The Instigator
Go4thegold
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Peili
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Bullying Should be a Crime

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/3/2015 Category: People
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 633 times Debate No: 76136
Debate Rounds (4)
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Go4thegold

Pro

I will argue that bullying should be a crime. My opponent will argue otherwise. Both sides will be expected to back up their positions with facts and evidence. For the purposes of this debate, bullying shall be defined as the deliberate causing of physical and/or emotional distress unto one person or group of persons.

The debate will be structured as follows:

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening Arguments
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Conclusions
Peili

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Go4thegold

Pro

Go4thegold forfeited this round.
Peili

Con

Pro forfeited, so I will put my argument simply and see if pro returns.

"Bullying" is too broad of a term to create specific laws about it. Saying, "I don"t like you" can cause emotional distress. Making an annoying sound towards someone while walking down the street can cause emotional distress. Physically attacking someone to the point that they end up in the hospital can cause distress. The third of these is a crime (assault and battery), but the first two are not. However, they can all be considered "bullying."

It is better to keep the laws as they are. Crimes (such as assault, theft, or disturbing the peace) should be treated as crimes. Other forms of "bullying" (such as unkind words) should be handled by the school system and not the legal system. When bullying is done by adults " yes, that happens " then the bully should be ignored or ridiculed for his inability to grow up.

I consider all forms of bullying to be immoral acts which should be stopped as much as possible, there is a valid distinction between immoral and illegal actions.
Debate Round No. 2
Go4thegold

Pro

First of all, I want to apologize about forfeiting the first round, I was unable to get online due to a number of external factors (work, family commitments). Now my opponent has falsely equivocated simple acts such as someone saying "I don't like you" or making annoying sounds towards someone, with continuously using homophobic or ethnic slurs, sending threats of physical harm, whether they be legitimate or otherwise, or deliberately mistreating other people to elicit an emotional response from them. Such actions have real effects on the victims that have been objectively measured by outside groups to determine the extent of the issues facing many individuals who are affected by bullying. For example, victims of bullying are roughly two to nine times more likely to commit suicide than non-victims, in fact, a study from Great Britain found that roughly half of all suicides among young people are related to bullying. Another separate study concluded that some of the long-term effects of bullying included lingering feelings of bitterness and anger towards people who were bullies toward other people, decreased social interactions, difficulty trusting new people, and increased social isolation.

My opponent argues that bullying is an issue that should be handled by school administrators for younger individuals, and older individuals who partake in such activities should be ridiculed, however, the evidence shows that bullying is a much more serious problem with far reaching implications, and victims of bullying experience negative effects years after such bullying has stopped. It is for these reasons that more serious actions should be taken against bullying, and making it a crime is one of many actions that should be taken to address the problem of bullying.
Peili

Con

I"m glad Pro was able to return to this debate. Let"s look at his arguments.

Pray said that I have "falsely equivocated simple acts such as someone saying "I don't like you" or making annoying sounds towards someone, with continuously using homophobic or ethnic slurs, sending threats of physical harm, whether they be legitimate or otherwise, or deliberately mistreating other people to elicit an emotional response from them."

I have made no equivocation. These acts are different. However, they all fall under the title of "bullying." For instance, an annoying or offensive noise would certainly be a deliberate effort to "elicit and emotional response."

That remains the fundamental problem with outlawing bullying. The term covers a broad spectrum of actions. Laws must be concise. We outlaw specific actions, not general ideas. Bullying is not precise enough of a term to outlaw it.

Let me explain this with an example that Pro used. Pro advocates outlawing "sending threats of physical harm, whether they be legitimate or otherwise." Okay, this would mean that any threat of harm would be a crime. So in any circumstance when a person says, "I"m going to kill you," that would be a crime. Right off that is problematic since we can all imagine circumstances when such a phrase is meant in jest, but Pro advocates outlawing it even if the threat is not legitimate. But let"s take this farther.

What if I don"t say, "I"m going to kill you"? Instead, I could make a menacing expression and point my finger like a gun as if I were going to shoot someone. That would obviously be a threat as well, so that would be illegal.

What if I don"t use my hand? Facial expressions and body language can clearly indicate a threat. So that would be a crime.

What if I just think angry thoughts? I don"t have much of a poker face. My expressions tend to reveal what I am thinking. So will we outlaw angry thoughts as well? Are we going to have Orwellian-style thought crimes?

This helps illustrate the problem with outlawing "bullying." Yes, it is a serious problem in society. However, the term is too vague to make into a crime. Specific actions which fall under the category of bullying could be outlawed, but bullying on the whole is too broad of a concept to pass a law against it.
Debate Round No. 3
Go4thegold

Pro

Firstly, it seems that my opponent has failed to grasp the issue at hand here, and in trying to make a point, has straw-maned the issue. Victims of bullying often suffer from psychological issues even after the bullying has stopped, In fact, what bullying is is simply a form of abuse for its victims. Furthermore, bullying is a leading cause of suicide among young people, with some sources in the UK reporting that at least half of all suicides among young people are related to bullying. (Sources linked below)

I will not try to argue morality here, as morality is dependent upon the individual, however, based on objective facts, it is quite clear that bullying causes measurable damage to its victims, and as a result, should be outlawed.

Sources:
http://www.aaets.org...
http://www.bullyingstatistics.org...
Peili

Con

Throughout this debate Pro has persistently failed to address what I have pointed out as the central reason why we cannot making bullying a crime. The term "bullying" is too vague of a term and it can include too many different types of actions.

Some actions which we call bullying should be, and often are, crimes. However, so many different actions can fall under the title of "bullying" that there is no practical way to outlaw bullying on the whole.

I do not deny that bullying is a problem in society which harms many individuals. We should outlaw certain types of bullying. We should individually make efforts to reducing all forms of bullying. We cannot outlaw bullying as a concept. So many different types of action fall under the title of "bullying" that there is no way to outlaw bullying on the whole.
Debate Round No. 4
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