A boy from Sydney, Australia has gone from victim to Internet hero practically overnight. A recently posted video shows the 16-year-old Casey Heynes absorbing abuse from a much smaller (and younger) bully before finally snapping, lifting the other boy in the air and slamming him to the concrete -- hard. The footage has made the rounds not only online, but onto mainstream media news shows in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. While the school disapproved of the retaliations and suspended both students, the "victim" has become an online hero to others who have suffered at the hands of bullies. The video has spawned a Street Fighter remix (dubbing the "hero" Little Zangief) and seen Casey turned into the Hulk by the Taiwanese computer animators at the infamous NMA News. On Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, he has been applauded for turning the tables on his tormentor.
While it's always gratifying to see someone get their comeuppance, the video makes us a tad uneasy. It's hard to ignore the fact that Casey is four years older than the bully he takes out, and almost twice his size. Sure, fighting back against constant mocking and physical assaults is an understandable impulse for many of us, but it's hard to call body-slamming a 12-year-old heroic.