strength in unity

Nosiness CAN Stop Bullying (#335)

I’ve been thinking about something for a while.  I’ve even mentioned it on a couple of your blogs.  When I was in high school they had something called the, “peer counseling program.”  Basically, teachers selected a cross-section of “influencers” from every clique or sphere in the school.  There were members from the ‘jocks’ clique, the ‘burnouts,’ the smart ‘nerds,’ the ‘drama gleeks’ – you name the group and they were represented.  I was in this program.  What the teachers then did was they taught us actionable ways to stop bullying and dispel myths.  Our biggest task was to go down into the grade school and teach the 12 year olds and under what “junior high would be like.”  At the time there were rumors that you’d get to junior high and someone would try to sell you a “pool pass.”  Trouble is there wasn’t any pool.  We were there to soothe the kids’ fears.  We did that and -bonus- I think all of us felt truly empowered.


So, in my opinion, the thing that stops kids from being mercilessly bullied is BEING NOSEY.  WE’VE GOT TO BE NOSEY AND TEACH NOSEY.


Let me repeat that – be nosey and teach nosey.  That’s what will win.


Now, before I get into it a bit more I’d like to make a disclaimer…


Disclaimer:  For all the people out there who want to go on some kind of don’t-give-every-kid-a-trophy type rant, STOP IT.  I’m not talking about mild bullying.  I’m not talking about someone called you a name once or twice.  That’s part of growing up.  I’m talking about merciless taunting that never ends, continues while at home through the internet, and that makes kids take their own lives.  I, for one, am heavily involved in the internet.  I love it.  I see the good it can do, but I also see the horror it can perpetuate.  The internet is not one high school, “Sweet Mother is a SLUT” written on the bathroom wall that can be painted over…it’s “SWEET MOTHER IS A SLUT” written on the internet in forever-land.  It’s indelible in a very serious way.  Thankfully, I think I’m alive during the “sweet spot.”  I grew up without the internet and get to enjoy it as a fair-minded adult.  I can not, however, even imagine what a kid who is not policed or supported might have to endure at the thoughtless hands of some yahoos with a facebook page.  It ain’t right.  I am NOT talking about living in la-la, nothing ever goes wrong, land where every child gets an ice cream and a blue ribbon.  I have no desire to turn real life into the Special Olympics.  But, I DO believe in protecting those not-yet-fully-formed brains from hateful, forever, speak.  I am a big advocate of that.  NOW, WHERE’S MY FECKIN’ TROPHY!!



Phew, thank you, Ted, I needed that.


Back to the idea at hand.  I listened to this CNN video yesterday about an 87 year old woman in Bakersfield, California.  Apparently, the woman fell to the ground during mealtime at her assisted living, senior, facility.  The woman that called 911 and everyone around her refused to administer CPR because it was against “company policy.”


Perhaps there’s more to the story.  Perhaps, the woman was labelled a DNR (do not resuscitate), but let’s say she wasn’t.  If that wasn’t the case, what you have here is a DEATH BECAUSE A BUNCH OF STUPID PEOPLE HAD A SERIOUS CASE OF I-DON’T-WANT-TO-GET-INVOLVED-ITIS.


When I listened to this tape, I wanted to scream, “Give me the feckin’ phone, you a**hole.  I’ll give her CPR.”


But, I couldn’t.  I wasn’t there.  Oh, but others were.  And that’s what bothers me.  Take a listen for yourself.  I’ll wait.




Contrast that moment with the experiment below conducted by a tv program at a restaurant in Texas.  What happens is this – actors enter the restaurant and play two lesbian moms and their kids.  They are a defacto, “alternative family” out for all the world to see.  The waitress plays a homophobe.  She loudly tells the family that she is “sickened” by them and their life choices.  Eventually she asks them to leave.


What is absolutely fascinating is what happens when people INTERVENE.



We need to teach EVERYONE to intervene.  Period.  From a young age, every good and true person should be taught this.  Nosisness is next to godliness.  Busybodies are life’s “citizen watch.”  Aren’t those the sayings as we know them?  Well, they should be.


After all, as far as I am concerned, “I am my brother’s keeper.”


Hit my brother and you hit me.  I’d say, be careful.  Momma hits back.


What about you?  Ever intervene?  Ever walk away and regret it?  Please tell me all about it in the comments section.  There’s no judgement here.



Sweet Mother is updated daily-ish on the quest toward 365 consecutive posts.  Join me by clicking “follow” at the top of the page.



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31 thoughts on “Nosiness CAN Stop Bullying (#335)

  1. The woman who died in the senior facility did NOT have a DNR. I read about it in the paper this morning. Apparently, in the wing in which she resides, they have a policy of not doing CPR. They will, however, perform CPR in the other, more advanced-care wings if there isn’t a DNR. When deciding to move in there, this is apparently in their admission contract. Just goes to show, you really have to read the ‘fine print.’

    I think it’s a ridiculous policy. If the person has a DNR, then that’s one thing. But if they don’t, how can you stand by and watch someone in distress? Even with the policy, I know I would not have been able to stay back. I’m not criticizing the nurse–she was following their protocol–it’s their policy that stinks. I’m just saying I don’t think I could have done the same thing.

    1. agreed. with a dnr, i can see it. my grandmother had one because she was so poked and prodded at that point, she just wanted to be left alone. but, standing by and doing nothing because a ‘policy’ tells you so… ugh. i just couldn’t do it. i understand the 911 operator’s frustration. truly. anyway, i, for one, am happy you exist. and i will always read that damn fine print now. i mean, sheesh! xoxo, sm

  2. The letter in the second clip actually made me cry LOL
    If I realize what’s going on, I tend to intervene. The problem is getting me to realize that it is going on. A lot of these things can be subtle and very often it just goes over my head. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

    1. the letter made me tear up too! and it really had an effect on the gay actress and i can totally understand that. i usually hate those ‘set up’ shows, but i thought this was a powerful one. and i’m glad you intervene. 😉 sm

  3. My understanding was that the woman may have had DNR orders, and the staff were simply obeying her wishes to not have heroic measures taken. The problem may not have been with anyone except the news media who immediately recognized a big, loud upsetting story (from the sound of your reaction, it worked). If the DNR (Do Not Rescusitate) was in effect, then I don’t understand the point in calling 911.

    I appreciate your disclaimer about the “everyone gets a trophy ra-ra mentality” stuff.

    1. she did NOT have a dnr. what they have is a ‘policy’ at the facility that people not be given cpr in certain areas, which to me seems cray. listen to the vid, if you haven’t already. the 911 operator’s frustration is palpable and i for one, i understand it. i’m not for going against a dnr. my grandmother had one, i believe, and it was the right choice for her at that time… xo, sm

  4. I totally started one of those clubs at my high school. I was trained in peer mediation (a precursor to becoming a therapist, I later found out) and it was awesome.
    I first learned about the Bystander Effect during my psych undergrad career. It’s soooo powerful, and the more people around, the harder it is to get people to take action.
    I use this same principle with domestic violence – that it’s EVERYONE’S PROBLEM, and so my policy is to intervene in a way that doesn’t put myself in danger. I would want someone to do the same for me. Plain and simple.

    1. so well said, lyssa. so well said. and ‘the bystander effect’ is a perfect way to put it. i always think of this woman in brooklyn. it was a long time ago, but famous case. kitty genovese: — there were over 100 witnesses. 100 something witnesses to her brutal stabbing. and no one did anything because each person thought the other one was going to do it. i mean what in the feck. i always think of that case when i think of this type of thing… xo, sm

  5. Nosey Rosie (Honie) that’s me. I would butt in, step up and for sure take a stand against the waitress’s outrageous behavior depicted in the video. Farmer’s Branch, Texas, where the video was shot, is in the Metroplex where I live. I know a lot of people here who do not share the attitudes of that waitress and who would intervene on behalf of the couple and their children.

    As in many places, laws/policies reflect the opinion of the few, not the many. The south is not overwhelmingly populated by homophobes. I’ll add, neither is it a breeding ground for racists. That those stereotypes are held so strongly that we’re still painted with a broad, hateful brush says quite a lot about what people think they know. **fine print**I don’t speak for the entire state of Texas, just the smart(er) people.

    1. **forgot to add to my caveat**homophobic racists who hate opinionated women, please don’t google me and show up at my door…
      There aren’t any of those types here are there Sweet Mother? Excellent post!

      1. nope, those types don’t exist at sweet mother! i won’t have it! loool. i will say that i was moved by how much the gay couple was stood up for in the texas restaurant. they did the same experiment in new york and it was worse. worse! ppl stood up for the gay couple LESS! now, how against stereotypes are both of those scenarios. i will say tho that ppl in new york try not to get involved all the time because everything is in your face there. but, i found myself getting too involved constantly! lool. well, the badies best never cross us. and i don’t even know if that was an actual english sentence. lmao. xoxox, sm

  6. I wonder if it was really against “company policy” for someone at the facility to administer CPR,. If a person had gone against policy and tried to save that woman’s life, would they have been fired? Disciplined?

    Just wondering.

    1. T.W. I am sorry, but if I worked there and it was a question of my job over another human beings life – well I would choose to save a life. No job on earth is worth watching someone die if it can be prevented. I am sure had she done the right thing, someone else would have hired her.

      1. “Just doing my job” sounds so close to “Just obeying orders”. Apparently the guards in Auschwitz said that a lot. I find that terribly creepy.

  7. Not only would I have intervened, I have on more than one occasion done so. Farmers Branch isn’t to far from me, they are an interesting place tried to stop “Mexicans” from moving in a few years back because they were all ‘illegals’ (yes it really is the what one of their city council said).

    If we don’t stand up for what is right, each and every time we see wrong the world never gets better. If we fail to speak up, speak truth, speak out; we simply fail at our humanity. We are represented by the loud and ignorant minority, it is our failure. We are apathetic that we allow them such power and authority over our society and our direction.

    This was wonderfully done. Thank you.

  8. I think you are absolutely right about intervening and the power it has – especially with bullying. As I said on my blog on the subject- I think that we can combat bullying by empowering children (not in the everyone-gets-a-trophy kind of way) but even that has its limits. Kids are mean and that isn’t going to stop, but when we intervene it does make a difference.

    The CPR thing made me ill. Our society has devolved and the attitude of ‘not getting involved’ is atrocious.

    Also the letter on that video made me cry too. Certainly not what I expected. People can be awesome or horrible and every person gets to choose which one they want to be. I choose awesome – and I will intervene!

  9. Reblogged this on tolerantpeople and commented:
    Another Blog I follow posted this article about bullying and what I see as another valuable point about how to combat the bullies. Many people (and kids in schools) will say that they don’t want to get involved in others business – but it is exactly that attitude that has made our society an unsafe place both physically and emotionally. If more people got involved when they witness any type of bullying or injustice maybe people would start thinking twice before engaging in such activities.

  10. Love ya Mum 🙂 Nosy people >> caring people >> community. There’s a flip side as well but I think that’s a small price to pay for the caring part of the equation.

  11. I was on holiday once and I saw what seemed to be a mother abusing her son. Firstly she was yelling at him and he wasn’t listening, then she was leaning in really close to him to tell him off disguising the fact that she was putting all of her weight onto his foot. Then she was twisting his ear while he was laughing, not because he thought it was funny, but because he was in pain and scared.

    I am thoroughly ashamed to admit that I did nothing. I had no idea how to approach this woman. I was with my 1 and a 1/2 year old daughter. There were no police around and I had no idea whether approaching this woman about her behaviour would lead to harsher repercussions for the boy later on. I didn’t know their names so couldn’t call the area’s social services or police station.

    All those are just excuses though I should have found some way to show this boy that I at least saw what was happening, and it was NOT okay for this woman to treat him like that. I still have no idea how I could have done that almost a year later.

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