Saturday, June 13, 2009

General gripes

At Schlitterbahn, I witnessed an ugly confrontation between and old man and a life guard. The old man was observing the area close to a lifeguard station. An important station, where kids would try to go up into the chute to catch the big waves as they came out, dangerous. Toward the end of the day, the lifeguards were blowing whistles constantly. No real authority, but tried to keep it moving. We saw several lifeguards at that station while we were floating around and some were more active than others. Anyway, the old man wanted to make a complaint with the lifeguard’s supervisor, which he did and made the lifeguard mad. Words were said, ugly words. The lifeguard, all of 18, threatened to whip the old man’s ass. His supervisor helped him back off, but seriously – the old man called him lazy, which I’m not sure about, but I did notice the lifeguard not being as quick as others in that station with the whistle. And the old dude was right. That is an important job. One lapse, one slip letting kids get away with being stupid and they’re going to try to be stupider. Blowing the whistle on the minor stuff keeps them trying to get away with the minor stuff. Letting it slide gets them to want to do worse. Just watching and observing the lifeguards, especially in the kiddie area – those are important jobs. Water can be very dangerous. So there were probably better ways of handling it, but old dude was probably right to complain to the supervisor. Lifeguard should have accepted the criticism and done better next time. As it is, he quit or was fired. Not the best end to the situation.
Another thing that broke and we saw on the news was the old lady being tasered by the cop in Austin. I don’t know how that could have played to be more palatable, but seriously. How many times does a cop have to ask someone to do something before there are consequences? The lady refused to comply 9 times. What’s the limit? Old ladies, drug addicts, criminals with guns? He gave her plenty of opportunity to comply. Dude’s a cop. Do the immediate, then deal later, but comply. What lesson is that teaching? I recognize my usual aligning with authority, but I don’t see how that could have been handled differently. Did we want to see -him physically manhandling her? Pulling his gun? Calling for back-up? Letting her go? Not a good message. I think even the announcer on CNN was a little confused about it. It sounds bad, but seriously – 9 times told to do something and still refused? Where is the line?

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