High School Years: Graffiti, Ganja and Gratuitous Violence - Cameron

Chubby, intelligent 12 year olds are best served by learning to fight...quickly.

Perhaps you've noticed that lately I've become a picture whore. I was recently going through my flix (none of which I have ever framed or hung) and I saw a picture of someone I forgot about. Cameron. I had a conversation or two with him and we weren't really friends but I will always remember him. Why? Cause he got his ass beat every year. From the 6th grade until high school graduation he got beatup at least once a year, occasionally more. I knew about Cameron before I ever saw or met him. I used to be an easy bully target (c'mon look at that picture) so even when I wasn't much of a fighter, I was to stubborn to just get beat up. You could pick on me, but when it came to a fight you had to DEAL with me. When I began to come across Cameron I wondered what his deal was. Did he have religious parents? Was he scared? Or is there some other reason that he just wouldn't fight back? I actually saw him get beat up twice and both were not horrible ass whopping it was just the circumstance around them.

One day we are walking across the field from school towards are neighborhood. We along one path. These dudes from homestead (hoodlums) on another path and Cameron by himself. Homestead dude a takes homestead dude b's hat. H.a tells H.b if he wants his hat he has to go beat up Cameron. Without a second thought or trace of hesitation dude makes a bee-line to Cameron and starts serving him. Smack...Smack...smack,smack,smack. H.b walks back to the group, gets his hat back and everyone presses forward. Cameron (holding his eye) slowly rises, gathers his things and continues homeward.

Another time as I am walking through the halls I notice the signs of a fight starting. I approach the edge of the crowd and notice some dude facing off against...Cameron. Cameron has his books clutched to his chest and keeps trying to walk past the guy. Dude pushes him back everytime he tries to pass. This goes down 6 times until dude just grabs Cameron and slings him into the stair well and starts pummelling him. The crowd pressed in and moved me further from the scene of the crime.

It was at this time I started to think about Cameron's...life. When we spoke he seemed happy and energetic. What was it about him that made people start using him as a whipping boy? As someone who used to be picked on I understand how your whole mood can switch when someone starts to pick on you? I know how you can walk around smiling and hoping people leave you alone. What I didn't understand was the difference between us once dukes went up. I would get mad...I never bothered anyone, how could people fuck with me? Did this asshole expect to keep picking on me? I don't deserve this. I could identify most with the Incredible Hulk. I was normally mild mannered but confronted with an injustice like this I would snap. I remember in my neighborhood I was the little kid that would start crying before I beat your ass. Older boys would warn people, "Yo, you better leave him alone before he loses it on you." All this caused me to wonder, did Cameron have this rage or did he go to another place inside himself? As I unfurled, did he curl in on himself? The worst thing that happened to Cameron was graduation. He walked the stage before me and I remember people booing him. I didn't understand how this victim of our adolescent minds and temperments deserved to be booed for surviving long enough to get away from us. If Cameron had showed up with a M-16 and started taking out classmates...I would have understood. He reminds me of the song "Jeremy" by Pearl Jam. "Clearly I remember, picking on the boy, seemed a harmless little fuck, but we unleashed a lion". I wonder how many school age killers were originally Cameron? I wished I had helped him, but then I never liked the thought of fighting for somone. Especially a guy. I figured I don't want to step in and be the only one on his side fighting. I still feel guilty, though. I also feel mad at people I remember who had known him for years and never helped him. How many people beat him up cause they knew he could? Perhaps for that reason alone I should have intervened. I, personally, know that young people can be cruel, but...damn. Seven Years. Imagine getting your ass beat for 7 years straight. I wish I could say that today he's successful and doing well, but I don't know. He faded off into the shadows of my memory until my yearbook popped up. Out of respect I can't show his picture. I wish I could run into him and find out he was doing well, I wish moreso that I could step back and do something. Not for the good feeling it would give me, just cause he didn't deserve it. He is my reminder that injustice done to one really effects all, I mean were the Columbine kids just two white Camerons? If so did the children of that school deserve what happened? I don't know. I'm just sorry I didn't help when I could.


Blogger Gunner Kaufman said...

TO those that believe that children are innocent...BULLSH%^!!! They by nature are some of the cruelest beings on the planet. Lot of things in my youth i regret..things ive done to others, as well as things done to me...all i can hope for is when its over we get to defend our actions...

10:18 AM  
Blogger Mala said...

I have another comment coming about this but I just had to say that I am going to run off to Bali with you... you qouted Eddie Veder correctly! You're killing me man, you're really killing me.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Breez said...

I was quick to throw up my hands to a bully, but I didn't want my son to be as aggressive as I was. I changed my tune quickly because he was really turning into a target. Kids will pick on another kid forever if they think he or she won't fight back. They can really be awful. Great post.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Luke Cage said...

I was one of those kids who was teased and tripped up and what not, but very few ever assaulted me like this kid Cameron. I had alot of other kids that actually defended me and told the bullies to leave me alone.

This is a shame. You never know what kind of brain trauma that leaves on a kid. And consider this. He may have turned out to be some CEO of some great company out there. Doesn't Bill Gates look like someone who was constantly beat down just because? Then again, he could be a cop with a chip on his shoulder seeing his past antagonists in every individual perp out there.

But don't cut yourself short at the knees. There are things we know now that would have been good if we incorporated it then. But without the mindset to fully understand it, it wouldn't have worked. Cool post man.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Jdid said...

my pops thought me that if someone hit you you hit them back. i was a small nerdy kid back then and i used to get picked on but i was quick to drop my bag and scrap. back then it was just fists. I wonder what i'll teach my kids cause today another kid might have a gat on him and just blow them away.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Coffey0072 said...

I was picked on in school. I can remember this one incident, like it was yesterday. I was about 10 or 11. I was walking home from school, and a group of about 3 or 4 boys walked behind me, pelting me with snowballs. laughing maniacally the whole time. I did nothing. Someone who saw the whole incident alerted my older sister, who in turn told my mother.
My mother asked incredulously, "How is it, you can talk up here at home, and catch an attitude, but you can't do that to bullies??"

Needless to say, that was the last and final time I 'did nothing.'
I'm finding at 27 that adults can be some bullying ass people too. I don't think twice about cussing their asses out.

When you fight back, they back down. Bullies are cowards, who can sniff out fear and passivity like trained hound dogs.

2:32 PM  

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