Monday, 21 March 2011


I was surprised by my reaction to the Casey Heynes incident. The violent ending sickened me. As much as that was the sight of two youths stuck acting out a scene set up mainly by the wills of those not present.

One ended up being slammed very hard into the concrete reality of consequence unlike those who've helped set this up. Literally and metaphorically, his world was turned upside down as bully became victim and victim became avenger.

The only people who 'deserve' that more are those who think mob rule is just a part of the toolkit to pursue their own ends however deranged. Convincing themselves it is for the good of others to disconnecting the obstacle of conscience.

The one who found out that his quarry was as human as himself and could like himself be pushed to a point where the normal rules don't apply was of course Ritchard Gale, the smaller boy in the video. The other boy whose fear and fury he was unfortunate enough to detonate was Casey Heynes.

The games society plays often comes out in less conditioned minds, in this case children, but not only. We are oh so shocked of course and we utter some mindless defence about how "children are so cruel" etc.,

Children don't tend to know enough yet unseasoned (/deadened) by the acceptance of a critical mass of hurdles which obscure motives or finesse re/actions. The gaps they slip through and the ways they do, break through our sense of order.

They are still learning.

These two are the ones who got hurt both of them, Casey over a longer term and Ritchard over the shorter term, for now. Even if this was a private matter this will stay with him into the future would you swap with either?

The latter was lucky to escape with the damage he sustained, he looked very shaken, possibly concussed/winded if the wrong part of him bore the impact that would have written a more serious ending and who would have payed for that?

I don't think its too much to say this is a pretty accurate microcosm of what's going on with fat people generally. We can see who represents us but also who represents the common or garden folks on the 'other side.  Both manipulated by the same distant hands and left to fight it out amongst and police each rather than either or together confronting those who would wish to set people against each other.

It illustrates some of the complexity part of it the way victim/victor  are flipsides of one another and how the former can erase and reduce you. The shock that anyone could be 'angry' enough to taunt, hit or hurt you is something that is so inexplicable, that part of you can remain frozen in that initial shock for there on out.

What the bullied position can hide is your thinking as well as who you are, Casey clearly a bright and articulate boy didn't hit back before just out of fear, but out of awareness of his own growing strength and wariness/unsureness about that, in other words, ethics. Those who can't stand to be hurt often cannot stand to hurt others, equally.

That can place them in a position of withdrawing, which can draw out the bully in ourselves into advance, merely by the absence of a perceptible counter force. Often its a question of how soon that effect happens to us all. This cycle can continue its dynamic and only when the reasoning brain can be overcome by something more primeval and direct is it arrested.

Those who speak fatuously of the "time bomb of obesity" need to understand this is a real ticking time bomb they might want to consider when they insist laughably that its time to get tough with fat people. They might want to consider what reaction that leaves to having one too many boundaries overridden.

Because when you push beyond another then another this little vignette sums up your course. I don't necessarily mean violence, hopefully its more reassertion of selfhood after being inveigled into partial surrender of it.

Then too is the shakedown of all the feelings repressed in acquiescence to the crusade possibly along with any force that has liberated them. Something we all know phobes have a low tolerance for as it forces them into contact with their less noble qualities.

They resent both this and being encouraged to go this far by their 'betters', something fatz who assume any potential backlash against the crusade managers will come purely from fatz.

I think people are right consider whether the response was disproportionate, it's true, he could have assumed a more assertive stance and warned him to back off. But Casey himself has spoken perceptively about this, he knew things got ahead of him and mixed in with this explosive rebound reaction was the fear garnered along the way to it. Those seeking to test people's limits should factor that in under risk.

When you play with people beyond their capacity to tolerate it what you find may be as much of a shock to them as you and not wishing to find out may be what's keeping you 'safe' more than simple fear. Feelings remain unexplored for a reason. Beyond past abuses there was being hit squarely in the face, more threatening than being hit lower down somehow, even if if it is less painful.

The final straw was the little dance by the smaller boy, that complacency left an opportunity for a surprise counter attack. A person can tolerate in sadness what they cannot in being toyed with.

The balance of power shifts from one to the other, in an instant.

The reaction of hero of a revenge fantasy is fascinating. It confirms the suspicion that a lot of haters underneath their bluff and bluster are desperate for fat people to reassert boundaries that have been breached in different ways by all.

And problematic as the hero worshipping is aside, there is something repellent about a lonely person gaining 'friends' via that narrative.

Those who believe in constantly appealing to the pity of those who've willfully taken the bully route should remember that the fat boy became someone a lot of people could identify with. Because violence aside, he became present again when he re took his ground.


  1. True. This is the kind if thing that can change a person. Permanently. The interviews I've seen with Casey indicate that it may already have. Perhaps for the better. Giving him a stronger sense of self, more self confidence, a better idea of the limits to which he will ALLOW himself to be pushed. But he's still got more to learn. In a sense the schools decicision to suspend both boys may have helped in teaching that further lesson. Snapping, though at times something that might be beyond your control, has consequences too.

    Still, the constant poking and prodding, the incessant denigration and patronizing, the pure hate filled dismissal of fat people and our lives that I see on the Internet and IRL only serves to remind memind me of my favorite quote from Miss Conduct, Advise Columnest from the Boston Globe;

    "If you think fat people have no self-discipline, consider the fact the they haven't killed you. Yet."

  2. I hope it changes him for the better too allowing him to feel more confident and assertive.

    Mz Conduct is spot on. Like anyone else though discipline to this extent comes at a cost and cannot go on indefinitely.

    Those who've lost touch with that and think it is wise to keep pushing fat people around, need to become more mindful of that.