Think Before You Judge or React

As my daughter Virginia pointed out, have you ever noticed how detached from humanity people become in certain situations like when they are online while sitting behind a computer, or sitting behind the wheel of a car?  It amazes me how in both situations people will 1) gain a lot of confidence to say what they wouldn’t possibly say in person to someone (even things they shouldn’t say), 2) become quite righteous, 3) are quick to point fingers, 4) will never admit to being wrong, 5) are extremely judgmental…and the list goes on and on.  I’d like to share two.

The Dog in the Hot Car – Now I am a SERIOUS dog lover.  In fact I love dogs more than people.  I won’t bother to justify my love for dogs here, for those who know me already understand.  I am also against taking a dog anywhere in a car during hot summer months, IF you can avoid it.  Sometime this cannot be avoided – 1) going to the vet, 2) traveling long distances when your dog is going with you, or 3) transporting a rescue dog.  I am sure you may be able to come up with a few more scenarios, but for the sake of time, we will stick with these.

Today I saw a Facebook post where a person came across a car in a grocery store parking lot with a dog in it; the window was down.  This good Samaritan called the cops, and the cops said it was legal as long as the window was down,  and I will repeat, it was down.  It also sounded as if this person came out of the store rather quickly, although no time frame was given on the post.  Of course the comments were flying off  the page condemning this lowest of the low person for torturing this dog in a hot car and how they needes to sit in a hot car hours on end to see what it’s like. Now at first, I too, was like WTH?!  But the law protected this person since the windows were down.  Why?  Then I had to ask myself some hard questions…Why was this person traveling with the dog?  Were they on their way to the vet?  Was this the dog’s last car ride ever (something I sadly experienced all too recently)?  Or even better yet, did this person live locally and were just running to the store (a serious no no if you ask me), or were they traveling a long distance with the dog and they had no choice but to stop?  Maybe it was a rescue dog they were transporting and they had to stop to get the dog water.  The scenarios could be endless here, and the fact of the matter is that no one truly knows.  I took a closer look at the picture. The car had a temp tag and a license plate frame that was NOT local. So obviously this person wasn’t just running to the store and carelessly taking the dog for a ride.  They also had the windows down, knowing that the dog was going to be hot.  So did anyone take any of these details into consideration?  Of course not.  Would you?  But then again, they were sitting at their computer making their judgments and accusations far separated from what was really happened.  Everyone insisted this bystander should have broken the cars windows….why?  They were already down!!  I feel for the poor dog.  I also feel for the person who finds himself in a desperate situation.  Again I reiterate I’m against dogs in hot cars; however I have traveled long distances with my pooch and it cannot be avoided 100%. So I couldn’t help but add a little logic to the situation.  Now I am being condemned for actually thinking.  Oh the irony.

There was another situation on Facebook where I was once also called racist because I pointed out some history of slavery that didn’t corresponded with a white liberal woman’s view of the subject.  This so-called history major could not fathom there being white Irish slaves or black African tribes who sold off other tribal members into slavery.  This also made me laugh since one of my very best friends is black.  I just wanted people to stop jumping on band wagons and to start doing some true research before passing judgment.  No such luck.  In this day and age of internet righteousness, some people will never research or admit they could possibly be wrong.  I had to simply back out of the conversation and ask her to just block me so I didn’t have to deal with her ignorance any longer.  Unfortunately for me, that white liberal crowd had already passed their judgement on me.  Lucky for me I truly don’t care.

Road Rage –  Another scenario that plays out all to often that shows how people become disconnected from humanity when they are isolated (this time when they are in their car) is road rage.  I can easily get mad at people when I’m driving, and while I may call them names to myself, I don’t publicly react or show any reaction, because I know that I do not fully know what has taken place.  For one, I have made my own stupid driving mistakes of cutting someone off that was in my blind spot and I didn’t see, or turning in front of an oncoming car during a moment of bad decision-making on my part.  But so many people are extremely quick to react.  People will chase other cars down in retaliation, whether it be to get them back or even start an altercation.

Back in December, my then 16-year-old daughter and I were in a scary situation.  I turned out of our neighborhood onto a slightly busier country road.  When I turned on the road, there were no other cars.  By the time I was approaching the end of the road, there was a pickup truck just feet from my back bumper.  I had a long busy day moving into our new home, and I was tired, so I was probably going slower than the speed limit.  I was also approaching a stop sign, so there was no reason for me to speed up.  Instead I tapped my brakes just to get them to back off.  When I stopped at the stop sign to turn right, the truck attempted to go around me to turn right in front of me.  Oncoming traffic made him stop.  Once I turned, he turned and started to pass me, but while he was still beside me, he attempted to come over and run me off the road.  I had to brake…HARD.  Once he came over, maintaining his speed, I resumed my speed.  He then slammed HARD on his brakes.  I had to brake so hard I narrowly missed him by inches, and a car behind me narrowly missed me.  My daughter and I were terrified at this man’s erratic behavior.  I instantly called the police.  He repeated slamming on his brakes again then took off at a high rate of speed.  I think I got the license plate correct, but I was so shaken I wasn’t 100% sure.  When he was about 100 yards in front of me, I saw his reverse lights come on.  He was backing towards me.  I am sure I sounded panicked to the police department, but I couldn’t help it.  Before I got too close, he drove forward again and slightly turned off at the next road. I think he was going to wait for me to pass then get behind me again, but there was another car behind me that got in his way, and he just took off. I never saw that truck again, but you can believe I have been on the watch for it ever since.  I do have a concealed carry permit, but I have never in my life felt that I needed to carry a gun.  That night made me think twice.  What if he had gotten out of his truck?  What would he have done to me and my daughter?  Did he think we could possibly have been a real threat to him?  I just wanted him to back off my tail end before he hit us.

Another more recent incident happened with my teen daughter.  I went out of town and she ended up in severe pain requiring medical treatment.  Her boyfriend was rushing her to the doctor while she was on the phone with the doctor and he accidentally cut another man off.  There was no ill will intended. He was simply a teenage boy panicking because he didn’t know what to do or where he was going.  It just so happened they ended up at a traffic light next to this man.  The man started yelling at my daughter and her boyfriend, stating that his kid was in the car and if they had hit him he would have killed them.  Seriously?  If they had hit the car, it would have been a minor fender bender and his kid would have been fine.  I know, because my children have been in car accidents as passengers.  They turned out just fine.  Guess what, most people do.  So a front fender is worth two lives?  Here’s another shocker…cars are repairable, replaceable and won’t be in your life forever anyway.  Now the life of a person…tell me how they compare.  What this man didn’t know…didn’t care to know, was that these were two scared kids… and at that moment my daughter was in severe enough pain that she ended up going to the emergency room.  For reasons such as this, whenever a person cuts me off I try to keep it in perspective…what is happening in their life?  Did they just lose a loved one?  Do they have an emergency?  Or maybe they just didn’t see me…we all have blind spots.

You may not like my take on these situations, you may come up with your excuses to support people similar to the ones I’ve describe.  You may also come up with excuses for your own reactions in these instances, but before you react, or before you even comment on this post, ask yourself some hard questions.  People want to view the world as black and white, but it’s not. I know I’m not usually a logical thinker, so I know it can be hard to think critically sometimes.  But try some critical thinking.  Try to think of what the bigger picture may be.  Then think about how this world would be if everyone did just that.  Imagine that.



By Kris Heaton Posted in World

One comment on “Think Before You Judge or React

  1. You make a lot of sense. I never have understood the road rage thing. Why a person gets so mad if they get cut off or something like that. And with regard to the people not admitting that they are wrong or what have you. I think these days people are so used to others reading their opinions that they start to believe that they know everything and that they are never wrong. Trust me we’re all wrong, some of us are mature enough to admit it.

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