Sunday, June 29, 2008

Taking a stand

Husband and I went to a movie on Friday, and some teenage twerps in the back of the theater started pelting our row with candy. Not the worst thing to ever befall humanity, but it was rude and uncivilized -- and a gummi-bear thrown with appreciable velocity can sting. My immediate reaction was annoyance, but I ignored it thinking it would stop. Husband meanwhile was getting agitated. When it didn't stop, I wanted to move to another seat. My husband's instinct, however, was to go wring some necks. This upset me, which was weird. I'm all for self-defense, and especially for the civilizing of teenage barbarians, but here I was being Neville Chamberlain and thinking it would all just go away if we ignored it. So I left to get the manager, and when the little jerks saw this they ran out of the theater. My husband followed them out, cornered them by the restrooms, and gave them his scary soldier's glare and told them that if it happened again he was going to break some necks. Brown-trousers time for the little thugs, and they swore they'd never do it again.

What was so odd was my immediate instinct to: 1) ignore; 2) run away; 3) balk at the idea of taking a stand. I think this is what drives much of the gun-grabbing and anti-self-defense, let-the-police-take-care-of-it attitude. Who wants to cause a ruckus? It's scary and messy. If we ignore it, it will just go away. Well, no, it won't -- thugs get emboldened every time people fail to take a stand. How about letting the authorities take care of it? Leave alone the fact that the police can't be everywhere, I remember reading an interview with incarcerated criminals, and they said that getting caught by police wasn't what scared them. In fact, getting scolded and thrown out by a theater manager is probably a badge of honor for little badasses, but having your mortality brought to your immediate attention by an angry, scary man who isn't worried about a lawsuit is a whole different thing. Looking back, I'm quite pleased my husband took care of it. It's likely the thugs will recall The Great Gummi-bear Incident of '08 before pestering folks for sport again.

The key is balance. The peaceniks are right about one thing -- violence isn't the solution to everything. So my influence on my husband has been a civilizing one (i.e. he doesn't get into bar-fights and street-fights anymore), but I need to let him prevail in situations like this, because, for all the discomfort rocking the boat causes, the world needs men scaring the daylights out of junior barbarians.


Anonymous jed said...

I'd've probably gone for the manager, because I just don't like lecturing people.

But there's another reason for the "let the cops handle this" mentality. I've read more than one news item about an adult detaining kids for things like vandalism, and it's the adult who gets into trouble when the cops show up. Maybe that's why people don't even think about stuff like citizen's arrest anymore.

6/29/2008 10:20 PM  
Blogger Stickwick Stapers said...

Sure enough, jed. But we live in Texas, so I hope that means we have less of that nonsense about detaining kids (although you never know). And -- for better or worse -- my husband doesn't care about that anyway. In his native Finland, it is very typical for adults to deal with kids in this fashion -- authorities are rarely called in.

6/30/2008 8:59 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

Apart from the fact that The Wife likes to sit in the back row of the theaters, when we've had a problem, I have found that just moving to where they are and sitting directly next to them shuts them down/makes them leave.

I don't say a thing. I just sit down in the seat next to them and continue one with the movie.

Granted, I'm gorilla sized, but going off for the manager just seems like so much playground stuff.

7/06/2008 7:17 AM  
Blogger Stickwick Stapers said...

Good idea, Phil. I like it. Only problem in this case was that the theater was packed.

Granted, going for the manager is kinda wimpy, but at the moment I thought I was preventing WWIII. My husband is a combat vet, and PTSD has left him with a short fuse and itchy fists.

7/10/2008 4:48 PM  

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