Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Violence Begets Violence

To my son Tommy,

If you show violence or anger or rage or any of those nasty emotions to another person, you will receive them right back.  It is only human nature and I lived the perfect example of it today.

When I drive the company truck, I attempt to follow all laws and all speed limits.  Consequently I go slower than the average driver who tends to disregard the speed limit.  To counteract this and to be courteous to others, when available, I move to the right lane so people can speed by me and get to where it is so important that they get to in a timely fashion.

I had just moved over to the right lane, as soon as the right lane opened up, to let others pass me who had ended up behind me on the previous one lane road.  We all came to the traffic light at the same time and the guy who pulls up on my left angrily demands I roll down my truck window.  He is driving one of those hot rod muscle cars and vaguely reminded me of a cross between a teenage Napoleon and Gumby.  Figuring he just wanted to berate me for driving the speed limit, I reluctantly rolled down the window.  I was met with a tirade of swears and curses that would make even your mom blush.  He accused me of trying to run him off the road.  I had no idea what he was talking about so I told him he was nuts.  He insisted and continued his bad word barrage, so I gave him the symbol for "back at ya bud" which I have learned is extending the middle finger.  You see violence begets violence and you get what you give.  The gentleman then threatens to "kick my ..." and before my laughter subsided thinking about being beat up by a 100 pound Napoleonic Gumby on steroids, the light turned green.  I rolled up my window as Mr. Muscle car floored it which seems to make his muffler suffer as if to show me his prowess.  When it became obvious that we were going to come to the next red light together, despite his impressive take off from the last light and my lackluster take off, he purposely ran that red light to show me he wasn't afraid of breaking the law.  The car behind him pulled up and asked me to roll down the window.

I thought to myself, "geez not another...what did I do to this guy" but I obliged.  The new driver was much nicer and said he saw everything that happened and agreed with me that RoadRage Gumby was a jerk.  I asked what I did wrong and he explained.  The kid saw the upcoming right lane opening up and instead of waiting for the lane to legally open up, decided to pass me and the two cars behind me using the emergency lane.  When I got to the right at the first legal chance, I didn't check my mirror because I assumed no one could be behind me on the right.  I did in fact almost run that guy off the road.  I guess he thought I did it on purpose as an act of vigilante car justice but I can only claim obliviousness.

As I travelled in the rest of the way to work, I thought about the events that occurred.  I realized that though I was confused as to what I did wrong in that guy's eyes... I only met his violence with bewilderment for a few seconds before resorting to nastiness myself.  You truly get what you give out, and I am not yet as forgiving and patient a man to not fall into that trap myself.  A shudder went down my back as I said (perhaps forced) a prayer for the guy in the other car because if he continued his actions he certainly will either kill himself or someone else.  When you grow up, be careful out there on the roads.  Always check your blind spots on merging even if there is no legal way that someone should be there.  And never start a confrontation with as much piss and vinegar as that young man did, because when you start out like that, it is hard to reverse and there is really only one possible outcome, which is more violence.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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