I was a small boy at high school, so small I was an easy target for bullies. All us small boys and very large (read fat) boys were. The school was a boys school, high on academia, and high on sporting prowess. Us smallies and fatties were fair game as we didn't really excel at either.
And as The Bullied, we tended to gravitate in groups of that ilk. I first met this large oafish happy go lucky boy in my 3rd form class. We were both the targets of bullies and we tended to spend more time together trying to escape our fate. This lead to a friendship that was to last nearly 2 years. We spent time at each others houses after school dreaming of what could be. As I said, he was a large fellow and he tended to be able to do things only older schoolboys in uniform could do, including going to secondhand bookshops and buying adult magazines. He introduced me to Playboy and Penthouse at the age of 13. No we weren't sexually active, neither of us had girlfriends and neither of us were popular, so the glossy pages were to form the basis of small teenage fantasies.
It's fair to say we were friends, but how far would friends go to protect each other from the bullies at school?? Over that two year period I saw things that made me cringe. I was bullied but could take it, he on the other hand was very sensitive to his bullying and on many occasions I saw him cry as a result of the taunts leveled at him. But he also had escape mechanisms in place. Another fantasy world - The Scouts. All the negative energy that was leveled at him in school was then channeled into a fairly successful acting career and leadership in the Scouting movement, including Gang Shows. And that also spilled onto his life at school and toughened him up when dealing with bullies. He didn't fight back, but he did learn how to evade or dismiss what happened to him.
In the 4th form as our paths spread in different directions (I was by now in a group of small boys that fought back) I saw one incident that not only made me feel pity for him, but also showed that I was morally scared of helping him. One lunch time on a very hot summers day I was transiting between buildings at school and saw a figure lying prostrate on the ground at the end of one building and immediately saw it was him. His ankles were chained with bike chains to the bars at the end of the building and he was reaching out for something. He was blubbering like a baby. As I neared I saw a key about 6 inches out of reach of his outstretched hand and knew that he had been got badly. I naturally moved towards the key to give it to him then saw out of the corner of my eye a group of 5th formers milling around between the buildings laughing and cajoling each other. As I was now not a target of theirs I decided to move on and as I passed him I said "Sorry mate, can't help.
That was the last thing I remember about this boy at school as we went separate classes and separate ways in life. Until the year 2000. I was nearing the end of a successful 27 year naval career and happened to be home one night when I heard about the double murder in Palmerston North and the names rung a bell. I didn't really follow the case until September 2000 when I saw this now man at his family burial. I, like a lot of people, were saddened by this case, but what struck me most was the pathetic act this man put on at that funeral. Previously my gut instinct had said that there was no way this man could ethically or physically do such an act. But those funeral images cemented in me the figure I saw lying between those buildings long ago. A sad pathetic man and a man who could channel negativity into seemingly obvious outpourings.
In same ways yes I do. He was horribly tormented at school. If anything the blood on Mark Lundy's hands are not just on his hands but on the hands of all the bullies that that drove him to the life he made based on the cards he was dealt. But murder isn't a path to redemption. Murder is wrong and no matter how far down the bully road you go, the choices you make are your choices rightfully or wrongfully. Yes I felt compassion for him when the news first broke, losing his family, yes that compassion waned when I saw the funeral scenes but I guess their is still compassion otherwise I wouldn't be writing this. But only some. I don't condone murder no matter the reason, and I do feel more compassion, as I stated, towards the family of Christine and Amber these days, but I also think there is a message here that needs to get out there.
Bullying has to stop. Yes it is human nature to weed out the weak, make fun of them, and drive them into a corner, but seriously how many murderers or perpetrators of serious crime in this country have been down the Lundy road? Nigel Latta's Beyond The Darklands .tackles this area and are worth the watch. So this missive then is a plea for all parents of children that bully and are bullied to stand up and be counted for. If you can stop something you might just be saving money and time in the legal process down-track. And you might be saving someones life!