June 21, 2012

"Why are people giving money to bullied bus monitor?"

Asks Paul Farhi about "this week's viral video sensation," Karen Klein, whose ordeal has inspired people to hand over what has now totaled up to over $250,00.
Perhaps the Internet, and a few political fundraising cycles, have taught Americans to transform sympathy, support and revulsion into transferable dollars. George Zimmerman certainly found that out when his defense fund began brimming over with contributions.
Money is an amazing substance! It's very easy to give, and it's so highly appreciated. What's the problem?

Assuming there is a problem, one might say it's that the money people feel moved to give isn't evenly distributed in proportion to how well deserved it is. The apportionment is too emotional, too dependent on the vagaries of video and viral pathways.

Or one could say that the money does nothing to fix the problem that is represented by the one instance that got our attention. Now that Klein is a very lucky victim, her tormenters are off the hook. We can laugh. They unwittingly benefited her! They don't have to cough up the $250,000 that we might imagine she could win in damages in a tort case. They made her a star and her fans got a little psychic thrill out of paying the damages. We're all square now. Everybody's a winner.

ADDED: The young man who started the fundraising effort for Klein is now the beneficiary of a fundraising effort on his behalf, launched by somebody else, who thinks he deserves compensation.

88 comments:

cassandra lite said...

Or...giving money is a way to say fuck off to those little twerps.

cassandra lite said...

The next bus monitor, now that Mrs. Klein is gone, will be a lot more like Lee Ermey. Ha!

Jason (the commenter) said...

Everybody's a winner.

Clearly Althouse has learned nothing from this story. She needs to point out how she's a victim, and ask for money.

rhhardin said...

Bully pulpit and offering.

Jay said...

I donated and the donations are over $376,000.

I can't even image what would have happened to those kids if I were on that bus...

wyo sis said...

When I saw this last night my first impulse was to wish her enough money to retire and not have to do that thankless job anymore. I wouldn't give money to her for the reasons mentioned. I know many people who do thankless demeaning jobs well into their retirement years, some of them are in my family. What I wish is that people would honor the work that people do to support themselves.
The money gifts, in a way, take the kids off the hook, because they are responsible for the incident that brought her the money. I suspect some of them might rationalize it just that way. I also have had 20 years of experience with 10-13 year old kids in school, and I know this behavior is extreme, but not unheard of anywhere you find them. I've never heard anything this bad, and not toward an adult, but the way the behaviors escalate and the way the kids support each others worsening behavior is very typical. From my experience, the bus monitor's acceptance of it is partially because she's had a long history with these behaviors, and partially because past incidents have not been dealt with. Children are very aware of just how far they can go without consequences.

Wally Kalbacken said...

You forgot to embed an Amazon link after the rhetorical "what's wrong with money?"

Bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leslyn said...

Non--if you didn't have insurance, take some freaking govt help. We paid taxes for it.

Otherwise try the Salvation Army'type stores. A lot of people have made a life from those.

Otherwise--I think you're a freakin' Moby. Or spammer.

ampersand said...

The real winners are the Federal government and New York State who get to extract the maximum tax rate to this instant 1 percenter.

leslyn said...

I didn't "get" this story. If she's a bus monitor, why didn't she monitor the bus? A bus monitor is supposed to prevent bullying, I would think.

I don't condone the kids' actions--they were inexcusable. And if people want to give her money, ok, --but what for? Is this a money problem? No. It's a behavior problem.

So send her on the "vacation of a lifetime" (if that's what actually happens) if you want, but I don't get the connection.

I bet she does something else with the money and then people get mad and want theirs back.

traditionalguy said...

She's a lovable soul. And the rare "reality "aspect of this pushes her Authenticity Quotient through the roof.

Religions businesses have seen Americans do this so often that they use it everyday.

Which reminds me that God loves a cheerful giver, and it is better to give than to recieve.

The old retiring Baby Boomers are going to do what the want with their money. That's exactly what has Obama/Pelosi mad as hell. They want to take that money NOW!

leslyn said...

"I think these kinds of incidents show the real possibilities of small-scale charity." Said Bob, who wants some.

They also show the real possibility of keeping the money for purposes for which it was never intended.

It was ever thus.

Browndog said...

Althouse's last paragraph is sarc/devil's advocacy-

In her attempts to always "instill thought" like everyone is in her class, gets tiresome.

She knows, as we all know--this is throwing money at an underlying issue--FIXED!

It is the liberal mentality that has been programmed in the minds of many-over generations.

The norm. If you doubt it, follow those kids to class, and listen to what their teachers say-what their parents say.

Those kids are victims-if only the evil republicans hadn't cut school funding, they'd act appropriately.

Think I'm wrong?

Who are you to judge?

Henry said...

Better $250K to a bus monitor that $112M to Justin Bieber.

Rusty said...

I bet she does something else with the money and then people get mad and want theirs back.



That's the thing about giving stuff away. Once you give it away it isn't yours. What she does with it is her business, not anybody elses.

Tom Spaulding said...

Everybody's a winner.

Hey, we should teach our kids that. Prizes for showing up, too. Then their self-esteem would be so high they could stop respecting adults and authority because.... THEY"RE SPECIAL!

leslyn said...

Henry said,

"Better $250K to a bus monitor that $112M to Justin Bieber."

Why? Bieber did something to earn it, whether or not you like him. And he did it to make money.

This is a lady who would be better served by a course in assertive behavior than by being rewarded for victimhood. She'll believe she should be rewarded for being a victim for the rest of her life.

edutcher said...

Maybe she'll use the money to hire a hit man to go after the little brats.

Or, better yet, the parents.

Tom Spaulding said...

She'll believe she should be rewarded for being a victim for the rest of her life.

Zombie Gaylord Nelson, call your office!

leslyn said...

How about she just stop being a bus monitor, and collect money because she's a bad bus monitor?

What do you call that?

What's different here?

Synova said...

I think that the answer is...

There is too much in the world that is too big.

When people have something small enough that they feel they can make a difference, they do that.

This may seem very small, but it's the same sort of thing when a baby falls down a well. People think, they can't save all the children in the world, but they can save *that* one. They can't stop the mean way people treat each other, salve all hurts in the world, but they can salve *that* one.

tiger said...

leslyn said...
Henry said,

"Better $250K to a bus monitor that $112M to Justin Bieber."

Why? Bieber did something to earn it, whether or not you like him. And he did it to make money.

This is a lady who would be better served by a course in assertive behavior than by being rewarded for victimhood. She'll believe she should be rewarded for being a victim for the rest of her life.


Really?
Considering your dislike for anyone with money (or is that only any consrvative with money?)for you to think that Beiber 'earned' his is confusing. But as I said your dislike for the rich is only for rich conservatives, not the rich as a class.

As for people giving this woman money: 1) it doesn't let all those pissant little farkers off of any hook. 2) People gave her money because it made them feel good about themeselves. If that's what it takes - shrug.

I'm surprised the amount is so much, when I read about this yesterday it was $26k.

ricpic said...

Schvartzes are so wonderful. The thing is, Althouse is completely safe from schvartzes, so it's all academic to her. But for me, there but for the Grace of God...

Kensington said...

She won the Internet lottery, and God bless her.

Give. Don't give. But this is, I think, one of those cases where the naysayers ought to just mind their own business.

I gave because I just loved being able to help transform something truly evil into something better. It's nice to be able to do that.

leslyn said...

Why is money the answer? How is that a "salve?" Wouldn't some good psychotherapy be better if we want to "fix" this woman?

The idea that money fixes non-monetary things--that's what I don't get.

It's built into our system and we fall for it even as we complain about it for someone else.

Synova said...

Hey.

Demanding that a solution be appropriate and *work* is only required of government programs funded with tax dollars. People can be as inappropriate with their own money as they they wish.

(I'm just kidding about government programs, we all know that no one ever seems to care if they're effective or not.)

Tom Spaulding said...

Since folks can't smack the Hell out of the punk kids, which is what they deserve, they give to the old lady who didn't deserve being treated like that.

Social Justice!

johnnymcguirk said...

There is a possibility this whole thing was staged to make $. Woulda been a great scam.

leslyn said...

Of course they can do what they want. And it's irrelevant to me what she does with the money. It's not my money.

It just seems the concept is weird.

Is this the new substitute for casseroles?

BarryD said...

I didn't give any money. Had someone taken up a collection to have all the kids spend a couple of weeks this Summer in Joe Arpaio's outdoor jail, and the school board and relevant administrators who set the bus monitor up for this fired and banned permanently from the profession, I'd have donated, though.

wyo sis said...

For the rest of her life?
She's on the edge of retirement, she's been a bus driver for over 20 years, her son killed himself. I suspect she's pretty realistic about what life brings.

BarryD said...

Maybe it's simpler...

Absolution of sins. Indulgences. That kind of stuff. :)

Palladian said...

Cool! The perfect thread in which to fundraise!

I've been a faithful commenter here at Althouse since 2005, providing unsolicited opinions, entertaining blather and occasional vitriol to anyone who cared to read it.

Recently I've become temporarily unemployed and have been sustaining myself with a few freelance jobs but it's very difficult this summer as many of you in a similar situation know.

Anyway, if you're rolling in dough and you like art, maybe you'll consider buying a drawing or a print of a drawing from my website. As an eclectic postmodern-type I have a little something for all tastes.

Thanks!

Pogo said...

Poor lady. Let her be. Them proto-assholes squished her like a bug, and now Paul Farhi wants to step on her one more time.

Crickey, but them boys do need to be slammed upside the haid a few times. Real hard-like. A few of them gonna turn out real evil.

Probably be Senators or DMV clerks.

Ralph L said...

The apportionment is too emotional, too dependent on the vagaries of video and viral pathways.
Don't forget vaginas. If she'd been a guy under 60, wouldn't most people think him contemptible or laughed at him?

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob said...

The same dynamic was in play when the families of 9/11 survivors were the beneficiaries of millions in compensation and gifts, far more than similarly situated victims of tragedies that occurred the day before or the day after but didn't kill thousands. Jack Kennedy was right: Life is unfair.

alan markus said...

Technology sure does make it easier to raise money. I remember the "Send me $5.00 and I'll give you instructions on how to make $5000" letter. Anyone who sent $5.00 got instructions back -"send this letter to 1000 people"

Rose said...

It will be interesting to see what she does. She seems overwhelmed, and definitely not used to the spotlight.

The kids? They should be bent over the table and paddled within an inch of their lives, publicly.

Lem said...

Bully pulpit and offering.

rh.. an internal vow.. not like Obama's

The intertubes brings people closer together.. and that's a good thing.

btw the intertubes have nothing to do with the Virgina Monologues.

SteveR said...

I hope she feels like a winner, or even a bit happy.

traditionalguy said...

Remember she is in a end of work skills trap.

She probably has some monthly FICA at 67, but not enough to live on. She is trapped into the Bus Monitor job like a clown in a dunk tank that these middle school creeps knew she could not risk losing if she defended her self and they dunk away.

This donation bonanza is just enough to keep her out of the Death Panel's grasp. She can buy a hand gun, take lessons and play James Bronson the next time she is attacked for being old and weak. Boy does that thought make Obama and Pelosi wet their pants.

Society that does not honor the elderly doesn't deserve to survive either.

caplight45 said...

I am a pastor in an abusive church. hey yell at me, call me names and are dangerous to my mental health. I desperately need to be placed in a foster church but the number of those needing foster churches is very large and I am on a waiting list for placement. If you could just give me money I would feel so much better (and yes, Jesus did say , "It is more blessed to give than to receive").

Crickets. Hello? Crickets.

OK, buy something from Palladian. At least you'll have the art to enjoy.

Jason (the commenter) said...

My thoughts on charity are this:

I once saw a man begging in China. He was sitting on the ground, had no legs, and was wearing only a rag. I didn't give him anything, so I'm certainly not going to give money to someone with first world problems.

But I do like to tip.

traditionalguy said...

Before signing off let me thank Our Professor for serving us up such good topics in the posts the last few days. You are amazing.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignorance is Bliss said...

ADDED: The young man who started the fundraising effort for Klein is now the beneficiary of a fundraising effort on his behalf, launched by somebody else, who thinks he deserves compensation.

I would like to announce that I am officially starting a fundraiser for the person who started the fundraiser for the fundraiser.

Synova said...

"Is this the new substitute for casseroles?"

Possibly.

Chip Ahoy said...

Wait wait wait, leslyn, did you bark off a guy named Non? There's a deleted right in front of your first comment. If so, way to go! * air high fives, air elbow bumps*

wyo sis said...

phx
But it's fun and sometimes intellectually stimulating. I, personally, like to hear other people's arguments and stories. I get a real kick out of Chip Ahoy, bagoh, and Pogo. I enjoy Crack's rants. I like hearing about people's lives. Yep, I'm just a prole, but I enjoy myself.

Chip S. said...

The real story of this thread is that some wingnut appears to have hacked leslyn's account.

kimsch said...

Assuming there is a problem, one might say it's that the money people feel moved to give isn't evenly distributed in proportion to how well deserved it is. The apportionment is too emotional, too dependent on the vagaries of video and viral pathways.

The problem is that people are distributing funds where they want to of their own free will. They are not being forced to distribute their wealth via taxes to the "right" people.

Those children shouldn't have been allowed back on a bus until they could learn some manners. I blame their parents for this. One dad was on GMA and said his kid has had enough punishment already. They've had "death threats," he said.

wv: 6 meenest

leslyn said...

I think a good denoument would be for her to take a chunk of the money, hire a good lawyer, and sue the parents of the children. What goes around comes around.

Children punished enough already? Weenies.

Michael K said...

I saw the video this evening. THose kids should be mowing her lawn and scrubbing her floors for a month. But they won't. If people want to send her money, it's OK with me.

Chip S. said...

Think about it--the kids taunted her in part for being poor. Now they can't.

If she had hired a lawyer, she'd have been criticized for overreacting to "kids being kids" and she'd have had to rehash an unpleasant event over and over again.

Now she can be serene and magnanimous--and quit her job. And the kids are notorious for being assholes.

Epic, epic win.

William said...

Later in life, I made some money on a few lucky bounces in the stock market. It was the only money that has ever came my way that wasn't based on the demeaning activity of work. It made me feel terrific. I was fortune's favorite. God loved me and wanted to recompense me for all the past injustices I suffered....Money is blessed in itself, but it is doubly blessed when it drops into your lap without effort or merit. A paltry paycheck at a wearying job makes you feel like a loser. But money that falls upon you strictly by happenstance makes you feel like a winner......This woman seems to have endured more than her fair share of life's indignities. She has now received far more financial recompense than the injuries deserved, but that's the point. Life is unfair, and now it is unfair in her favor. She gets the last laugh. Good.

wyo sis said...

The kid that talked about the knife is the one I'd most hope will get discipline or help of some kind.

MadisonMan said...

Nice work if you can get it.

Laura said...

So what's the contribution goal for her after-tax windfall?

sleepless nights said...

I've been following this from the first post two days ago on Reddit where it was frist posted. (I love reddit.)

The outrage and subsequent outlet for action really restored my faith in the essential goodness of humanity.

It's funny once the money went over 250K and it hit the mainstream people started to get bitchy here and there, but until then it was straight support.

Along the way Reddit got called "one of the moral centers of the internet" and "St. Peter of the internet" by Slate which isn't bad for a bunch of atheists who just want to be Good Guys.

sleepless nights said...

@Laura

The goal was originally $5K.

It's now up to 460K.

http://www.indiegogo.com/loveforkarenhklein

Most of it is in small amounts of approximately $20 (20K givers so far) so I don't even think anyone will owe gift tax. There are accountants there to advise, however, since this kind of thing happens quite often.

MayBee said...

I love it.

I also love the message it sends other middle schoolers: you aren't cool for being mean to older people. Try to learn empathy.

Baelzar said...

Money doesn't "fix" it; the only thing that would help fix it is illegal - the severe public beating of each of those little scumbags, and complete embarrassment of their parents, among other things (including sterilization).

Giving that poor lady money makes ME feel less powerless. So there.

Lem said...

After watching the video.. it should be patently obvious why people are sending this woman money..

A lot of the taunting had to do with her meager belongings.

Why should that even be a puzzle prompts me to ask.. did we all see the same fucking video?

WTF?

Lem said...

I mean, I initially passed on the video.. (so I know what I'm talking about ;).. you read a woman was bullied and people are sending her hundreds of thousands of dollars..

But when I saw the video..
It was not just a bullying..

So people thought.. what if this woman would never have to hear that kind of humiliation ever again?

Admirable.

Lem said...

btw.. for years I was taught by tv sitcom after tv sitcom that that behavior was a no no..

I dont understand wahts going on.

Rusty said...

Is this the new substitute for casseroles?



LOL. Looks like it doesn't it.


Not a very good advert for the school or the community.

Fprawl said...

Remember John Beresford Tipton, Jr.

You never know what a wad of money will do to you.

Jay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay said...

leslyn said...

Why is money the answer? How is that a "salve?" Wouldn't some good psychotherapy be better if we want to "fix" this woman


Idiot:
The woman had a tough day at her job and the idea was to send her on a vacation.

I know such this is such a complicated concept for your to grasp, but please try.

Fprawl said...

Hitler finds out a bunch of 7th graders torment a bus monitor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifyyPKNrDRM

Jay said...

tiger said...

Really?
Considering your dislike for anyone with money (or is that only any consrvative with money?)for you to think that Beiber 'earned' his is confusing. But as I said your dislike for the rich is only for rich conservatives, not the rich as a class


No, you see leslyn can't stand the idea of private charity.

If the government isn't doing the giving away of money, the effort is illegitimate.

EDH said...

Is it surprising these kids taunting her with the "healthy lifestyle information" that they have been indoctrinated with as part of the new curriculum in the schools?

Shanna said...

"Is this the new substitute for casseroles?"

Possibly.


You can't send a casserole through the mail to stranger, but money is always appreciated. I think people think, that sucks, let's send something to make her happy. Maybe she can retire now, or have the funds to go on a dream vacation or whatever to get over having to deal with awful, ill mannered children for so long.

For the record, I'll take 250k over a casserole any day.

Howard said...

$480k as of now. I'd be very curious as to whether or not she gets on the bus Monday. Torn between hoping she does and taunts their "broke-ass selves" and that she just fades away with the dignity she deserves after a lifetime of hard work. Either way, good for her, and good for people with a heart.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The real winners are the Federal government and New York State who get to extract the maximum tax rate to this instant 1 percenter.

Non taxable gifts. She isn't raising the money herself. The donations are 'gifts' and are not subject to income tax to the recipient.

You can give up to $13,000 annually (total amount). The donor, will pay the gift tax and in some circumstances will file a gift tax return.......but you don't usually do that until you die through your estate for the cumulative lifetime gifts. Most of us don't have to worry about it. Only people like Bunny Mellon do.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Clarification: You can give up to $13,000 annually (total amount) without paying taxes. Annual gift tax exclusion.

Is this the new substitute for casseroles?

Evidently. And...a lot less fattening with the plus that you don't have to wash the dish and return it.

Methadras said...

When I saw this video there was a welling of outrage in me that wanted to find each one of this pig fuckers and beat each and every one of them within an inch of their lives, while their parents watched as a reward for a job well done on their little pig fuckers. This is why beatings need to be re-instituted as a punishment for such behavior.

I wouldn't have dared speak this way to an adult like that when I was a kid. This is the direct outcome of the shift in child-centric non-discipline. That misbehavior cannot be corrected for fear of damaging the child. That putting undue power in children's hands has resulted in this. The woman was powerless to stop it even with a threat against them that she would name them to the principal for this because she knew it wouldn't go anywhere beyond the incident on the bus.

To make it worse most likely nothing will happen to these kids. Nothing outside of the coddling their parents are going to heap upon them. Oh sure, there are going to be faux gestures of discipline, but it doesn't compare to the sheer embarrassment and humiliation suffered by this woman for the whole world to see at the hands of their little pig fuckers.

leslyn said...

No, you see leslyn can't stand the idea of private charity.

For the record, I'm a strong believer in private charity. "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse...and test Me now in this, and see if I will not open out the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing." I and my family believe tithing makes us financially stable. But I think the lesson is more important; nothing "belongs" to me; I am just giving back a small portion of what I have received.

And also for the record, I don't dislike anyone who has money, just for having money. I'm rich myself.

leslyn said...

BarryD said... I didn't give any money. Had someone taken up a collection to have all the kids spend a couple of weeks this Summer in Joe Arpaio's outdoor jail, and the school board and relevant administrators who set the bus monitor up for this fired and banned permanently from the profession, I'd have donated, though. 6/21/12 8:55

I could get behind that. Just add that the parents have to go to Sheriff Joe's too. Just in a separate camp.

dreams said...

The problem with giving money to charities is that so little of the money gets to those that need it or where it does some good. The money is eaten up by expense paid two hour lunches at fine restaurants and other ways by liberals who like to feel good about themselves and also enjoy the good life while not having to work too hard. Liberals want to work for non profits, sure, why not.

I did some volunteer work after I retired and one day I heard the receptionist say something about her bosses taking their two hour lunches.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Publius the Clown said...

"The young man who started the fundraising effort for Klein is now the beneficiary of a fundraising effort on his behalf, launched by somebody else, who thinks he deserves compensation."

The fundraising itself has gone viral!

leslyn said...

Chip Ahoy said... "Wait wait wait, leslyn, did you bark off a guy named Non? There's a deleted right in front of your first comment. If so, way to go! * air high fives, air elbow bumps*"

Actually it was a guy named Bob. Apparently my autospeller didn't like him.

I enjoy your stuff Chip.

leslyn said...

@dreams: Many charities voluntarily publish their financial reports.

The Salvation Army does a fabulous job. After Katrina and in Haiti, they didn't wait for logistical supports and "organization" They just set up a table and tent and got to work. They don't give you a dose of religion unless you ask for it. And very low admin expenses, since many of their staff are volunteers. The Red Cross, by comparison, was way behind the curve.

Disclaimer: The Salvation Army is not one of my regular charities. But they're very reliable.

Nicole Pyles said...

It's the money donated that bothers me. And especially that money is donated to the person who set up the donation.

I'm just worried that what will happen is that people will use this situation will encourage others to set up sympathetic victims as a way for them to make money.

Note to self though - next time I'm getting insulted by someone, take out cell phone camera pronto.

ruzzel01 said...

Transformation is good. Much better i can say.


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