While I'm away, readers give the advice.
On witnessing an act of cruelty:
I was bullied viciously through most of my childhood. My parents assumed it was my fault and punished me rather than helping. The neighbors and most teachers saw it as just the way kids are.
That was just how life was until eighth grade, when the assistant principal, a big man who inspired both respect and fear in the students, happened to see me attacked, and reacted with rage toward my attackers, and at the same time, great gentleness and kindness toward me.
He was, of course, in a position to put an end to my troubles, at least while I was at school, and he made it his business to see that I was safe and treated with compassion and understanding while I worked to heal deep wounds and learn to fit in.
More importantly to me, however, was that he was the first person in my life who showed me that I had value, that I did not deserve this, that I was not somehow innately bad. I am sure he forgot all about me by the end of summer break, and never realized the gift he gave me, but in standing up for me that day, he changed my life forever, and I will always be so very grateful. I would like to ask everyone, please, to recognize they have the power to make that kind of difference in another person's life by choosing to stand up for what is right.
On concerns that secrets aren't possible given Facebook:
Someone wrote in your June 20 chat (http://wapo.st/1pR9Hxb) that his/her group of friends couldn't exclude a toxic friend from their vacation plans, saying, "Sorry, can't do that — (we're) all Facebook friends." When the topic of Facebook as modern life's unquestioned puppeteer comes up again — and it will — you could mention the following: They don't have to tell all their business on Facebook
Let us reclaim the notion of privacy and discretion. I promise, we'll continue to exist.
In Facebook We Must