I watched this video the other day, where a police officer giving a routine ticket to what I assume was a speeding driver kept his cool while the driver went off on him. This led me to wonder if the cop’s response actually did any good for this guy. He simply stood there calmly, finished his job, and made sure that justice was done. But it didn’t seem to me like the driver got the message. The driver was angry that he got a speeding ticket, and also angry that he would have to take time off work to go to court to fight it. He didn’t seem to realize that if he had not been speeding in the first place, that he would not have gotten the ticket.
So I’m left wondering – what is the appropriate way to get the message across to people like this – and would the message get across at all, regardless of how you deliver it? Would it have been better if the cop had not exercised such restraint – pulled the guy out of the car and taught him a lesson? Or would that simply have been a waste of the cop’s time, and unnecessary stress for both parties?
In this instance, I think the officer’s conduct was commendable even if the driver didn’t get the message. At least the cop was calm and didn’t let this guy’s negativity or anger affect him and cause him to react negatively. I believe that this chain reaction happens all too much in society today. One person’s anger ignites the anger of another person. The second person now goes to the bank and has to wait in line for a teller, but seeing as they are already angry from the previous situation begin to huff and puff and make a scene at the bank. This, in turn, affects all the other people in the line… and these people all take their experience with them on to other situations in their life. And so on, and so on. It’s like a ripple effect.
If this cop had reacted differently in this situation, I think things definitely would have escalated unnecessarily – leaving this driver with an even worse taste in his mouth about authority and the police. It sounds like he already has a chip on his shoulder about it – or perhaps he was just at the bank and had to wait in line a little too long 😉
Our ego can be a tricky beast – causing us to act defensively in the face of almost any conflict… even when the attack is completely non-personal, it can be taken that way all because of the ego. Take a moment when something like this happens, and ask yourself if it is worth it to react emotionally and defensively, or if this situation is really that important that you need to fight against it so hard. Often times, taking a moment to let your fur flatten down again after feeling threatened and thinking about things can not only diffuse a situation, but offer you time to rationally think of a response (an educated one!). It’s easier said than done though – because we have been acting like this all our lives!
I suppose my conclusion is that we all have to assess situations and try to react accordingly. Sure, we all overreact sometimes – but if we try and approach things calmly like this cop did, maybe we could minimize the ripple effect of anger and negativity that is caused by conflict. If we can exercise compassion and understand that maybe this person is having a really bad day, and try to give them just that little bit of understanding – or at the very least don’t add fuel to the fire.