We read and hear much today about bullying by both girls and boys. Bullying has always been around, but today it is so vicious and has led to deaths.

Why are young people (and adults for that matter) so violent and put no value on life?

When we were in school, lower grades, bullying was present and for boys matters were settled on the playground, nothing vicious, mostly wrestling. Girls today like to use the Internet to bully but years ago it may have been a matter of just snubbing each other, or something like that (this writer really doesn’t know what the girls did, but we’ve been told they could be nasty and sneaky).

This past week we learned of one of the most vicious acts of bullying we’ve ever heard of. A Missouri teenager poured gasoline on another child, set him on fire and laughed. The victim survived. He has first- and second-degree burns on his face, one arm and burns in his nose and throat from inhaling the flames. The 17-year-old who attacked the other boy had bullied him in the past and had threatened to kill him. The teen has been charged and is being held in jail, with bond set at $150,000. The attack happened in western Missouri.

We’ve talked to people to hear their opinions on bullying today. Some blame the violent acts because there is so much of it on television. Others point to the Internet, along with television. The uncontrolled Internet has been a tool for violence. We all are aware of bullying on the Internet that has caused girls to commit suicide.

A question that keeps coming up is do children today have a more difficult time handling bullying? If so, why?

There are more “tools” in this electronic age to use in bullying.

Schools have to deal with bullying. It’s a problem in many schools.

There is a lack of respect today for the other person. We don’t know exactly when it began. The casual attitude toward people in authority is bothersome. At one time children and teens usually would address an adult as Mr. or Mrs. or Miss. Now, too, often they call an adult by their first names. We remember well in high school a student in the gym who addressed the coach by his last name. The coach kicked the boy out of the gym and told him not to come back until he learned to address him as Mr. or coach. That type of discipline has been lost in dealing with teens.

We remember the day when a high school principal always addressed the superintendent as Mr. even though they worked side by side most of the time. It was respect for the position of the superintendent.

The military does an excellent job of training young men and women to respect rank.

Today we are too casual in our dress and in how we speak to others. We’ve lost civility.

Bullying is an act of a lack of respect for the other person. When violence accompanies bullying, it can be a criminal act and it always is a lack of respect for life.