By Tim Hayes
Last week, 100 belligerent, entitled, insufferable high school seniors and their chaperones got tossed off of an AirTran airplane at New York’s LaGuardia Airport because they refused to sit down and turn off their cell phones.
Hallelujah! Welcome to the rest of your lives, kids, where actions actually have consequences. Where self-absorption via handheld electronics means nothing. And where respect for authority comes with the territory of adulthood.
Look, nobody likes to be told what to do. But rules are there for a reason, and the people responsible for enforcing those rules have a job to do, too.
Take a look at any episode of that videotaped recording of the decline of American civilization, “COPS,” and you’ll see what I mean. Seemingly every Marlboro-puffing, house frock-wearing, doublewide trailer-inhabiting meth cook who gets busted by the police on that show starts giving the officers lip and tries to break away from them.
That’s why God invented a little thing called “resisting arrest.” A great career move? Nay, nay. Not that many of the model citizens featured on “COPS” have career aspirations all that high in the first place. THEY may be high, but their career aspirations aren’t.
When you’re busted, you obey. If anything is out of line, either with the charge or with the way you are treated, you correct it later.
I had the chance to demonstrate this concept with one of my kids in the car a few weeks ago, cruising down the New York State Thruway near Buffalo. Zipping merrily along, listening to a favorite CD, I checked the rear-view mirror to see flashing lights along the dashboard of an SUV behind me.
“Ha! Some poor sap is gonna get pulled over!” I said, in a mocking tone, lording it over whomever the New York State Police had in their sights. Then the SUV came right up to my rear bumper. Aw, no! The poor sap was me!
In my defense, though, I was trying to get away from Buffalo. Who wouldn’t want to do that as quickly as possible?
Moving from the far left lane to the right berm of the highway took a minute or two, and any hope that the state trooper was after somebody else faded faster than Lindsay Lohan’s career.
The officer walked up to my driver’s side window and asked the standard question. “Do you know why I pulled you over, sir?” “I was going too fast?” I replied. “That’s correct, sir. Do you know how fast you were traveling?” “No, sir.” He told me, and I knew what was coming next. “Could I see your license and registration, sir?” “Yes, officer.” He went back to his SUV (unmarked, by the way…damn!), ran the computer check, printed out the ticket, and came back to my car.
“I’ve marked the violation using the speed you were traveling as you pulled over, not the speed you were traveling when I first spotted you,” he said. It took a second to sink in that, while still nailing me, he actually did me a small favor. The fine and points may be lessened, as a result.
“Yes, sir. Thank you, officer.” “Travel safely and slow down, sir.”
Did the favor occur because I didn’t give the trooper a hard time? Who knows? But it sure didn’t hurt.
When you’re busted – whether being obnoxious on an airplane, conducting illegal chemistry in your doublewide, or zooming too fast down the New York State Thruway – it’s “Yes, Sir. No, Sir. Thank you, Sir.” Otherwise, you’re just asking for more trouble than you’ve already found. They probably don’t spend a lot of time on “Delighting Your Suspect” class at the police academy.
There are about 100 cold-cocked kids from Brooklyn who I think might back me up on this.
Copyright 2013 Tim Hayes Consulting