Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A Story about Attitude

I want to tell you story. Last night I was at the Academy and one of our instructors told us this. He said that one day he was visiting a California Youth Authority facility (like State Prison for people under 25). He was talking to some of the kids there and got to talking with one in particular. He was 15 years old and he was on his 8th stint at the CYA. The kid then started talking about all the times he had the opportunity to kill a cop. Many times he was armed and ready in the back seat while the officer was talking to the driver. He had the ability to take that officer's life at any time. Other kids began to pipe in with similar stories.

Our instructor asked them why they never took the shot. The kid said that it was because that cop treated them with respect. He didn't hassle them, talk down to them, or insult them. He was professional and courteous and he'll never know it, but that allowed him to go home to his family that night. Stories like this really make you think about how you handle yourself out there (or if you're like me, how you plan to handle yourself).

Sometimes a situation will call for an intense and aggressive response right away. But many times, I think we can diffuse potentially deadly scenarios with an easy-going and respectful manner. Believe me, I doubt anyone hates teenagers more than I do, but you can bet that if I ever stop a car full of them, I'm going to be quite willing to be the nice cop now (at least until I get the driver out of the car and on to the curb away from his loser thug friends. Then if he wants to rumble, it's on like Donkey Kong).

So, this is just a little food for thought. Sometimes the way you behave will have consequences that you may never even know about until it's too late.

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