Second Curmudgeonly Entry in a Row
There is a direct relationship to people’s behavior and the level of anonymity that an activity allows them. The more open the situation, the less venal people’s behavior . The “comments” on YouTube videos is one of the most obvious examples–in fact, almost any on-line, anonymous activity is the best example; but it’s obvious as well when we are hidden in our cars.
There was an incident a few years ago on the corner of Cleveland and Fir in which two drivers contested whose turn it was at a four-way stop. In this case, the aggressiveness that drivers feel when cocooned in their cars spilled out onto the road and one of the drivers stabbed the other with a screw driver. There is nothing all that anonymous about stabbing someone with a screw driver, but would the incident have happened if the men had not first been inside their cars.
That same attitude is visible at almost every intersection that has a red light, and yesterday a woman came through a light that had been red for three seconds which translated for her into more than thirty feet as she was approaching the red light: she had a young child in the car.
What went through her mind? Did she think, “No one ever has accidents running red lights, so I am completely safe”? Those were probably not her thoughts. When we are unseen, we don’t have to think at all because no one is watching. No one challenges.