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Justin Bieber and Casey the Bully Punisher

Justin Bieber and Casey the Bully Punisher 

A viral video on YouTube of 15-year-old Casey Heynes, who is shown beating up a child who is allegedly bullying him, has caused a great stir amongst popular media culture. Particularly since, upon seeing the video, pop star Justin Bieber brought him on stage during a recent concert to highlight his heroism in standing up for himself:

 

Yet there are two sides to every story. Justin Bieber may have made Casey Heynes an overnight sensation in his efforts to use his fame to combat bullying, but the alleged bully, Richard Gale, claims that he was provoked. Studies have shown that bullies are very often victims of bullying themselves, and the story of Richard Gale is no exception. In thinking about and talking about bullying and its consequences, then, we cannot overlook both the victims and the bullies. Both of these videos speak for themselves. 

 

  1. After watching both of these videos, what is your reaction? 
  2. Do you feel that Casey Heynes was justified in fighting back as he did? Why or why not?
  3. Justin Bieber used his fame to put a spotlight on Heynes as a "hero." Do you agree or disagree with the notion that Heynes' story is an inspiration to victims of bullying? Why or why not?
  4. What lessons do you think this shows our youth about responding to bullying? In your opinion, is this a good message or a bad message? 
  5. Many who have seen Casey's video have called him a "true man" for standing up for himself. How, then, are we defining "manhood" in our culture? Is "man-ness" based on abilities to show oneself as willing to stand up against tyranny using violence , as we see in this video, or is it based on something else entirely? 
IMPLICATIONS

As stated previously, we cannot overlook both the victim and the bully in thinking about bullying and its consequences. Stopping bullying requires that we work towards alleviating the underlying causes of bullying, not just promoting those who stand up to bullies through violence or other means. 
 
Chris Lloyd, cCYS