Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Friend...

Dave's remains were found in Moab over the weekend. A heartfelt thanks to the people who helped to get the word out while he was missing. My thoughts and prayers are with Daves family. I believe that Dave is in the company of friends and family who have gone before us. He is OK now. I will miss him.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ronald McDonald grew some balls (and then got a little carried away)

The headline read McDonald's cashier arrested for beating unruly customer with a metal rod. Taking the headline at face value I had visions of a deranged cashier having a violent fuck my life moment, and taking it out on some late night customers in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not an unreasonable assumption by any stretch.

The video shows something a bit different. The video shows a clearly deranged customer and her friend terrorizing said cashier. She slapped him (assault), and then climbs over the counter presumably to slap him some more. The entire time she is threatening him verbally. The casier, who is clearly under attack, retreats towards the back and grabs something to defend himself with. Here is where it gets a tad controversial. The cashier comes out swinging and the girl goes down. Her friend starts feeling a bit froggy so she gets hit as well. Hard I might add.

Right up to this point I was rooting for the cashier. Judging from the pre-beating behavior observed on video I can safely surmise that these women were not strangers to terrorizing service industry folks. Something real or imagined set these unbalanced women off, and I am positive they thought they could get away with giving him a bit of street justice. They gave little thought to consequence when they crossed the threshold of the counter, confident that they were going to get away with what they were attempting to do.

I wonder what would have happened if the cashier had not defended himself. It is clear on video that the talking part of this confrontation was over and done with. The fight had started, and the primitive part of the brain that controls fight or flight was in charge. He probably would have been beaten by the two women in a commercial kitchen where improvised weapons abound.

Let me digress for a bit. When I was an angst ridden teenager I fancied myself a pugilist. I usually reserved my violent behavior to times when I was too drunk to fish, let alone fight. I lost more than I won. With age comes wisdom, and a balancing of the raging hormonal changes that all teenagers go through. I was insane to say the least. I am lucky several times over...I never got shot, and I was never beaten into the hospital but that was pure chance. In short, I never ran into my McDonald's cashier. I did learn a lot of valuable lessons during my teen years. One of them was "No matter how tough you think you are...there is always someone tougher". Don't get me wrong, that was not the only lesson brought about by my tumultuous teen years. But, that is the one I found myself thinking about while watching the video of the cashier and his two tormentors.

There had to be a point during the confrontation where the loudest, and scariest, of the tormentors had what people in recovery call "a moment of clarity". My guess is during the split second between the appearance of the metal rod, and the connecting of said metal rod with her face she had enough time to register the enormity of the mistake she made when she crossed the counter. A hard, and humbling, lesson to learn and frankly some people don't survive that lesson. She may not according to CNN. Should she survive with her brain function intact my guess is she will never mouth off to a McDonald's employee again, let alone attack one.

OK, so you may be thinking that I find the cashiers actions acceptable. I do...and I don't. I think it was perfectly acceptable to defend himself metal rod and all. She had already demonstrated enough violent behavior to warrant the use of force. Had I been the cashier I probably would have swung for the fences. His justifiable use of force train came off the tracks when he continued beating them after the threat had clearly passed.

The cashier went from victim to victimizer after the first two swings. In doing so he will probably learn the "no matter how tough you think you are, there is always someone tougher" lesson in jail where I am told that lesson takes on a whole new meaning. Do I feel sorry for not really. Do I feel sorry for the women who were beaten into not really. Their actions brought about the beating, and the cashier had a choice. He could have stopped after his attackers went down. He chose not to.

In my profession we have an unwritten code of conduct called "big boy rules". The jist of the concept is that we are all adults capable of making decisions AND accepting the consequences (good or bad) of that decision. A pretty simple concept that places an emphasis on consequences. Operating in big boy rules mode makes it impossible for me to feel any sympathy for any of them. Is it unfortunate that none of the parties involved will ever be the same again? Yes...but they all made their beds...Tough lessons learned the hard way.