Grudgefest

Jason Carroll Moss apparently couldn’t let go.  Memories of high school bullying gripped him like sand grips a desert and wouldn’t just dissipate.  So, he planned to exact revenge upon his tormentors – even though it all happened more than 20 years ago.  That’s what police in San Antonio, Texas claim, when they arrested Moss July 6.  Moss supposedly threatened retaliation on the web site for John Marshall High School’s 20th high school reunion.  Moss bonded out of jail on Saturday, just hours before the reunion.  Police patrolled the area nearby, but Moss never showed up.

“I stayed away from graduation at the time because I would have started the Columbine shootings early,” Moss purportedly wrote on the reunion’s social network page.  “I was picked on and bullied by a bunch of you when I went to school and I wanted to kill everyone that hurt me.”

It probably would have been a good thing if he at least did arrive at the country club venue where the reunion was held and stood off in a corner somewhere; making other attendees feel squeamish about his presence.  I’m only saying that because I can relate to Moss’ angst.  I grew up shy and introverted and endured bullying throughout grade and high schools.  My parents, oblivious to my plight, just didn’t understand why I couldn’t make friends.  I wasn’t outgoing like they were.  I didn’t grow up mean like they did.  They came from a different environment, and it felt – back then – that we occupied two completely different universes.

My mother once told me how they worried about me every morning they dropped me off at the parochial grade school in Dallas I attended for eight miserable years.

“Well, why didn’t you just pull me the hell out of there?!” I retorted.  Even after that length of time, I remained angry.

I can still recall incidents of torment dating back to the early 1970’s.  That Moss couldn’t forget the brutal antics of his classmates isn’t so much a sign that he’s mentally unstable.  It’s proof that bullying can have an impact on people for a lifetime.

It’s only been in recent years that bullying has taken on some significance.  Like animal abuse, authorities no longer consider it cases of “kids will be kids.”  Bullying is a symptom of more serious problems within the social structure of a school, and the adults around those kids shouldn’t ignore it, much less downplay it.  Excessive harassment can lead to suicide and even murder.  In every incident where a kid shot up his own school, authorities later find out the youth had been the target of bullies.  And, since the parents and school administrators either didn’t believe him, or were too busy with their own lives, that young person felt they had only one recourse: death.  They simply wanted to end the torment and could think of no other way out.  Their young minds couldn’t fathom a peaceful solution to the crisis.

I don’t know what will become of Jason Carroll Moss now.  He may be in serious legal trouble.  Surely he was the subject of conversation that night at the reunion.  I’m certain he was mocked – just the way he was mocked twenty-plus years ago.  And, I’m certain some other self-righteous fool will begin crooning about forgiveness and just letting go.

Spare me such pathetic psychology.  You can’t just let go of the past like a cold or a bad day at work.  And, forgiveness means nothing if someone didn’t ask to be forgiven.  Did the people who bullied Moss in high school feel bad as they matured?  I don’t know.  Some bullies don’t.  Many reach adulthood and allow their tactics to metamorphose once they enter the workplace.  I’ve dealt with bully bosses and managers before.  Punks usually don’t grow up.  They develop a false sense of self-esteem and carry on with such cruel behavior as if nothing was wrong.  Eventually, though, all bullies meet their proverbial match.  They encounter someone who isn’t scared of them, or won’t just tolerate it.  They get it shoved back in their face, which usually hurts their feelings.  That’s the only consolation I have for my own memories; that many of those goons got bitch-slapped by someone who just wouldn’t take their crap.

But, until then, they leave people like Moss in their wake.  I personally don’t see him as a threat to society.  The police should just forget about it.  After all, there are real criminals that deserve more scrutiny.  If I could meet Jason Carroll Moss, I’d probably want to treat him to dinner and drinks, just to offer him some empathy; an ‘I know what it feels like’ kind of sentiment.  He deserves that much.

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