A Village of Awareness Saves Lives


As noted in a number of articles that I have written as well as a book (franwhiteauthor.com) and countless blogs on the topic of bullies, fatalities have continued on an epidemic level due to the absence of knowledge, immediate actions and the assessment of anti-bullying programs.

I have described a prescription for this lethal epidemic of mass shootings by victims of bullies who are displacing their rage on others. An immediate dosage of KNOWLEDGE on the description of a bully, ACTION or a prepared plan to take place immediately after the tragedy and deaths and an ASSESSMENT of the program or intervention provided to measure it’s effectiveness to cure the epidemic. I frequently use the term, “Village” which describes the educational institution, the governmental organization, the geographic location and, most of all the unit of the family.

Knowledge on the definition, behavior  and identification of a bully is crucial. Action needs to take place immediately upon a shooting not weeks later with the assignment of competent clinical personnel to treat those effected by the tragedy. In an ideal world or village, competent clinical personnel should be assigned to schools to identify those future murderous individuals and victims of the bullies within the school or “village”. Lastly, programs and personnel need to be evaluated and assessed to determine the effectiveness of anti-bully interventions and the identification of dysfunctional students.

Upon my review of our current tragedy that just occurred at Santa Fe High School, Texas, ten deaths and ten wounded could have been prevented if that school and most others had “vaccinated” their village against this fatal epidemic of bullies and dysfunctional students with dosages of KNOWLEDGE, ACTION and ASSESSMENT.

As noted by the “red flags” that so few administrators, educators as well as students were knowledgable of ,the signs that contributed to that murderous day. The absence of knowledge on bullies and emotionally dysfunctional  students was quite evident in the statements of the governor of the state of Texas, Greg Abbott, in which he declared that” the suspect had offered few clues  that he would carry out a massacre of such scale.” He acknowledged that the suspect’s Facebook page did reveal his shirt which read, BORN TO KILL. Do note the photo that accompanies this article. The governor did say that the suspect had  shared information about the shooting on both his cell phone and on his computer. Due to the fact that this student did not have a criminal record, “these red flag signs were either nonexistent or impossible.” In addition to the absence of knowledge on bullying and emotionally dysfunctional students, government officials, the school administrators and students lack the ability to identify this murderer of ten, Dimitrios. It was reported that, due to the brutal bullying of Dimitrios’s younger sister, she had to transfer to another school. He was also a victim of bullying by not only his peers but by his football coaches who stated,” He stunk, smelled like cr_p.”

Other signs that were ignored in addition to the bullying that he and his sister had to endure, Dimitrios, as reported by his peers, wore his signature trench coat and military boots in spite of the heat and humidity of Texas. He did wear this attire, including his BORN TO KILL shirt on the day of the shooting. Observant and ignorant fellow students jokingly commented that he “looked just like the Columbine shooters!” While in Junior High School, Dimitrios was an honor student , dressing appropriately but, as noted, this decline in academic performance was not noticed nor addressed  by his teachers at the High School .Authorities reported that Dimitrios wrote on his online journals about his plans to attack the school and then turn his gun on himself.

This Texas “village”, indeed, lacked the ability to take the first step in preventing the deaths of innocent students and teachers. KNOWLEDGE  on the effects of bullying  and how it impacts upon dysfunctional students who displace their rage was not imparted to students nor adults. Upon further research, there appeared to be little  ACTION in developing any prevention programs and clinical personnel to diminish the disease of  “bullism” in response to the number of other fatal outbreaks that have occurred in the country. ASSESSING any programs or clinicians within this “village” is clearly non-existent since the first step or dosage had yet to be applied to prevent this epidemic of violence and death.

I do pray that my local school will never be the site of yet another tragedy which can, indeed, be prevented by our own “villages” in saving  the lives of our children using a vaccine of KNOWLEDGE, ACTION and ASSESSMENT.

The Explosive Cart Before the Mental . Health Horse

It was not the firearms that killed those innocent, seventeen Florida victims but the mentally disturbed individual who pulled the trigger! In addition to Nickolas Cruz and his automatic weapons, those who ignored all of the red flags of his disturbed behavior over many years enabled this tragedy to occur. The school administrators, who swept this boy under the rug by expelling him without community supervision and sent him into further solitude and isolation to fester his rage, can be perceived as most responsible for these murders. The most guilty accomplices of this crime are the so called mental health clinicians who failed to provide this emotionally disturbed youth with the mandatory  in -patient treatment that was so needed. His deceased, adoptive mother, due to her deep love of this boy, enabled his disturbed behavior by not facilitating hospitalization  after over forty police visitations to the home before she died. Our government agencies, who are employed to protect citizens, are also most responsible for ignoring all of the social media postings and warnings from Nickolas and others due to profound incompetence.

Nickolas was a victim of bullies throughout his young life and this form of behavioral cruelty provoked the rage and depression of this child. Indeed, he was not a personable and acceptable person amongst his peers but where was the compassion of others to notice the pain and suffering that Nickolas was experiencing especially last November when he lost his only parent who provided unconditional  love? His fellow students chose to isolate and ridicule him and failed to actively and loudly alert their teachers and administrators of this dysfunctional peer. Indifference and Denial are the sins of those who failed to previously respond to this tragic event.

Are we only going to direct our political focus  upon gun control laws, the believed explosive cart that the government and their constituents are targeting as the driven force that is responsible  for these horrific deaths? Gun control laws alone will not eliminate any further  school massacres but the most relevant intervention that will prevent the loss of so many of our children is competent and well trained mental health professionals working in our schools and identifying  troubled and disturbed children at an early age. School personnel  need to be properly trained, not armed, in the identification and management  of emotionally troubled students. Anti- bullying programs need to be part of and perfected in all school curriculums with a focus on incorporating  character development programs such a Character Counts with a focus on teaching  and reinforcing compassion and kindness to others by students, teachers, administrators and, of course, parents.

Let’s not place the cart of gun control before the horse of mental health intervention! NOW is the time to act and not after we have another precious child die due to the sins of Denial and Indifference.


If a survey were taken on the existence of a bully in our lives, including adulthood, I believe that we each had to deal with such a bully who provoked much pain and suffering in our lives. What is the definition of a bully? It is defined as a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury and discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words or more subtle actions. The victim of a bully typically has trouble defending themselves and does nothing to provoke the abuse. Bullying occurs in schools, workplaces, homes and playgrounds. As noted in current media reports, the violence that has been reported in our schools have been inflicted by those victims of of earlier abuse themselves and are displacing their anger upon innocent victims, children as well as adults. Over 3.2 million students are effected by bullying each year and 17% of child victims report bullying two to three times a month.

As an author and psychologist , I have focused my quest on addressing and reducing this bullying dilemma in our society. My latest book, NICKI NICE’S BULLY, is one in a children’s series on the topic of bullying in our schools. The main character, Nicki, describes to young readers what a bully does, why and how to change this frightening behavior. To learn more about this book, I do invite you to visit my website, nickinicesbully.tateautor.com Knowledge is power and sharing this book with a child would be a gift of love.

It is hoped that you will share with me, “what’s your feeling” about bullies and if you have been a victim or, perhaps, witnessed this violent behavior as a child or an adult. I will be posting more blogs on this topic on facts and media reports on bullying.