The incident sent us on a search for discussions of bullying. There's a lot of material available, so this isn't meant to be a comprehensive sifting of available sources ... just a sampling.
Kind of like the way this guy lays it out:
If you find yourself being bullied by someone, the first thing you should do is assess whether or not this person is insane. Insane people thrive on conflict, and there's nothing to be gained by standing up to them. (I'm using insane in the colloquial sense, to describe people with poor social skills, not to signify people with real mental illness.) If the bully is not insane, stand up to them. Scare them senseless, if at all possible. Give them an icy stare and raise your voice, if necessary. I've done this with a few co-workers over the years, and it works extremely well. If the person is insane, they will welcome your hostility and become even more obnoxious. Avoid these people entirely.... [Jonathan Young]People are not born bullies, supposedly, but some learn at an early age that they can get away with it, and even get what they want. Once a pattern of bullying sets in, it often lasts a lifetime.
Bullying also appears to be linked to plain old garden-variety prejudice. Came across this quote from Clint Eastwood:
I'm interested in the fact that the less secure a man is, the more likely he is to have extreme prejudice.That's something to conjure on, for a fortnight at least.