By Bill Dunn
I don’t know for sure, but it seems like the world is getting meaner. I sometimes feel as though every time I step out of my door that peril lies just outside. Maybe it’s just me being paranoid, but as Kurt Cobain was attributed as saying , “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”
It could be the times we live in, these days of financial uncertainty. I especially feel this way when I am behind the wheel of my car. It’s as though some people feel that being in control of 2000 pounds of plastic and steel gives them power they aren’t experiencing in the rest of their lives.
When that power is not recognized, there is an unprecedented level of anger that comes to the surface and is displayed in bizarre ways. Like using their vehicle as a weapon.
Forget the term Road Rage. That term seems far too timid for the level of what can best be described as venomous hatred toward fellow travelers. Drivers nowadays , in growing numbers, are taking it to an entirely different level.
No longer is an extended middle finger a sufficient display of your disapproval with other drivers ineptitude while attempting to navigate the mean streets of Southern California. Now the point needs to be driven home by instilling fear into your fellow driver.
This is not to say the middle finger is not an effective way to convey your feelings initially, but it can be a jumping off point that can escalate into a more intense situation. This is depending on the intelligence level of the mobile Neanderthal you are dealing with.
If your digit exchange is with someone of a higher I.Q. it is basically a two finger conversation and then you both move on your merry ways. It is generally with your lower level primates that you run into trouble and you can tell almost immediately if you have one of these crazy apes on your hands.
They are the ones who feel that they need to have a conversation with you, audible or not. If that doesn’t satisfy their increasing madness, and they are headed in the same direction as you are, watch out. Their next step is probably going to be one of two things. Tailgating you at a dangerously close distance or speeding up to get in front of you so they can slow down causing you to hit your brakes.
If one of these things happens, a word to the wise. Get away from them as quickly as possible. The evening news is littered with stories of potentially bad outcomes when dealing with baboons of this variety. Do your best not to become a statistic.
Another area of automotive nastiness, that has become a recurring topic on the news lately, is the over the top violence being displayed by numerous police agencies across the Southland.
It is not an exaggeration when I say that not a week goes by when we aren’t treated to another tale of one or more officers losing their tempers and roughing up a suspect before they make it to the patrol car.
You would think in these days where everyone is carrying a cell phone with a camera in it that these supposed keepers of the peace would be a little more cognizant of the fact that they are under constant surveillance. Often it looks like they don’t care, but they should.
I have always been a champion of the police. I mean who are you going to call if you have a problem? Your local gang members? These people are the public servants that we put our trust in. That is why it is such a shock when we see these beatings and shootings.
As much as we all would like to blindly put our trust in them you have to remember there isn’t a group of individuals anywhere that is immune to the bad apple syndrome. So if there ever was a group that needs to be put under a microscope constantly it is our police agencies. For the most part, they are the ones that others look to as barometers on how to act and react .
So, our boys and girls in blue, you need to lead by example and be more aware of the image you are portraying to the public. If it is viewed as acceptable behavior to react violently and in a mean spirited manner, regardless of the situation, it will continue to create a circle of viciousness that none of us want.
Like they say….Monkey See, Monkey Do.
Bill Dunn has been a published opinion columnist for 14 years. Any comments can be sent to either our exalted editor at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Bill directly at email@example.com You can also find Bill on Facebook at : www.facebook.com/WhenAllisSaidandDunn