Have you ever thought about tracking down someone who bullied you when you were a child? Allen Kurzweil thought about it and actually confronted him. We'll hear his story in this hour as we explore the bullying epidemic. Also, we'll find out how the Internet has transformed bullying into a relentless, never-ending 24/7 online phenomenon -- cyberbullying. And maybe it's time to find a new way to think about bullying.
If you've ever been bullied, you've probably had revenge fantasies. But you probably haven't taken it to the extreme that Allen Kurzweil has. He actually tracked down his childhood bully. He writes about his experience in "Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully."
Kids now have the digital technology to bully other kids outside of school, on evenings and weekends. It's called cyberbullying. As many as 25 percent of teenagers have been the victims of cyberbullying, according to one study. And those teens are most likely to say they've thought of suicide. Emily Bazelon talks about how cyberbullying has changed bullying.
Maybe one of the reasons that bullying is so out of control is that we're not thinking about it the right way. Charles Derber says that we think of bullying as a personal problem but that it's actually a public issue that starts at the top because it's baked into the DNA of America's huge corporations and the military.
This hour we're talking about bullies, and you could make the case that the Soviet dictator Stalin was the ulmitate bully. He not only jailed and killed his enemies; he also terrorized Russians who weren't involved in politics, like writers and artists. One of the most famous examples was the great Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. He spent much of his life worrying that the secret police would haul him off to the gulag. Or kill him. Shostakovich's life is now the subject of a new novel by the acclaimed English writer Julian Barnes. It's called "The Noise of Time."