The Story of Bob: synergy and choices 

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Hutchison tells the students about synergy and group dynamics, in which the power of a group is greater than the sum of its parts. She compared it to team sports, in which a group of players exceeds the success they could contemplate as individuals.

"But synergy can also be a bad thing," she said, pointing out the frightening consequences of a "mob mentality."

"When you get a group together – then add alcohol and drugs – you are dealing with the substances rather than the individuals," she said.

"There was a negativity in the mood at this party and it caught on like wildfire, creating a synergy of silence."

She said she thinks young people were pressured and bullied into not standing up for what they really believe in.

"I also believe society has created a generation which is almost totally desensitized to violence," citing video games, movies, television and other forms of entertainment.

She talked about what students will see at parties, from alcohol and drugs to rapes and catastrophic property damage, explaining that they and their parents can be held legally responsible for any activities which take place in their homes.

"Don’t put pressure on your friends whose parents aren’t home to have parties," she urged.

"And if you’re hosting a party, have a plan. Have a start and finish time, have a plan in advance of what you are going to do about uninvited guests. If somebody comes to your house drunk or high, you’ve got to get them home safely."

She stressed the need for safe parties, and for an immediate call to 911 if anything goes wrong.

"Did Bob do the right thing?" she asked. "I like to think so. But when you’re dealing with a group involving alcohol and drugs, you’re not dealing with your friends or your friends’ kids.

"The kids in that house felt entitled to have a party there, and made some grossly bad decisions because they were caught up in a group dynamic of anger. If Bob had called 911, I wouldn’t be here.

"We all have choices, we have to exercise our choice to react from our heart and our gut. Your group has the ability to resist peer pressure to engage in high-risk behaviour. Let’s not waste another life, and remember the Story of Bob."

Hutchison estimates she has already told The Story of Bob to 10,000 students in the Lower Mainland, and requests are coming in daily from as far away as Saskatchewan. An educational video and documentary are in the works.

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