A Memoir by Mark Simon.
Attacked is my memoir of how my family and I fought extreme bullying and physical attacks. We defeated the asshole gang on our terms in court. I am the first person in the country to successfully use a law holding parents legally responsible for the violent actions of their kids.
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September, 1980. I was 16. I was attacked by a group of about thirty kids while I was sitting in my car at a bonfire party.
The story flashes back to the events leading up to the initial attack. My life had been a storybook existence of family closeness, laughter and joy. I worked hard running my father’s construction company job sites. I had an authoritative personality from bossing around construction men at an early age. And I didn’t take shit from anyone. That’s what started the problem.
The gang was used to total control in high school, and they lost that control with me. They were a dry tinder of short, angry tempers. My short stature and smart-ass attitude sparked the incendiary attacks on me, my family and anyone associated with me.
Steve and Perry, the leaders of the gang, spread their evil attacks far beyond just my family. They broke into the school to burn their records, broke the bones of kids who looked the wrong way at them, started brawls in restaurants and threw cinder blocks off freeway overpasses just for fun.
After the initial attack, the gang showed up at my house and physically assaulted my parents in our front yard.
Local Officer Ogden advised us to use the new law holding parents responsible for the delinquent actions of their kids. Judge McElroy set a date that week to officially warn all the families involved.
Being a target of the asshole gang turned me into a pariah at school with everyone, even friends, turning their backs on me. Except for one friend, Jim Irvine. Jim, who became my life-long best friend, stood by me and helped protect and patrol my home through long, late nights of intense fear.
I was hunted and attacked by the gang in school, on the roads, at parties, anywhere they could find me.
There were moments when I felt normal again until another attack broke me. I suffered a nervous breakdown and I made the call to have the gang leaders’ parents arrested.
Weeks of fear and other attacks passed before the court trial. One brazen beating by seven of the gang members at a party turned my fear into anger and I tried to hunt them down.
I entered the courtroom with a mix of anxious anticipation of winning and abject terror that it would just make things worse.
This is my story.
I really enjoyed your story. Being 53 to your 56, I related to the early eighties high school mentality you described. I think your book could be a great support and possible template regarding legal action for families dealing with extreme assault type bullying. Because those who carry out this kind of stuff know they are legally innocent until “proven” guilty, they are often good at walking that line carefully, and rarely get caught red handed. I’m glad you are sharing this. Many kids dealing with this kind of stuff are so alone, and no one at school steps up to support them out of fear. Good luck with this project.
Founder – BullyProofingYouth.com
I was bullied when I was a kid and I thought it was bad until I read what Mark went through in his memoir, Attacked. It was both frightening and uplifting. Mark’s story is powerful and so personal I felt like I was there. This is an important story on how to fight bullies. I want my kids to read this next.
Mark Simon’s book Attacked is a chillingly triumphant saga of a teen’s grit and guts staring down a group of relentless high-school-aged bullies. Although written autobiographically, Attacked has all the hallmarks of a great drama: realistic characters, a clear storyline, and above all, hypnotic suspense that makes the book nearly impossible to put down. If you love a great underdog tale, this book will deliver. Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading!
Like all great storytellers, Mark Simon skillfully weaves a complex tale replete with humor, angst, emotional connection, archetypal imagery, and above all, a sense of realism. Although the action takes place in 1980’s suburbia, the story is both timeless and cross-cultural. It’s inspirational, aspirational, and in the end, morally satisfying. It reinforces the hopes and needs we all feel that justice will prevail and a reminder that the good guys can still win.
I can’t recommend this book heartily enough. It’s a great read, with a fast, fresh, funny, poignant, and satisfying story that will, I have no doubt, soon become a motion picture! The book is a worthy story for all readers, but I would especially recommend Attacked by Mark Simon for teens everywhere, plus anyone who has ever been bullied or knows someone who’s been bullied.
Executive Director – American Screenwriters Association
This is an incredible true story of how courage, friendship, family solidarity and community support triumphed over brutal criminal behavior. Bullying is rarely challenged with such a determined resolve for justice. Very inspiring. I would love to see this as a graphic novel.
Cartoonist (Beetle Bailey, Hi and Lois), comics historian and curator.
A visceral account of a terrifying lived experience. Essential reading for anyone whose child or family has been victimized by schoolyard bullies, suburban terrorists and the insidious behavior of human beings without conscience.
Reality TV Story Producer
Mark Simon asks us to join him on an unforgettable journey into TERROR—a nightmarish nail-biting journey filled with all the fears and anxieties experienced by himself and his family being violently attacked, bullied, and harassed by a group of juvenile low-lifes during Mark’s high school years back in Texas. Label this as a survival course fueled by the sheer will to beat the odds and the determination, tenacity, strength , courage, and ingenuity needed to succeed at all costs in seeking justice for himself and his family. Do yourself a favor: start at page 1 and don’t put it down until you finish reading ATTACKED!
Artist – Spider-Man, Superman, Phantom
Mark’s memoir is chilling! I’m his wife of 30+ years and I thought I knew every nuance of his story until I read Attacked!. My chest tightened and pulse raced repeatedly when I read in horrible detail how Mark felt afraid and abandoned by his friends and how much the fear of attack dramatically changed his life. And as a mother of twin boys, I felt the fear, rage and primal protective instinct Mark’s mother felt when she stalked Mark, without his knowledge, ready to shoot anyone who threatened her son. Mark and his fierce, remarkable parents had to go to extremes to protect themselves. They definitely did not start the fight, but they ended it in a surprising way which we all can use.
This is an important story that needs to be told. Anyone who has experienced bullying should read this.
Mark Simon is a bright spot in anyone’s list of friends. His energy and joy belie the anxiety-fueled story of Attacked. Want to step away from the old-fashioned ‘boys-will-be-boys’ antics of the previous generations’ coming-of-age books? Mark shares his very modern tale of young men discovering their harshly different places in a wider world of responsibility and consequences. I’ll be handing copies to my own sons… and, like any parent would, hoping that they, and one day their own children, will navigate their lives without being Attacked.
Cartoonist – The Buckets, Hubris
At first glance, one might think ATTACKED is an overdramatized Hollywood tale of fiction. Not so. This thrilling true-life story of a family threatened by an unruly gang of neighborhood thugs ends with a satisfying conclusion.
Mark’s account is a powerful “good triumphs over evil” story you wish would happen more often!
Director, Producer – Killer Klowns From Outer Space
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