Legal cartoons and humorous comment (c) Paul Brennan. All rights reserved.

I decided on 101 reasons as I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001.
Paul Brennan, Lawyer, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Friday, July 18, 2008

#15 They even win car park confrontations


RAGE IS ALL THE RAGE

With the advent of “boxasize”, the traditional ladylike slap on the face is being replaced by the right hook.

This week, I was backing into a public car parking space. A lady driver beeped her horn and when I stopped to let her pass, cut into the (my) space.

At first, she explained she was in a hurry and needed the space, then that she saw it first and then that I was a dickhead (I do not know how she worked that out). She was a lady in her 40s with that scary blond, gym user look. Alarmingly, she then said “get out of my face” in that tone the police use before they apply the Taser.

A nearby crowd of people waiting at a bus stop, outraged at her actions, began shouting at her to move her car.

My wife attempted to reason with her. “Are you going to try and hit me?”, she hopefully replied to which my wife responded “No, you are in bad enough shape as it is”(she always gets the best lines).

“Outgunned”, she drove off and victory was ours.

Road rage, trolley rage and all sorts of other rage is becoming well…all the rage. One supermarket incident ended with a customer being hit with a flying frozen turkey.
But there are those who take advantage of peoples’ propensity to be “wound up” and use provocation to win disputes aided by the system.

In these politically correct times the police are less likely to take a view and let people off with a warning. People can end up in court over something as petty as a car parking space dispute if they do not keep their cool.

If you are a crazed individual with a short fuse and a criminal record, go for it. However, for ordinary people, confrontation with strangers is best avoided as you can no longer be sure of their reaction. A lone gunman who recently opened fire in a US church was immediately, and unexpectedly, shot dead. Incredibly, God was given credit for the kill (sic). Statistically, there are more loonies alive today than ever before, or at least it seems that way.

Now, it is acceptable for security guards, emboldened by the terrorist threat, to resort to physical violence to resolve disturbances rather than urge moderation. I recently intervened when I saw a flight attendant bait an irate passenger with the clear intention of calling security to have her dragged away in those plastic handcuffs.

As a lawyer my job is to advise clients to walk away from potential legal issues. In retrospect, would it not have been better for me to avoid the dispute all together and drive on? Well, certainly yes, but only over her dead body.

A week later I read in the Darwin Awards that a man who shovelled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

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