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CHARLES WESTBROOK: A lack of respect is the main issue

GUEST COMMENTARY: Exhibiting mutual respect would go a long way toward stopping tragic deaths

Charles Westbrook

Charles Westbrook

Over the past few weeks the news has reported loss of life as a result of what some refer to as “petty” offenses. A young man was shot in a Florida theater for throwing popcorn. A young female was shot while in a car with several others after vandalizing someone’s car. Another young man was shot while in a car for supposedly playing music too loudly.

These are tragic deaths that affect the families and friends of both the deceased and the aggressor. And as usual, there are some who want to exploit these tragic deaths to advocate more “gun controls.”

However, the point that seems to be missing in these recent and even past news stories is the fact that some of these victims may not be totally blameless. I am not trying to excuse the aggressors. I am only pointing out that we need to consider another point of view so that some of these senseless deaths are avoided in the future.

What if these victims had reacted differently in their specific circumstances? Consider what the results would have been if the young man in the theater had simply said excuse me, and then stepped out into the hallway with his cell phone to conduct his communications? What if the young man in the car with the loud music had said excuse me, and turned the sound down?

Many of these victims have shown a lack of respect for others’ space, a lack of respect for others’ property, and the aggressive survivors may have demonstrated a lack of respect for human life. These disrespectful actions clearly demonstrate a self-centered and demeaning attitude toward others.

We need to have more respect for each other. If you are in a public place, be aware of your surroundings and treat others with the respect that you would want in return. If you are asked in a respectful way to change something that may be irritating to others, be respectful, be polite, and make the change.

If you react with an aggressive self-centered response, the result could be someone losing their life. Escalating tempers and reactions have already been demonstrated by those who feel they can bully others in our schools. It has already been demonstrated by those who feel they own the roads by driving slowly in the left-hand lane, or by those who drive aggressively on our highways by tailgating. These are foolish acts that can result in road rage, or even tragic deaths.

Demands for more “gun controls” are not the answer. Those who support this position are not only using ridiculous terminology, but they are showing their lack of knowledge and understanding for the Second Amendment. They are also showing a shallow-minded approach for not focusing on what is actually causing these shootings.

No gun has ever jumped off the shelf, loaded itself and shot someone. It is not the gun, or even the type of gun, causing someone to be shot. The overwhelming issues are the mental instability of the person pulling the trigger, the lack of respect for others and the lack of respect for human life.

Charles Westbrook has been a resident of Albany for the past 12 years. He is a retired bank consultant and past president and vice president of the River Pointe Neighborhood Association.