I was surprised to read about a man in Kosciusko County recently sentenced to 23 years in prison for a road rage incident that took place in 2016. That seemed like a steep punishment to me, until I read the article. The perpetrator, irritated at another driver, fired a gun at that driver and then rammed his car several times sending it off the road. When the County Sheriff’s Officer attempted to intercept him, he sideswiped the officer causing his airbags to deploy and knocking the officer unconscious. When another officer arrived, the angry driver used his truck to repeatedly ram the police cruiser. The renegade driver was finally subdued and taken into custody, but about a month later, he saw one of the original victims driving with his wife and after attempting to hit them “head on” was arrested again. Clearly someone has an anger management problem.
Maybe it’s my imagination, but lately, here in Terre Haute, I’ve seen more incidents of angry drivers then usual…honking, rudely waving, yelling, etc. Just yesterday, for example, I witnessed such an incident on 3rd street, and even though it didn’t involve me, I felt sorry for the hapless driver who irritated a speeding and accelerating driver by pulling onto the road in front of him at a sane speed. The speeding driver wasn’t shy about letting his displeasure out.
So many people seem to be walking around full of anger, looking for any excuse to erupt. Like pressure cookers ready to explode, all it takes is a small crack on the surface to get a destructive blast, and crackpots like this are all over the place. And this is in spite of the fact that most of us really have very little to be angry about. Unlike many people in history, we don’t have to work bone-crushing jobs that grind us down and kill us before we reach forty. We have food to eat, clothes to wear, roofs over our heads, family and friends. And yet, our discontent runs amok.
Since summer time is that season when many people take vacations, I’d like to offer a suggestion here. Let’s take a vacation from unwarranted anger.
If you hang around discontented people all the time, you will become discontented. Or crazy. Or both. The discontented tend to become angry, and we need to take a vacation from anger.
If you constantly relive the wrong’s you’ve endured, both imaginary and real, you will end up carrying a load of resentment. Resentful people become angry, and we need to take a vacation from anger.
If you fill your life with anxiety and never take a moment to unwind, you will become anxious. Anxious people become angry, and we need to take a vacation from anger.
There’s no way to avoid discontent, resentment, or anxiety. But we don’t have to cultivate these things until they produce a harvest of rage. Relax. It’s summer. Take a vacation…from anger. And one more thing: when you’re on the road, please try to be nice.