Situations happen. They can be unexpected and scary. Kids can find themselves locked into situations that will change their lives forever–and not for the better.
Bullying isn’t just the doing. It’s also the bystanders–some are silent and others are egging on and support of the bully mentality and behavior. Some may laugh nervously and be thankful they’re not the target. All are guilty.
Don’t let this happen to your kid. No one wants to live with such memories and no one wants to die to belong.
Talk to your kids. Read this story with them. Work out a plan. Do it now. Not later–as later may be too late.
August 2019, British Columbia, Canada.
His name was Carson Crimeni and he was only fourteen years old. The young man who, while at a skateboard park, allegedly ingested some substance that ultimately took his life as bystanders watched, laughed and videoed the incident. Later, postings on social media of the unfolding scenes alerted the public and police but it was too late.
As I shake my head at the tragedy of it all I’m reminded that things like this happen in the blink of an eye—a brief moment in time and we have to ask why. Why is this sort of stuff happening? Is it a sign of the times? Bad kids?
All I know is that hearts are broken, a child is needlessly dead, and other children are forever changed.
Let’s face it, kids don’t always remember the lessons taught to them by parents, caregivers, and teachers as they’re faced with stressful situations. We as parents or influential adults in kids lives need to constantly remind them that walking away is always the best choice.
When I think of the situation that Carson found himself in, I can’t imagine the torturous decision-making process he was forced to go through.
By all accounts, I’ve read that Carson was a good kid who liked to cook and play video games.
The notion of him allegedly being challenged by his peers to do something stupid like swallow pills is nothing but a nightmare. The fear, the invincibility, and the pressure—staring him in the face along with all the kids hanging around watching—waiting—to see what was going to happen.
A kid wants to be cool. A kid wants to be accepted. A kid doesn’t think they’re going to die.
As they laid young Carson to rest my thoughts are with his family and friends who’ve been robbed of a lifetime of memories. My thoughts are also on the fact that things could’ve been so different if just one kid ran to get help.
I think it’s nearly impossible to hear this story and not wonder what was going on in the minds of the other young people who did nothing to help another person in distress. What’s wrong with this picture?
If a kid has any empathy at all, there’s always that little itchy thought that peeks around the corner of the brain—the one that says this shouldn’t be happening—this is wrong. The thing is that the little itch runs around the other side of the brain too and says phew—thank god it’s not happening to me.
That struggle between the two is difficult to bring together because they serve opposite sides of the fight.
During the incident where Carson ingested a foreign substance, I’m sure there would’ve been at least one kid wriggling in their own skin wishing they were anywhere but at the skate park. But still, no one ran to get help. No one stepped up. No one screamed bloody murder to interrupt or disrupt the situation.
It’s been drilled into these kids through school programs, at home, and/or by public announcements, to run—go get help, don’t follow the crowd, and to ignore the bullies but real life isn’t that easy.
They’re not thinking about the By-Stander laws that protect them if they tell, and they’re not considering future consequences as they’re swept up in the mob/group mentality of ignorance and cruelty.
It becomes a situation where an individual is just relieved not to be the centre of attention and plummets into an avalanche of negativity and ugliness that they feel compelled to follow. This is not an excuse or an explanation but human nature.
The harm is done, the perpetrators scattered, and a family left to mourn. There are evil people in this world but there are also those who get sucked into situations where they don’t belong… Carson didn’t have to die. Carson shouldn’t have died.
Tell your kid flat out—if that little itch tells something doesn’t feel right–get out. Exit the situation however you can and then turn and run—period. Don’t look back, don’t stop—run for help. That itch is like a tap on the shoulder that can save a life.
When to get out: Listen to your gut. Feel free to blame Auntie or Mom–they need you. If you see any situation that niggles at your subconscious then you know what you need to do.
Parents: Sit down and talk to your kids. Make a plan. Tell your young person to run like hell if they’re in a similar situation. If “friends are picking on someone–get help. If so-called friends want you to ingest something–get help. The smartest thing is to exit the situation.
There is help through Bullying Canada. To talk or text: 877-352-4497 or email: Support@BullyingCanada.ca