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How Kindness May Have Made Murdered Teen a Target

Last week, a young teen named Derrion Albert was savagely beaten, stomped on the head and hit with a railroad tie until he died.

A video was made of the entire attack, which news reports are now stating was between two rival gang factions from the same part of the South Side of Chicago.

As horrible and graphic as the video is, it was a blessing that someone filmed it because it led to the capture of the boys who killed young Derrion who, by all accounts, was a "sweet boy", a "ladies man", and an honor student who came home every day by 3:15 pm and went to work on his computer.

Further reporting paints a picture that young Derrion was guilty of nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, caught up in the fight between the two rival gangs.

Community leaders, talking heads and more are all doing their normal dance with this incident, citing their "outrage" at this horrible event; how our young people are killing each other, how economic conditions are a contributing factor, that these kids are poor and that is part of the reason they acted out like this, etc.etc.

While they sound great on the television or in the printed media, all their bellyaching, condemning and hand wringing doesn't do a thing to help kids or adults in the future that may come across a situation like this.

So – let's do what they ARE NOT doing – and look at the lessons that CAN be learned.

There are more lessons in this terrible incident than I have time to cover in just this post, so I want to point out the first and most obvious lesson that jumps out at me after almost twenty years of experience in the Marines, in the martial arts and dealing with people…

When it comes to predators, bullies or people who are in a violent mindset, they select their targets by who appears the weakest or "nicest" target or the most clueless as to what is going on.

Sadly, reports are saying Derrion fell into that category.

Derrion had reportedly been bullied before.  He was a small child and known to be very sweet and kind.  He was physically slight of build.

He fit the profile of an easy target and on top of all of that, he wandered into a combat/violent situation without even realizing he was in danger.  It seems like by the time he knew he was in trouble, it was too late.

We live in a world were bullying and violence exist.  The bullying and violence can start off non-physical; verbal and emotional abuse, head games, power trips, intimidation, manipulation and so on, before it escalates into a physical confrontation.

Bullies, predators and criminals "interview" their targets every step of the way, starting with the non-physical interviews and escalating at each level.  If you flunk any part of the interview, they escalate to the next level.

Because violent people operate from a different set of rules, when someone who is NOT familiar with the energy, fear and dynamics of violence finds themselves a target or in a violent situation, they hesitate.

They freeze.  They say things to themselves like, "This can't be happening" or "What did I do to these people".  They think that if they roll over and "play dead" or just pretend not to see or notice what is happening that the bad guys won't hurt them.

Unfortunately, that is how bad guys mistake kindness for weakness, and that is how you can get yourself selected as a target and not even know it.

Derrion was a sweet boy who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, without the knowledge or tools to react properly to the situation – and it cost him his life.

I can't say that if Derrion had any sort of martial arts training that he would have been able to protect himself; multiple attacker situations are tough to handle, even for an expert in hand-to-hand combat.

I can say, without any doubt, that he would have benefited from some of the principles taught in the martial arts, as well as the "Bully Proof Kids" course.

Being able to recognize danger and react properly – before you are caught in a violent situation – is one of the key principles to staying safe.  Recognizing when you are already IN a dangerous situation and reacting accordingly is another.

As a Dad-to-be, victim of bullying, veteran of the Marines and nineteen year practicioner and teacher of the martial arts, I know that while I DO NOT want my child being the bully, walking around kicking other kids in the shins or acting like a "Tough Guy" – I also accept the harsh reality that my child MUST have the ability to recognize danger, recognize if they are being selected as a target and the WILLINGNESS to stand up and ACT – even in the face of violence, when they are scared to death.

It's time to stop blaming, condemning, wondering why these senseless things happen, looking to the school systems, politicians or authorities to do something to protect ourselves and our children.

It is up to us to give our children the training and tools to protect themselves.  That is why I put together the course, "Bully Proof Kids" and why there are more projects coming at http://www.bullyproofkids.com.

Let's do our part to make sure that none of our children get caught in a situation like young Derrion, God rest his soul.

To you and your family's best,

Sensei Harrison Huff

P.S. – For more information on How to Bully Proof Your Child, go to http://www.bullyproofkids.com today.

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