The Mean Boy Who Grew Into a Shallow Man

By Charles Blow
New York Times (5/11/12)

Mitt the menace.

That’s the image that emerged of a high-school-aged Mitt Romney from a Washington Post article this week that recounted allegations of his mean and even violent behavior as a prep school student in Michigan.

The allegations include shouting “atta girl!” when a “closeted gay student” spoke out in class and walking a blind teacher into a closed door after which Romney is reported to have “giggled hysterically.”

But nothing is more disturbing than an alleged attack on John Lauber, “a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney” who “was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality.”

Lauber bleached his hair, which apparently “incensed” Romney.

This would have been an amazing teaching moment about the impact of bullying if Romney had seized it. That is what a real leader would have done. That is what we would expect any adult to do.

 

So one day Romney reportedly led a “posse” of other boys “shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair.” According to the article, the boys came upon Lauber, “tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.”

One of the boys involved described Lauber as “terrified.” Another schoolmate said that Lauber was “just easy pickin’s.” Another called the incident “vicious.”

In an interview with Fox Radio on Thursday, Romney laughed as he said that he didn’t remember the incident, although he acknowledged that “back in high school, you know, I, I did some dumb things. And if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize.” He continued, “I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school, and some might have gone too far. And, for that, I apologize.”

There is so much wrong with Romney’s response that I hardly know where to start.

But let’s start here: If the haircutting incident happened as described, it’s not a prank or hijinks or even simple bullying. It’s an assault.

Second, honorable men don’t chuckle at cruelty …

Read the Rest: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/12/opinion/blow-mean-boys.html?ref=opinion#

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