"He was such a bright kid," says DeVonne Horseley, his mother. "And now, he has nothing. No future at all."
On September 27th, Horseley became the latest victim of a bullying fad that's causing injury-- and potential death-- to untold numbers of teens in Shaggy Butte and beyond. It's called "crouching behind someone and pushing the person over the crouched person," and it could result in skull fractures, ankle twists, concussions and-- as in Horseley's case-- worse.
"I've heard of a lot of incidents of it recently," Shaggy Butte High principal Farrokh Bulsara. "Just the other day, we had to send a girl home because somebody had come up behind her, and then somebody else had advanced in front of the girl and pushed the girl over so she fell over the person crouching behind her. She got a little dinged up. They've been pulling that prank since back in my day, and it's always been pretty dangerous."
A brutal new innovation in bullying
Here's how the deadly new trend of crouching behind someone and pushing the person over the crouched person works: first, a child crouches behind a second child, who is standing. Then, a third child gets in front of the second child and shoves the second child. The second child falls backwards, tripping over the first child who had been crouching behind him or her.
This bullying is even more brutal than it sounds. According to Dr. Rick Lamby of Shaggy Butte Family Practice, crouching behind someone and pushing the person over the crouched person is not just fun and games-- it's life and death.
"People could really be hurt if someone crouched behind them and then a third person came up and pushed the person so they fell over the crouched person," Dr. Lamby tells us. "If I understand correctly what you're trying to describe, I can imagine someone really hurting their neck or head when they hit the ground. If they fell onto concrete, it could potentially injure the person who got pushed over the crouched person very much. I'm thinking fractured skulls, broken elbows, tweaked necks, you name it."
And it's almost as dangerous for the victims as it is for the perpetrators. "I really wouldn't recommend this practice, even as a joke," Dr. Lamby continues. "Even the crouched person might get hurt, if the person who got pushed over the crouched person landed on the crouched person wrong. Or, if the person who got pushed over the crouched person thrust their legs out wrong, even the person who did the pushing of the other person could maybe get kicked."
A legal grey area
But there's something even more shocking than the act itself: there's no law against it.
"No, there isn't a specific law prohibiting that very specific act that you're describing, if I understand correctly what you're trying to say," said Shaggy Butte DA Prince Rogers Nelson. "But I would imagine shoving somebody over and injuring them would definitely be covered under existing assault laws."
But what about the person crouching behind the person getting shoved? "Again, I'm not sure I understand exactly the scenario you're describing," said Nelson, "but if the person was intentionally crouching behind the victim in such a way that a third party could more easily push the victim over and the victim would tumble over the person who was crouching, I would imagine we would also charge the crouching person with some form of assault."
"But no," Nelson admitted. "I don't believe there is any law that addresses this act in a specific way."
Students desensitized to violence
"I've definitely heard of the thing where someone ducks behind you and then another person comes up and pushes you really hard so you fall over the person ducking behind you," said SBSHS junior Walter Coons. "I don't know if there's a name for that thing, but I saw a couple of people do it one time. It was pretty funny."
"I've done it to many people," said noted local bully Chad 'Doggie' Barkswell. "I've been the crouching person, and I've also been the person who pushed someone over the crouching person."
During the interview, a Barkswell accomplice named Hugo Rodney crouched behind a KRUT-5 reporter, and Barkswell pushed the KRUT-5 reporter in such a manner that she toppled over Hugo Rodney, who was crouching behind her.
"I believe this act has been called 'The Martyrdom of Saint Catherine of Alexandria,'" Barkswell noted, standing over our fallen reporter, "but I must further consult my texts to verify this."
No future for Derek Horseley
"We took Derek to the hospital because he said he felt dizzy after the person pushed him over a crouching person," DeVonne Horseley tearfully recalled. "The doctor said he had a mild concussion, and he shouldn't play basketball for a few days. The coach was so mad that he kicked him off the team, and then his dad and I were so angry about that that we kicked him out of the house. Last I heard, he was not attending school and living with a male couch-owner friend and smoking marijuana 'jazz cigarettes.'"
"If we'd known how serious the thing was, where someone crouched behind him," said a wistful Horseley, "And then another person came up and pushed him down over the crouching person, maybe we never would have been so upset with him missing the game."
The Remains of Bidet (James Ivory, 1993)
We might find we have more in common than we think if we just stop fighting long enough to combine our bodies into a singular organism.
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