Dreamed that another driver pulled a gun on me and insisted I let him pull ahead in the traffic lane. I politely agreed. My friends didn’t like it, but hey, he had gun. This dream-born incident turned my thoughts to the recent assault in New York on a woman who asked another, who was talking loudly on her cellphone in a coffee shop, to please lower her voice. The cellphone talker cussed out the woman, threw hot coffee on her, shoved her down, and kicked her. The victim had fortitude; she chased her attacker, called the police, and had her attacker arrested. So–how hard is it to be considerate of others? Is it necessary to talk on a cellphone loudly enough for God to hear in Heaven and Satan to hear in Hell?
These days it’s risky to ask someone to not do or stop doing something that is wrong or inconsiderate of others. The possibility of being flayed with f-bombs, having a hot or cold beverage thrown on you, and/or being physically assaulted runs high.
What’s wrong with people? What’s wrong with people is they lack a sense of consideration and a sense of shame. When those two values are missing (and they are values), honor too is not present. The degradation and loss of consideration for others, of shame (which helps us to keep our conscience clean), and of honor speaks poorly of people, reflects darkly on society, and places us all in an ever-narrowing circle of isolation and alienation.
Afterall, who wants to risk harm when all they want is to pass easily through a public doorway, to enjoy a movie, or not trip over someone’s extended legs? Violent reaction to a polite request freezes communication and compassion. We’d all like to think that these incidents are infrequent–but they’re not.
Oh, the flowers of indulgence and the weeds of yesteryear, like criminals, they have choked the breath of conscience and good cheer. –Bob Dylan, Every Grain of Sand