I was in the office at the end of my shift today, when a gentleman came in to protest a ticket he had received earlier for parking facing the wrong way in an angled space - i.e. he had backed in. What's wrong with that? Well, it was on a very busy street, first of all, and he had to cross the double yellow lines to get into the spot that way which is a moving violation (and he'd have to do that again to get out), he'd also be pulling out into oncoming traffic which on that street can be extremely treacherous and defies common sense, and quite simply, it's a violation of the vehicle code! Well, he has a very large vehicle (oh yeah?) and he would have a terrible blind spot (I think he already does) if he pulled in forward, etc, etc and blah, blah, blah.
The woman at the window told him to take a protest form and fill it out. He kept yammering on that he thought it was a chintzy (his word) ticket and he should be allowed to park his truck the way he did. I thought, the arrogance of this man. The self-righteousness. He didn't care that he was doing the wrong thing, it should be allowed dammit because it was him doing it! Well, I guess we've all felt this way at one time or another. Maybe. I hope not. Because this kind of attitude is a poison in our society. I don't have to follow the rules but everyone else does, and should! Man, if we all felt like that and acted upon it, think of the utter chaos that would create. It's not too crazy to imagine that anarchy would ensue. I'm not a huge fan of Rudy Giuliani but he had a good idea while he was Mayor of New York City. He kept a tight lid on a lot of the smaller crimes, the minor infractions and it worked. Bigger crime did actually go down. He knew that people who have the attitude that it's okay to do this little thing soon started thinking it's okay to do this slightly bigger thing. And on and on.
I might be making too much of this. Probably I am. This guy didn't look like a criminal, just a jackass, and I don't think he'd be personally responsible for the end of polite society as we know it (tenuous as it seems right now anyway). But look around. This attitude is everywhere. Self-righteousness. It's there in government, in our sports figures, in our business leaders, in religious leaders, for cryin' out loud! Who says this is okay? What philosophy gets behind this kind of behavior? Is there anyone who sits down, self-reflects and says, you know what? I was wrong. I'm still wrong and I'm not going to do that again. It's rare to see that in this job, I can tell you. It's rare to see it in America in 2010.