When I was a kid in the 1950s all authority figures, including parents, friend’s parents, neighbors, teachers, school principles, ministers, Catholic nuns, and police officers, made their expectations for our deportment, (A fancy word for behavior found on elementary school report cards.), abundantly clear.
Secondly, there was no confusion about whether consequences would rain down on any bad judgment we might partake in. With this moral compass system in place, we complied and avoided all kinds of trouble.
I call this system of behavior management COMPLIANCE.
The problem today is many young people growing up in our current world are not taught the value of compliance.
Today, kids learn all about political correctness as do their authority figures. Kids often think they, not authority figures, are in charge. Many authority figures, especially parents and educators, are afraid to exert their authority. The fear to exert authority has reached a critical and comical level in our schools.
I have often heard young people tell authority figures, “You can’t make me …, I will call 911, or I will tell my parents and they will sue.”
These young people grow into adults who are ignorant about the compliance concept. In extreme cases, police officers are forced to shoot these societal compliance-failures.
For 20 plus years I walked in the boots of a police officer, so I have observed this scene repeated many times. Some citizens refuse to comply. They argue with the police officer. They physically charge the police officer wanting to fight even when the officers are pointing guns at them.
Once the shots ring out, the subject’s family comes out of the woodwork hoping for a deep-pocket payday with the help of a blood-thirsty lawyer. Often these family members are the same people who failed to teach their loved one about compliance or to report them as a dangerous off-meds mental patient ripe for creating tragedy for themselves and others. Family often does nothing until it is pay day.
All these thoughts flooded back into my mind when I discovered the empty shoes captured in my Photo 1.Photo 1: My strong sense of curiosity caused me to wonder why this pair of empty shoes was sitting in the middle of the landscape?
With further investigation, I figured it out what happened.
The sign in Photo 2 clearly communicates a behavioral expectation that anyone and everyone are to “EXIT ONLY”. For maximum redundant clarity regarding the expectation, the sign goes on to communicate, “DO NOT ENTER”.
The guy who formerly occupied the empty shoes, ignored the sign. He failed to comply.
Added to that he suffered under the common mistaken notion that our world revolves around him. In his mind, rules are meant for others and do not apply to him. The missing man proceeded to violate the sign by entering the parking lot backward.
The consequences? The property owner vaporized the violator. It is the only plausible explanation I can come up with on such short notice.
If we fail to teach our young people about expectations, discipline, compliance, and consequences there is no reason to expect that as our youth become adults they will figure out the importance of compliance.
Two equations flow from my described concept:
BEHAVIOR EXPECTATIONS + GOOD JUDGMENT + COMPLIANCE = POSITIVE CONSEQUENCES.
BEHAVIOR EXPECTATIONS + BAD JUDGMENT – COMPLIANCE = NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES.
When a police officer commands, DON’T MOVE OR I WILL SHOOT, some citizens will comply and some will not.
Those who comply will live and are free to question the police officer’s authority with his superior or by harnessing our court system.
Those who fail to comply are often injured or die.
While I certainly support the concept, “Question authority,” any intelligent person who has a desire to collect their Social Security, knows there is a proper time or place to question authority. The street is not the place.
Comply or die. This life lesson is as simple as that.
Ray R says
School principles… spelling issue or clever play on words?
Joseph G. Boyle says
You have a sharp eye. The correct spelling of school principal is easy to remember. My school principal, Wayne Webber, was my pal, so I know to end the word principal with pal.
Principles of life is what I learned in my principal’s office.
David Anderson says
There is, of course, a flip side to your argument that “bad judgment” is the exclusive purview of the non-compliant.
The designers of the Rental Inspection Program, the compliant city council, and the two supporters who’ve made their inane comments known in this publication being examples.
The largest wrongful death verdict in state history that has focused an unfortunate $15-million spotlight on our city is another, where ‘bad judgment’ was the unanimous decision of the jury in finding in favor of the family, the father in fact complying when he was shot.
Meanwhile, to receive a copy of the local Use of Force Policy and written evidence of when it was last reviewed – a Public Disclosure Request made this past July 15 – now, three months as of yesterday, for those documents I am still waiting.