Quiet-List 1997

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Road Rage/Noise

There was a moderately fascinating "48 Hours" last night that focused on
"road rage."  A day or two ago, there were posts on this list discussing
the "persona" (if you will) of boom-box kids, and whether these children
were aware of the discomfort they cause, etc.  At the risk of sounding
like a complete loon, I'd like to comment.

I DO know some of these kids and they are VERY aware of how angry they
make other people by blaring their music.  For example, a single mother
I know has a couple of bad news children.  The one boy and his friends
love to play their rap-crap outside while playing basketball.  "Play" in
this case means blasting, and the neighbor repeatedly asks for relief. 
First she tried the kids who, among other things, told her to get lost. 
Then the neighbor tried my friend, who is afraid of the kids and tried
to downplay the the volume (iow, did nothing), and finally the police,
who come to the house and do basically nothing in light of our watered
down noise ordinances.  The kids know the cops are handcuffed, joke with
them, then blast the music after they leave. This is just one example; I
know plenty more.

Funny thing about the kids I know who blast their music while in their
cars (or wherever they can).  They have these things in common: truancy,
drugs, drinking, reckless driving (the guys who haven't met a stop sign
they'd recognize or obey), abusive language, disrectful of anything and
everything around them.  So when I hear them coming from blocks away, I
know that they also bring their juvenile delinquent behavior with them. 
I know there will be underage drinking and dope smoking at an empty
house somewhere in the nieghborhood (both parents work), that the
likelihood of vandalism increases, and that our young children will be
unsafe on the streets (from reckless speeders) until they depart.

This is where "road rage" fits in.  These kids actually drive around
with the letters  "RAGE" plastered on their rear windows.  They drive
without licenses or insurance (I've been hearing of 15 year olds driving
-- they're actually doing the driving -- around town with their 16 year
old friends), and they flat-out don't care about the traffic safety laws
(or any laws for that matter).  My favorite: "Yo Mom, what you stopping
for? [at the red light] There's nobody here -- just GO."  Now, I'll
accept that knuckelheads on the road are more likely the so-called
aggressors, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the real rage is being
exhibited by drivers who are flat-out PO'd that people continue to get
away with driving like lunatics.

Specifically, just as people are fed up with an ineffective justice
system that continues to serve as a revolving door, those same people
observe similar ineffectiveness while on the road.  The knuckleheads are
making life unsafe at every turn, and we see it constantly; what we
DON'T SEE are police stopping these people and taking their vehicles
away.  Obnoxious, offensive, and violent behavior that continually goes
unchecked poisons our society where there is some deep-rooted belief
that law enforcement can do something to check the problem.  They fail
to do so (whether for lack of manpower, as in Philadelphia, or for lack
of interest, as in the suburbs), however, and the common rage builds. 
And since the number of "good guys" far outweighs the number of bad
guys, you are beginning to see more and more retaliation.

The effete framers of a non-confrontational society would prefer that
the victims get counseling so they can subvert their anger when they are
aggrieved.  In other words, society wants us to turn the other cheek
(AND TO PAY for counseling) when slapped by the bad guys.  Don't know
about the rest of you, but I'd be more inclined to turn the other cheek
if I saw the police out there nailing these SOB's and getting them off
the road.  Until then, we are all we got.  

IMO, the roadways are a microcosm of society, and all its ills are
played out with dangerous weapons (cars).  Put more police on the roads,
nail the garbage, TAKE THEIR CARS AWAY, and make society a safer place. 
Do that, and road rage -- while it won't end altogether -- will decline

Bob S.

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