Sunday, 5 April 2009

Anger. (This post contains strong language)

I was “minding my own business” so to speak as I drove home this afternoon from a short shopping trip.

Keeping to the speed limit, I stopped at the red traffic light at the junction of Honore Ave and 17th Street, ready to turn left when the light changed.

Someone ”tooted” me from behind, and at first I thought that I had missed the turn of the light to green.

That wasn’t the case, and as I turned left when the light changed I pulled into the right hand lane of what was now a two lane road. The “tooter “roared into the left hand lane, and then tried to force me off the road.

As I slowed down, he screamed “you got a problem mother-fucker?”

Bemused, shocked and astonished I said something like “I haven’t the slightest idea what you mean”.

He screamed out again, much to the discomfort of his girl-friend, “If you have to drive fucking slow, get off the road mother –fucker”.

Then he sped off. I was shaken and sad.

I wish that I’d had the presence of mind to say “the word is ‘slowly”, not ‘slow’”

But what if he had had a gun?

And what if this had not been a lovely lazy Sunday afternoon on a local road, but dark at night on an Interstate Highway.

And what if I had responded with hostility and anger?

We live in a land in which there is so much anger, hostility and frustration in the lives of many people.

That same anger, hostility and frustration has been vented in all too many recent events, in which numbers of people have been gunned down, and killed.

(There have also been shocking acts of family violence in which the perpetrators have wielded such every day articles as kitchen knives.)

The gun violence is appalling. And in many States it is very easy to obtain guns, not simply handguns or hunting rifles, but automatic assault weapons.

There is a Constitutional Right for citizens to bear arms, rooted in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, viz:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

That amendment has been susceptible to a variety of opinions. I believe that the Supreme Court in its most recent ruling stated that States may not ban the private ownership of guns, but that they may place restrictions on certain kinds of weapons.

But whatever the Second Amendment says, and however the Court interprets it are moot questions.

The cat is well and truly out of the bag, and horrendous weapons are already in the hands of dangerous or disturbed persons.

Arguments about the Second Amendment are futile just so long as we live in a society which sits on a powder-keg of anger.

Some of that anger was screamed at me today.


  1. Sir,

    It is not very easy in any state to legally obtain automatic assault weapons. Those are federally regulated and licensed and have been for decades. Legal procurement for one of these requires extensive paperwork and background checks. Even illegal procurement is remarkably expensive for the above-mentioned reasons.

    Regarding anger, you are right that it is anger (and the people who brook no restraints on their expression of the same) which underlies all violent acts--whether road rage or murder.

    We should be considering the hearts of people (in a spiritual sense) as the place that needs work--as anger is simply an obvious outgrowth of a person's innermost condition.

  2. Sorry you had to suffer this man's anger.

    Sometimes, when confronted with the same kind of situation, and after I have had time to cool off, I try to remember that perhaps that person was experiencing something quite awful that day -- a sick parent or child, or got fired from work, house foreclosed, etc. While it certainly doesn't serve as an excuse for such behavior, it can make me feel better to realize that the anger likely wasn't really about me. Of course, you know all that anyway (heck, I probably learned to give things such perspective from you!).

    If that man does indeed walk around with such anger in his heart all day long, I feel quite sorry for him. What an awful state of being in which to exist!