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“Fighting is What Rednecks Do”

I had not been to our South Carolina office in a while. So, when I started into the parking lot, I couldn’t help but notice the surrounding brick wall outside the office,  had crumbled in an unusual way. It  looked like a car had tried to ram through the wall.

When I came in, I asked one of the paralegals, “what happened to the wall out there?” She tilted her head and shook it with a grin. “Well” she said, “a man without a shirt came racing through the parking lot and then pulled around into the road. Then, for some reason, he went back up on to the curb and halfway went through the brick wall”.

Now my curiosity was in full question mark mode. Why, how, who and what happened? In short, the man opened the car door after impact. His leg was now going in a couple different directions. But, he didn’t seem in pain as he sat there and refused to get out of the car or do anything. Almost like maybe it would all just go away.

Soon, a Greenville policeman came up but the man kept hollering to just leave him alone. This, all right outside our office windows, which explains the ability to see that he was driving without shirt. Finally, he agreed to get out of the car for emergency treatment. The officer apparently collected beer and pill bottles, which might be explanation and evidence about the erratic driving, sitting and arguing.

All that seems a bit strange, but so does the fact that the landlord has allowed the hole, bricks and wiring to just remain over one of the parking spaces, for over 2 months without anything being done. Something to do with an uneven foundation, non-matching bricks and required replacement of about 25 feet of brick wall.

Right now, I’m fascinated to see what will happen next. My guess is a continuing hole in the brick for at least another year. This sequence of events reminded me a little bit about the Florida guy that thought it was OK to fire a gun in his own yard.

Mark Wach of Palm City could not understand why the officer was arresting him for firing a gun at a lawn mower that was in his own yard. The man originally had argued with his son; Pointed a pistol and then a shotgun at his son and then jumped on top of his son, after the son had wrestled the guns away from him. All this, after the man had opened gunfire on the mower.

When the police came, they ordered the intoxicated man to stop fighting and to surrender to the deputy.  He failed to do so and refused to cooperate until the police shocked him with a taser. Finally, they got him under control and arrested him.

As he was headed off to jail, he kept asking the officer why he was arresting him. They tried to explain to him that you can’t fight and also fire a gun in your neighborhood, including at a lawn mower. He argued that, “Fighting is what redneck people do”.

The arrest report did not indicate if he shot a riding or push mower.  Can’t you see why that story reminds me of the brick driver with a pretzel leg?

Pic O’ Day is really a cartoon. Something to think about!

Points On A License

      Do you know how many points that you get for reckless driving? How about if you fail to get your car inspected? When do points begin to impact your ability to be licensed or get insurance?   

     If you think back to Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, you might remember  Sawyer being faced with the unpleasant job of painting his aunt’s fence. In fact, when Tom’s friend, Ben, comes walking by and begins making fun of him, Tom came up with an idea. He convinces Ben that he is excited about painting this fence.

     Sawyer is so convincing that Ben even asks if he could maybe add a few paint strokes. Tom refuses. Ben then trades an apple for the right to paint and soon, in the story, several more boys arrive and fall into this trap. The fence is painted by everyone but Tom.

     In the 1970’s, two psychologists decided to analyze motivation by conducting  a study on school children. It was then published in a book titled “The Hidden Costs of Rewards“. 

     The Psychologists divided the students into three groups. The first group was shown a “Good Player” certificate with their name on it. They were told that they would receive this, if they would draw a picture.

     The second group was not promised any “Good Player” certificate. This group was simply asked to draw. At the conclusion, they were then presented with an unexpected certificate, with their name on it, as a reward for their drawing.

     Again, independently from the other two groups, the third group was asked to just draw. At the completion of the period, the drawings were collected and nothing was ever mentioned about a reward.

     Two weeks later, back in the same classroom, the three groups were all together. Papers and markers were set out during the preschool play period. The psychologists/researchers sat back and watched.

     Those in groups 2 and 3 gravitated to the paper and began drawing. Those that had been in group 1, showed less interest in the paper and markers and showed a noticeable difference in spending less time in drawing.

     The topic of the book and findings of their studies, including the student drawing study, was  much like the fence in Tom Sawyer. “If then” rewards repeatedly snuffed out motivation. In that limited study, play had been turned to work. 

     This same type of study was done in England, involving blood donors. British Sociologist Richard Titmuss found that participants were more willing to give blood, when it had more to do with giving, than with receiving some kind of renumeration for donating. I have attached his book, which postulates that this same thought process should go into the consideration for policy.

     These type of studies do fascinate me and I readily admit that I’m not sure of these considerations and their application to law. I guess that would be a good doctorate dissertation paper. Motivation that portrays play instead of work has been classified by Daniel Pink as the “Sawyer effect”.

     I have noticed that the concept of driving points, on a license, seems to be meaningless. Perhaps it’s sole creation is to help insurance companies determine what your insurance premium should be. I wonder, though, whether a moving violation has anything to do with insurability. I would think that just because you happened to go through Emporia twice, and get a speeding ticket on Route 95, would have little bearing on whether you are a safe driver.

     Do people need the punishment of driving points and the threat of driving school, to cause them to drive more safely? Does a trucker need a “Golden Driver” certificate, to operate his rig in a safe fashion.

     My guess is that, we might just learn from these motivation/reward studies that people would drive more safely, if they just were encouraged about the good that they were doing, just by doing the speed limit. Maybe Mark Twain would have been a good driving Commissioner. I’ll bet his buggy didn’t have any fence dents.

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