Latham: The path of barbarism through your town | Opinion
narcissism

Latham: The path of barbarism through your town | Opinion

I was driving down the main street of my little town when I saw the young man on the motorcycle screaming at a woman in a Lincoln Continental.

It is a busy street, at least for us. It’s especially so during the time that school dismisses — the time I was passing through — but within 30 minutes the traffic is back to normal.

Busy or not, drivers screaming at one another is not the norm here so I was paying attention, ready to, uh, “do something” if the man did something more than scream. Given the veins bulging in his neck, that seemed entirely possible.

Reality check time came to me quickly. Just what the heck was I going to do? The younger guy — probably in late 20s — could have made me a muddy spot in the road with little effort. I knew this but I can’t say it would have stopped me from trying.

Wait — there’s always 911, right?

I have a distinct aversion to men screaming and making obscene gestures at women. In the battle between the sexes, women almost always lose when fists start flying.

The motorcyclist was wearing a “2020” cap supporting a certain presidential candidate. I’ll let you figure out which one. He was angry. It could have been the circumstances or perhaps he is angry most all the time.

Anger seems to be a growing trend.

I’m not sure when public displays of anger became not only acceptable but the hip and edgy thing to do. Maybe manners have become just too sissified. Toughen up, buttercup.

As I pulled up to the Lincoln I saw the woman — most likely near 60 years old — was screaming back at Mr. 2020.

I wanted to tell her it might have been best just to let the sociopath be. Fighting stupidity with stupidity has been tried many times and it never fails to fail.

We came to a stoplight and Mr. 2020 jumped off his bike and purposefully strode back to the Lincoln. I had my telephone ready to call the police when he screamed a single obscene phrase, gave that gesture again, walked back to his bike, mounted and slowly rode off.

He never stopped showing off his middle finger for the world to see. He was a tough guy. Very tough. He was no snowflake, by golly.

The woman kept a respectable distance behind him at this point and I turned off. I’m assuming everyone got home in one piece.

Both of these people had lost control and came close to losing their senses. What sort of man tries to physically intimidate a woman twice his age? Why would the woman nudge him on by yelling back?

Some will try to point to the age in which we are living. They will claim our morality has gone kaput. Video games, godless schools and liberals will all be blamed.

I’d contend, though, this has nothing to do with our present age. No, this is much more like ancient Rome. We think of Rome as well civilized. Well, no. It was the edge of barbarism.

Or maybe this was more like Genghis Khan’s era, where it didn’t matter what happened to those who opposed you. Death, as painfully as possible, was the favored outcome.

The truth is, civilization didn’t really begin to take place until after Christianity took root. You don’t have to be one bit religious to see that.

If you think the church hasn’t always been civilized, you’re right. But just read Plutarch’s, “Lives of the Caesars” and you will instantly see the difference. It’s a thin little book and you won’t even have to read the entire thing to get the message.

It’s enough to convince you that civilization is not advancing but regressing. A reset is needed. Christianity provides a road map.

I’m not proselytizing. Even most of those who don’t believe in any god follow many of the tenets of Christianity — at least over barbarism.

We know this path toward ever-increasing anger and hate is the wrong way. The question is, when will we change directions?

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