Kerre McIvor

Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre Woodham: Bullied Casey's simple message

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Ritchard Gale torments Casey Heynes, who slams him down. Photo / Supplied
Ritchard Gale torments Casey Heynes, who slams him down. Photo / Supplied

It's not surprising to see the outpouring of support for Casey Heynes, the 16-year-old Sydney schoolboy who has become a worldwide hero as a result of a YouTube video showing him turning the tables on a playground bully.

The fact that his tormentor was much younger and smaller than Casey has made not a jot of difference.

In the video it's clear to see that 12-year-old Ritchard Gale is the instigator, taunting Casey and punching him four or five times, while his mates film the whole thing on their mobile phones.

Casey takes it for a while and then, powered by years of pent-up anger, he lifts Ritchard above his head and throws him to the ground in a classic slamdown. The bully is vanquished and the world cheers.

Casey has become every man, every woman and every child who has suffered ridicule and abuse and has felt powerless and impotent. He is every gentle giant who has had to suck it up and turn the other cheek, time and again.

Ritchard got his just deserts, and good riddance.

The Australian psychologists who protested that the nationwide television interview with Casey could do him irreparable harm clearly didn't watch it.

Casey came across as an articulate young man who took no special pleasure in man-handling Ritchard.

What he was so amazed and delighted about was that he wasn't alone. He wasn't the freak he thought he was.

Hundreds of thousands of people had let him know via the internet that they had suffered too and that what he had done was fair and just.

He felt great, he said. He'd never had so much support and now he is left alone at school.

Teachers say that their job has just got tougher in the light of the attention both boys have received and the payments made to the boys' families by competing Australian television channels.

They will have a hard time trying to stop other kids seeking their 15 minutes of fame and fortune via schoolyard fights, they say, especially now scrapping kids can quote the Casey defence.

That may be true but Casey has sent a simple message. Even the most placid of people has a breaking point and bullies should remember that the next time they take on what they perceive as an easy target.

- Herald on Sunday

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