoid it, sometimes it is possible to stand up to the bullies, to show them they don’t always win, that others have much more courage than they do. Often, it only takes one to be strong and others will realise that it can be done.

Thieves, burglars, bullies come in all shapes and sizes, are in all walks of life, appear in all sorts of guises, at school, at work, out on the street, even at home. We can’t always have a pizza and a mop to hand when we’re in trouble but we can try to summon up the courage to resist the bullies, in whatever guise they appear. If we are prepared then the odds of succeeding are much greater!

Preparation means having discussions, considering all eventualities (like the questions above) and thinking carefully about the consequences. It requires a balanced view of any situation encountered.

Acting together is much more effective but acting together must be undertaken with care. Education is the answer, for all parties, victims and aggressors.

Above all, being prepared can make all the difference.

What would you do?

Experiences & Contacts:

If this has already happened to you, what did you do?

If you have any experience of any incidents of crime or bullying and you want to share them, please leave a comment.

Some useful contacts: (if you know any other really useful ones, please let me know and I'll add them to this list - thank you)

© 2012 Ann Carr


Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 22, 2017:

Thank you, Claire, for reading and commenting. It was inspirational to watch and I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was cheering. It's being aware and being prepared to stand our ground, I think.

Your input is much appreciated.


Claire-louise on May 22, 2017:

Amazing! I wish I had seen that footage. Remarkable people, why should those disgusting cowards just take that guys hard earned cash?

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on November 10, 2014:

Rachael: You don't need to apologise for the length of your comment. It's an interesting insight into real-life situations. I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience and I would run away in your situation too.

Your son does indeed show an amazing overview of what can happen and how to deal with it; full marks for his apparent diplomacy apart from extremely clear and predictive thinking.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences; it helps bring home what can happen and the various ways of dealing with it. Thanks, too, for your kind comments.

Well done to you and to your son! Brilliant!


Rachael O'Halloran from United States on November 10, 2014:

Your article drew my attention on two counts:

I am the victim of a crime and my youngest son is autistic and was bullied at most of the schools he went to because we moved from state to state so often.

I fought back and was severely injured for my trouble. I am permanently deaf since 1978 due to the attack. If I am alone, I now run away from potentially dangerous confrontations, which is what I answered in your poll.

My son, on the other hand, has an IQ of over 180 and hits the bullies where they can't fight back - with well-articulated comebacks that zero in on their vulnerabilities. He has the uncanny sense of sizing people up in less than a minute and using it against them but only when their actions look serious to him. And because he is autistic, their actions ALWAYS look serious to him. He takes everything literally and in his younger years couldn't tell the difference if they were joking or serious. He is better at it now that he is in his 30's.

"What would your mother think of what you are doing right now?" was what he confronted a bully with in 2nd grade. I was fascinated by his thought process when the teacher told me about it. She said the bully immediately backed down due to being humiliated in front of his crowd of friends.

Another time in the 9th grade, he told a bully he'd meet him at the entrance of the alley where the movie theater exits. It was a well lighted but secluded alley, where the theater's side doors lead out to it. The bully thought its location would be a breeze taking my son to task in a fight.

Similar to bringing a knife to a gunfight, my son brought two sheets of paper with short paragraphs written on them and pen with him to meet at the alley's entry way. He told the bully that he had to sign the papers before he would fight him. He showed him the first paper which was to hold the bully accountable should he seriously hurt my son in the fight. The bully's friends thought the idea of signing an affidavit before fighting was a stellar idea and urged him to sign the first one.

Then he showed him the other paper which was to give my son the bully's new car if my son should win the fight.

The second one giving up his Mustang was the deal breaker. The bully's friends told him he would win for sure, but it was too high a price to pay if the fight results were to go the wrong way. They never fought, and my son gained a few friends who looked out for him the rest of the school year.

Sorry for the long comment. Your article was a real thinker, and I thank you for posing different scenarios for readers to contemplate and/or think back on their experiences.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on October 31, 2014:

Thank you, Paula. That must be really scary for you. You're doing such a vital job, obviously with courage, and people like that should not be hindering you. I guess the drugs make them do crazy things but thank goodness you have protection.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Much appreciated.


Paula Weber from Cincinnati Ohio on October 31, 2014:

Thank you for this amazing, honest piece. I've had to resort to obtaining a concealed carry permit and keeping a gun in my car while I do home nursing visits because of the danger of car-jacking and other attacks. I look like an easy target, you see, and you can't convince crackheads and other criminals that we home nurses don't carry drugs. It's past time to stop making excuses for these kinds of behaviors.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on September 05, 2013:

Hello Christryon; thanks for stopping by. It's good to know that your sons have found ways to cope; resourcefulness is a necessity I guess. Great to get the big kid on your side! Thank you, too, for following me.

christryon on September 04, 2013:

My boys have all been bullied because they are tall and skinny. They have gotten resourceful. They have made friends with the biggest kid in their class a couple of times and used him as a bodyguard. A sense of humor helps too. When one of my sons was being bullied in High School, I overheard him telling his older brother about it. I advised him to talk to his teacher because I KNEW she had a ZERO tolerance policy for it. She took care of the problem and then she got on my son's case for not coming forward sooner.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on August 26, 2013:

CraftytotheCore: your son has obviously had great care from you and his teachers; well done him & you too! It's so interesting how careful help and guidance can make a difference. Thanks for the comment and also for the follow.

CraftytotheCore on August 26, 2013:

Wonderful job! My son has Autism. It's very challenging because he is very literal in all sense of the word. It used to be that when someone said anything to him at school, he would take it personally. Like for instance, "get out of town"....he'd say, "no you get out of town!" But he'd think someone was really trying to kick him out of town! So, it took a lot of hard work but we finally got him through that time. Proof was recently at a structured special needs program during summer, another child threatened to strike my child. My son did not fight. He called for the teacher and they separated the other child. I was so proud of him. He had a breakthrough finally.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on August 23, 2013:

Great story Dolores! Thanks for sharing that; what courage it must have taken to do that too. I appreciate you dropping by; always good to see you. Ann

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on August 22, 2013:

At my son's elementary school, the children were taught to lay down if a bully came at them. Of course, this sounds ridiculous. I am not a fan of fighting but such action would only encourage the bully. My son was there when this actually happened. The picked on kid laid down and the bully pulled back his leg to kick the prone child. My son ( his teacher told me the story) stepped between them to take the kick. The bully backed down real quick.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on March 28, 2013:

Ebonny: Thank you for reading, for your kind comments and for the votes; much appreciated.

Ebonny from UK on March 13, 2013:

Hi Annart

This is very thought provoking and your questions for discussion are spot on.

At school and at home, such questions should be posed on an ongoing basis stressing how we might safely support one another in the type of situation you describe. Thank you for sharing. Voted up and more.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 13, 2013:

expertscolumn: Absolutely; I did mention that we should not put ourselves in harm's way. I guess the main point is that we can sometimes act together for the better. Thanks for reading and commenting. Happy New Year!

Stanley Soman from New York on January 12, 2013:

I think it is important that you first assess the situation to make sure you are not going up against someone with a gun. Brave or not, a some petty cash may not be worth your life.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on November 15, 2012:

Thank you Abbyfitz. You're right; we all have a duty to stand up to bullies. It's difficult for some to have the courage so working together is the key. Thanks for stopping by.

Abbyfitz from Florida on November 15, 2012:

I enjoyed this article. If more people simply stood up to the bullies of this world I think it would be a much better place.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on November 15, 2012:

Thank you so much Billy. Great to be back and to have your support once more. I tried publishing whilst I was away but the internet connection didn't support it well. However, I've had time to write a few and will get them published asap. I also have to catch up on yours! Enjoy the rest of your day!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 15, 2012:

Ann, it's good to see you back writing. Great topic, one near and dear to my heart. I grew up being bullied as a child, and my dad would have none of it.....I was raised to stand up and fight my way out of the situation. I'm not a big fan of fighting, but I'm less of a fan of running. Bullies do not like confrontation, and bullying must be stopped whenever possible.

Very nice job my friend!

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