Do me a favor y’all. If you ever have a guy in your life injure themselves via punching a wall (or any other hard surface), please… please, do not call them “stupid” or any other such synonym.
It may be tempting to laugh and call them a dumbass or an idiot because obviously punching brick or stone will not hurt the surface, but would injure the limb instead. It’s just common sense, right?
The thing is, when a guy (or even girl – they do it too, just not as often) punches a wall he’s not utilizing his common sense; he’s not really thinking at all. Sometimes they might have just enough control to be able to think they should hit some THING instead of some PERSON…. And that’s not a stupid thought. Sometimes they don’t have the time to think, it just happens as an act of rage or desperation. If he can’t think first, how can that be a stupid thought?
Leroy hasn’t told many people this – honestly not sure if he’s told anyone but me and one other friend – but he told me at the time he broke his hand he felt a “white hot rage” and “couldn’t think.” Yet he’s been bearing people laughing at him and calling him “stupid” for doing it.
This weekend I heard another person laugh and call him stupid. He wasn’t there, but the person relayed it as what she already said to him. That was the last straw for me – I’ve been listening to it all week around him… and who knows how many times he heard it when I wasn’t there. I know these people don’t have ill intent; it’s probably difficult to get past the first impression of a situation – especially if you haven’t dealt with this kind of situation before.
I messaged him later and told him it was bothering me and I just wanted him to know I don’t think he’s stupid. He’s had enough of important people in his life saying he’s not smart – he doesn’t need it from everyone else now.
He answered back his thanks and that he had started to believe it
“Don’t let anyone make you believe you’re stupid, Leroy. You most certainly are not. Punching that wall was not a conscious decision… So how could it be stupid?”
I also sent a blanket statement to some of these people that are related to our cadet program – the other officers. Basically I felt the need to school them on it – without giving details specific to Leroy’s case, of course. So this is what I said:
“When I said last night to a couple of you that Leroy’s injury didn’t surprise me that’s because hand injuries from punching walls are one of the top injuries in males 15-25… Though I’ve seen older males do it too… even women. I myself punched a brick wall at 16… Luckily my punch wasn’t as powerful… Anyway, I couldn’t find exact statistics, but if you look for yourself – just about every article you find about “boxers fracture” mentions hitting walls. It’s that common. Basically when someone gets to that point, it is in the midst of a rage. They lose control, and it’s lucky they have the control to even hit an object rather than a person. Often desperate and just need to channel the anger somewhere. All that being said… I would appreciate it if we could all make sure not to tell Leroy (or any other youth this may happen to in the future) that punching the wall was “stupid.” He already knows it was not obviously a smart thing to do… but it wasn’t actually a conscious choice either. Thanks guys.”
So far the people it was primarily directed at haven’t seen it yet. I hope they see it before they see him tonight.
I hope that people see this message – enough so that we can start changing this kind of mindset. Our youth are not stupid when they injure themselves like this. Our youth are not stupid when they have emotional issues or self-harm. If a guy you know has hurt himself punching a wall, he has enough he’s dealing with without having to be made to feel the idiot.