Yesterday, I saw something that was pretty damn upsetting. It was an assault that took place at a Canadian gym.
Now, normally, I don’t pay that much attention to what happens up in Canada. I don’t like it when non-Americans interject their opinions on American topics, so I try to return the favor.
That said, Canada and the United States are pretty close to one another in a cultural sense, so this video shows an adult assaulting a teen lifter doing deadlifts, then being kicked out by the attacker who doesn’t appear to be a staff member of the gym. (Langauge warning)
Now, let’s take a look at a few things. First, deadlifts are forbidden at many gyms, so yes, it was possible that this is one of those gyms. Theoretically.
However, Generation Iron reports that the young man was actually complying with the rules laid out for him on deadlifts in the first place. In other words, he was doing as he was told and there were no grounds for anyone to kick him out.
Generation Iron also notes that the individual ejecting the young man isn’t gym staff. He’s just a patron, therefore has no special standing in the gym that allows him to kick anyone out.
Even if he did, the assault that takes place is out of line no matter what.
So why did it happen?
The reason is that Old Boy there, as I’ve decided to refer to him as, figured that the rules of society would, ultimately, protect him.
Now, I’m not talking about the law. The young man, whose name is Charles, reports that the police have been notified and are investigating. This looks like a very clearcut case of assault, one that could have resulted in some nasty injuries since Charles was using lifting straps when the bar was kicked.
Old Boy is probably going to get to wear those bracelets police have for their special friends, if you know what I mean.
So the law won’t actually protect him. However, society’s rules and society’s laws are different.
Among the rules we see being pushed down people’s throats these days is that fighting is wrong, that one should always walk away from an altercation if at all possible.
Right or wrong, that’s what people like Charles have heard their entire life. They’ve heard it at school and probably at home for most of their lives. They’ve had their peers even start it by telling them responding to violence with violence “isn’t worth it.”
In fairness, sometimes it’s not.
But people have long since embraced the idea that “violence doesn’t solve anything” and internalized it. I don’t know that Charles has, mind you–I don’t know the kid, so I can’t say–but I have every reason to believe that Old Boy there knows how many people have and simply saw Charles as easy pickings.
How many people has he done similar things to? How many people has he bullied and terrorized? I ask because that’s what we see in that video. We see a “man” who is used to having his way in the world and getting it by pushing people around.
The rules of society mean nothing to a person like him. Despite having no standing in the gym, he assaulted a young man then ordered the kid to vacate the premises despite the rules of society saying that’s not his place. We have a “man” who assaulted and tried to intimidate a young man for doing something the “man” didn’t like, despite the rules of society dictating that problems should be taken to management.
The assault alone proves that Old Boy isn’t fond of the rules of society anyway.
There are people like him in every town and community across the world. They believe the rules of society aren’t just something to be broken, but also something to be capitalized on.
Old Boy assaulted Charles not just because he didn’t like what Charles was doing, but because he figured Charles was too indoctrinated by society to fight back.
People like him often count on the rules to protect them. It’s like the bully who pushes and pushes, knowing that the moment you throw a punch, the principal will punish you for it.
Robert E. Howard once noted, “Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.”
In other words, Old Boy was counting on “civilization” to protect him, and I’d say that it did.
Am I saying that Charles should have been more barbarian?
Well, that’s a different topic for another day. After all, Charles may have gotten into it with Old Boy and might even have been able to take him. Then again, Charles may have also seen Old Boy’s buddy off to the side and figured he’d have to deal with two people. In other words, I’m not about to say Charles should have done anything other than what he did.
But the problem is clear. Old Boy felt way too comfortable in exerting his will through force. I suspect that if one were to delve deep enough into his past, you’d find a history of things like this.
And the rules of society have protected him.
I seriously doubt that Old Boy would be pulling this stuff if he thought for an instant that Charles would beat him down. I don’t think he’d have done this in the old days when such an act could result in a duel. I don’t think he’d have done this if he’d thought for one instant that he’d face immediate and abrupt ramifications of his actions.
Old Boy here isn’t acting very civilized, but instead, he’s a predator to appears to capitalize on people who do.
Now, how do we fix it?
That’s a question I can’t give you a specific answer to. After all, it’ll take a major cultural shift that I’m not sure our society has the ability or desire to implement.