Road Rage

Since we live in a very small town with very little in the way of grocery stores, my wife and I almost always drive to the larger (small) town of Marshall nearby. It normally takes us about 20 minutes because we like to take a county road that runs in a small river valley through which the Redwood River flows (more nearly the “Redwood Brook,” but folks in the Midwest don’t know about brooks). On our trips we are always alert for wildlife. A pair of eagles nests in the region year-round and we often see them and their offspring. We have also seen a great many deer, pheasants, wild turkeys, raccoons, box turtles on the pond (when it’s not dry), and the occasional snapping turtle. In addition, there is always a host of bird life. The trip, as I say, is supposed to take about 20 minutes but it can often take twice that long, depending on what’s going on in the river valley. We always come armed with binoculars and drive slowly through that area.

Not long ago we had stopped on the road to watch a group of wild turkeys. I must admit I had been driving very slowly and had failed to check my rear-view mirror because the turkeys were putting on a show and the road hardly ever has anyone else on it so traffic is seldom a problem — which is one of the reasons we take the road. But this time I was alarmed by loud shouting, including profanity, coming from a red pickup behind me that drove into the oncoming lane where the driver put down his cell phone and stopped to open his window and read me the riot act. Now bear in mind that this road is so seldom traveled that this man could sit there in the oncoming lane for 30 seconds or so to chew me out. He could have stayed longer.  But chew me out he did, to my everlasting humiliation and chagrin. I smiled and pulled out my AK-47 and shot him apologized, feeling sheepish and angry at one and the same time.

The point of this brief anecdote is to suggest that if I had an automatic weapon in my vehicle I can imagine myself sorely tempted to pull it out and at least threaten the man with it, which in retrospect would have been very stupid indeed.  He was being boorish and bellicose and my instinct was to respond in kind — and I am not a violent person. I don’t like confrontation and I wouldn’t ordinarily think about shooting a pheasant or a wild turkey, much less another human being. But he was way out of line, given the situation, and at that moment I could imagine doing just that. In fact, I can see why people who carry weapons use them and it makes me more concerned than ever that our gun laws are so lax and that so many people are not only able but eager to carry a loaded weapon with them wherever they go.  It doesn’t take a genius to predict that the number of gun deaths in this country will continue to escalate, to the dismay of those survivors who have to attend the funerals of their loved ones killed by a hand gun — and to the delight of the gun manufacturers who are reaping such huge profits from our collective stupidity, anger, and fear.


4 thoughts on “Road Rage

  1. The words you struck above during the confrontation speak volumes. Ready access to weapon combined with an impulsive act means someone dies and someone goes to jail. On the road rage, this morning with my daughter in the car, I decided to brake and not contnue through a long amber light which would have turned red before I got into the intersection. The guy behind was going to run it and had to pull into the other lane as he was following too closely. I told my daughter if he hit me, he would be surprised when the officer gave him the ticket. Safe travels. BTG

  2. Lovely story. On the other side of things, a few Sundays ago Darla and I were a bit late for church…we headed down Highland to Cajon driving a bit faster than I should, turned north for the one mile trek to First Baptist, falling in behind a v e r y slow moving Prius. Cajon is a “major” north south street in Reclands, fairly heavily traveled, but still only two lanes. Stop signs every quarter mile, residential setting, and traffic means you go with the flow. With growing impatience I inched along behind the mint green car…alternating between smart edgy comments to my wife, pulling slightly left and considering a pass, throwing my hands in the air, shaking my head, coming close to laying on the horn…what WAS this driver doing? Reading the morning paper? Keep in mind I’m headed to church…to teach an adult Sunday School class…likely on some variation of the Great Commandments…don’t you know the car in front turned into the church parking lot (as I exhaled a huge sigh of relief for my decisions to remain passive) and once parked I noticed sweet Mary, an 80 year old saint, and member of the class to which I was going, park, exit, smile her gracious smile, wave and wait for us to park and enter the church together for worship. But…if I had had a gun…

  3. Further anecdotes on the decline of the US as a culture and as a civilization. There are many symptoms of the illness and this is but one of them. Very sad. I wonder if it will ever stop and turn around. As long as the Koch brothers and others of their ilk are running the country, it will continue.

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