Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tsunami and Earthquake in Japan, bully confrontation video, point to the virtues of self-reliance

Posted by John Keller.

I'm thinking about a couple of wholly separate, yet strangely related, recent events that point to the virtues of self-reliance -- even amid forces that try to compel people to rely on others for their well-being.

The first event is the tsunami and earthquake in Japan, and the other involves the case of Australian student Casey Heynes, who finally stood up to serious schoolyard bullying, and is paying the price for it.

One of the strongest earthquakes in recorded history hit off the east coast of Japan last Friday, leveling buildings, igniting fires, and triggering explosions at nuclear power plants. A resulting tsunami that rolled in from the Pacific killed thousands, washed homes out to sea, and beached large ocean-going freighter ships inland where they just don't belong.

Then just this week, a video has gone viral on the Internet depicting a teenage school boy in Australia, who news reports say was frequently bullied at school, turning on a vicious attacker by lifting the attacker up and slamming him to the ground, sending him whining, crying, and limping away.

So what do these things have to do with each other? I couldn't put my finger on it, at first. Then I started to think about self-reliance. The stalwart Japanese victims of the tsunami and earthquake are not sitting by waiting for others to help them. News reports depict well-organized efforts to feed the hungry, heal the hurt, house the homeless, and evacuate those in danger from radiation near potentially compromised nuclear power plants.

Even in the middle of the worst disaster and devastation since World War II, the Japanese apparently are stepping forward to deal with tsunami and earthquake problems largely by themselves.

I was struck, at first, by a news report this morning entitled Don't donate money to Japan. The reason: you'll just get in the way; the Japanese know best how to deal with this twin disaster, and aid from abroad -- no matter how well-intentioned -- threatens to pile money where it's least needed, and leave the most-needed areas without.

The bottom line: let the Japanese handle this. They're on top of the situation, so don't get in the way.

Sounds like some of the advice that Casey Heynes took when he put a wicked little bully in his place. Not likely he'll get bullied much again -- not after his pals saw the attacker limping and crying away. Heynes apparently is paying the price for standing up for himself, however. News reports say he, not his attacker, is getting suspended from school.

So everything has its price. The Japanese will spend billions recovering from this most recent disaster, but they'll do the job right. Casey Heynes will spend some time home from school -- at worst might even have to find another school. In the end, though, everyone is standing up for himself, and price they pay to do so will be worth it.

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