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Squirt-gun offense
February 17, 2005 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Its real simple - break the rules with no consequences. Usually the crimes you commit are small - but the trick is that they can add up. I hate it when I am the victim of these little trangressions a lot. There must be a way to punish these mini-evil-doers. After playing with this idea for a long time I've come up with a name for it -- the "Squirt-gun offense".
posted by Mwongozi (27 comments total)

 
I say why not? I mean, it works for cats, so why not for rude people?
posted by sotonohito at 12:39 PM on February 17, 2005


Brilliant.

I, too, am really annoyed by these petty criminals that get away with their criminal behavior every day (OK, some of it is just rude, not criminal).

Like the jerks on the bus that take up two seats. They deserve a squirt in the face. Or something.
posted by teece at 12:47 PM on February 17, 2005


So who's gonna turn the firehose on Rob Cockerham?

I for one think this guy worries a little too much about what other people are getting away with. In the immortal words of Charlie Sheen, to Ferris Beuller's sister, "so why don't you cut?"
posted by gurple at 12:49 PM on February 17, 2005


Can't find the original article but apparently a Houston Chronicle story:
"In a complaint filed Feb. 11, Dana Adkins -- who teaches math at the school -- told police that Ripke had surprised her son by shooting him in the chest with the water pistol during class. ... She was issued a citation alleging Class C assault."

So while you may not be convicted of a crime I'm not sure I buy the author's premise that you won't have complaints (or charges) filed against you.

Not that the thought isn't satisfying, though.

 
posted by spock at 12:51 PM on February 17, 2005


Welcome to planet earth - where small crimes are unpunishable. Or, more precisely, where retaliation for small crimes can be more expensive than the crime itself.

I thought society was supposed to self-correct stuff like this. If it's big enough to make retaliation worthwhile, then it gets punished by the system, and if it's small enough to fall under the radar, then it gets corrected by peers through various subtle means.

Then again, I guess a squirt gun might as well be one of those means. Goodness knows shame, public embarrasment, being yelled at and getting punched in the nose don't seem to cover all bases.

Trouble is, the means that the average person has at their disposal is also at the disposal of other members of society (except perhaps the punch-in-the-nose thing); if you call out someone's bad behavior to embarrass them, they might just get right back in your face and say something that embarrasses you -- and so our fears of other society members correcting US prevents us from applying the standard small-misbehavior corrections we'd like to use.

So if you plan to shoot people with a squirt gun, wear a raincoat.
posted by davejay at 1:12 PM on February 17, 2005


I was a frequent squirter. I used to walk from SF's Embarcadero Station to Green St along Battery, about 10 or so blocks. I would frequently have near death experiences as cars would stop in if not over the crosswalk. That gets you the last 3 gulps of my morning coffee on your windshield.

So who's gonna turn the firehose on Rob Cockerham?
I was at his "How much is in a keg" party. I got free beer and was a participant to Science. I'd never hose him.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:22 PM on February 17, 2005


"In a complaint filed Feb. 11, Dana Adkins -- who teaches math at the school -- told police that Ripke had surprised her son by shooting him in the chest with the water pistol during class. ... She was issued a citation alleging Class C assault."

Perhaps Class C means "Can you believe somebody bothered to report this?"

When I was in grade school (Chicago Public) I had an 8th grade teacher who threw things. Tennis balls, golf balls, and baseballs. He threatened more than he threw, but oh boy did he throw. He was an ex-baseball player.

The thing is, he always warned kids that he was going to do it if the bad behavior didn't stop, and if they didn't listen, he followed through. He never threw hard; the only thing injured was the kid's pride, as the rest of the class would laugh.

He was also painfully fair; even though I was a good student and rarely a troublemaker, he got me once when I wasn't paying attention (he warned me, but I didn't hear it, as I was distracted by being a jackass) and bounced a tennis ball off the desk right in front of my face. Shut me up.

Among my fond memories of the class:

- Inner-city kids started bussing into our fairly isolated and outlying school, and there was much racial tension at first. My old teacher's method for breaking the tension was to pull out a golf ball (which had one side magic-markered black) and announce that he didn't care who was what color, because if anyone caused trouble he would hit them with whichever side of the golf ball would match.

- Once a kid in the front row wouldn't stop talking during a lecture, and was blatantly ignoring the teacher. Our teacher leaned back in his chair, sighed deeply, and sent another kid to the back of the room with a pencil. He then directed the student to make a pencil 'X' on the back wall in a specific place. Once that was done, he warned the kid in the front row one last time, and was ignored -- so (still leaning back in his chair) he let a tennis ball fly to the back of the room. It hit the 'X', then hit the kid in the front row right in the back of the head.

Good times. I learned a lot. ;)

On preview:

I was a frequent squirter.

Too much information.
posted by davejay at 1:25 PM on February 17, 2005


Did anyone else at first think that he was going to be pissed at the bossy hotel employee, not the guy eating the donut?

I personally think there are too many people walking around who think of themselves as the last honest person. At least once a week I hear someone acting as judge and jury on some small action another person has taken, assuming that that they understand everyone's motivations and the offender was willfully intending to do wrong. Example: this morning a woman unintentionally cut people in the Dunkin Donuts line and got screamed at as if she'd commited a felony.
posted by Cassford at 1:33 PM on February 17, 2005


Inner-city kids started bussing
I was a frequent squirter.

This is a disgusting thread...
posted by OhPuhLeez at 1:41 PM on February 17, 2005


Maakies on orange squirt guns
posted by anthill at 1:52 PM on February 17, 2005


Cassford, well said.

It is especially aggravating when people hone and nurse their pet peeves and think of anyone who hits one of them as having committed a crime. To me, cultivating a pet peeve is like telling the world "look here, this is one of my buttons, go ahead and press it, I promise I'll react." It is simply foolish and unhealthy to be so rigid.
posted by Invoke at 2:03 PM on February 17, 2005


I would totally have squirted the annoying person on the bus with the headphones so crap I could make out the lyrics to whatever pseudo-metal she was listening too from three seats away. And the insane person who truly believed you can and should put entire paragpraphs as options in drop-down boxes. And that's just in the last couple hours - I'm off to the the toystore. Any recommendations on brands?
posted by Sparx at 2:04 PM on February 17, 2005


My dad is a high school teacher, and he used to have what he called his "nuclear squirt gun" (actually a spray bottle) that he used on kids who fell asleep in his class. People knew about it and it was all in good fun.

That's been retired, though...I don't think he could get away with doing that these days.
posted by SisterHavana at 2:06 PM on February 17, 2005


I don't have much tolerance for line-cutters. They seem to be everywhere (at least in NY). It's really not that hard to figure out if there's a line for something - it just takes a very tiny bit of effort. That said, there's no reason to chew a cutter's head off, as you never know whether it was a mistake or not (intentional cutters almost always use this to their advantage).

Interestingly, I use a squirt gun to curb my cat's behavior...never thought to try it with humans.
I'd probably just get my ass kicked alot, or end up saying sorry alot for jumping the (squirt) gun.
posted by hellbient at 2:14 PM on February 17, 2005


jumping the (squirt) gun.

heh heh. It's just as rife in Boston. But I've always thought the easiest thing to do is say in a non-accusatory way "Excuse me, we're all in line [gestures at line including self] ." Generally the cutter sheepishly heads to the end saying "sorry, I didn't realize" or something like that. I'm sure some of them are intentionally trying to cut. I prefer to think it is small some days (other days...well).

Now, when the cutter replies "Hey, eff you buddy, mind your own business," which also happens, then I say a lynching is in the offing.
posted by Cassford at 2:25 PM on February 17, 2005


RAH's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is big on capital punishment for extreme rudeness. Do something anti-social and you'd be cycled out the nearest airlock sans pressure suit. 'Course a high percentage of newbies were shown the door but those that remained were very polite.
posted by Mitheral at 2:46 PM on February 17, 2005


heh heh. It's just as rife in Boston. But I've always thought the easiest thing to do is say in a non-accusatory way "Excuse me, we're all in line [gestures at line including self] ." Generally the cutter sheepishly heads to the end saying "sorry, I didn't realize" or something like that. I'm sure some of them are intentionally trying to cut. I prefer to think it is small some days (other days...well).

I think this gets to the authors point, Cassford. Sure, some people do it by mistake. But, the author is also probably correct that a lot of people do it on purpose. What's the draw-back? They get shorter lines, and once in a while some one calls them on it, and they go to the back of the line. It's win-tie.

But, while I love the idea, I realize that davejay is also right. This is no solution. It's actually a symptom of a much deeper problem: our culture is somewhat in a state of flux/broken.
posted by teece at 2:49 PM on February 17, 2005


? How is our culture broken ? I think that's a little too dire a conclusion to draw from the article author's very wise observation that a lot of people are willing to lie to get ahead especially when the penalties for being caught are near zero.

If all you have to worry about is this sort of thing, I think your culture is in great shape.
posted by anthill at 2:59 PM on February 17, 2005


I think this is a marvelous idea. (Although, I have to say, I seldom get annoyed to the point where I'd want to squirt someone, and would find carrying around a water pistol inconvenient... But I'd like to think I'd actually use it now and again.) I think the flux/broken thing might be stabilized/mended if people had a sense of humor about these things. Like squirting people with a water pistol when they engage in assholery.
posted by Specklet at 4:15 PM on February 17, 2005


Some points:
1. It was not a crime for him to walk past the security guards at the trade show. There's no law that says you have to obey every overeager Dudley Do Right gaurd who has a fake badge and a cheap polyester uniform. I can't count the number of times I've blown off one of those silly asses.
2. I definently agree that more people need to get a sense of humor.
3. Having said that about a sense of humor I have to add that if one of you all squirt me because I've offended your sense of propriety by making some minor infraction I gaurantee you that you will end up eating that squirtgun.
posted by berek at 4:55 PM on February 17, 2005


How is our culture broken?

I had to run out before I could finish my thought, anthill, and leave it at that. Our culture (American) is very much in a state of flux. These kind of things, in a more established culture, would most certainly be taken care of by "the people." In an old, homogenous, rural culture, the little transgressions are easily remedied by people enforcing "good" behavior. (You but in line at the corner store, your neighbor knows you and has no problem straightening you out, in the older/small/homogenous culture).

In America, much of the culture is newer, non-homogenous, and urban. Thus, on some little things (and some big things), the ability for the culture to enforce norms is broken. In many cases, we can't even agree an norms, let alone enforce them.

That's all I meant.
posted by teece at 6:30 PM on February 17, 2005


I wonder if this is not to do with urbanization (along the lines teece set). In a small-town or even tribal setting, it's hard to get away with behavior like this, because you get a reputation, but these days we don't know 80% (random statistic) of the people we see.

I'm of the lobby that says you should say something (politely) to the person or quit whining.
posted by Eideteker at 8:52 PM on February 17, 2005


Do we get to squrt people for compulsive whining as well?

If this got popular, I'd just carry my own, bigger squirt gun and sqirt people back.
posted by delmoi at 10:17 PM on February 17, 2005


I guarantee you that you will end up eating that squirtgun.

Yeah I was gonna say something similar. People shoot each other over traffic disputes and the like. I would be pretty careful who I squirted with a water pistol, as they might want to answer with their Smith & Wesson pistol.
posted by fixedgear at 2:05 AM on February 18, 2005


I wish it were that easy.

What if I get a squirt gun, and start using it on You, yes You, every day, and for no reason whatsoever.
posted by mitocan at 2:51 AM on February 18, 2005


Berek, got to differ with you on one point:
1. It was not a crime for him to walk past the security guards at the trade show. There's no law that says you have to obey every overeager Dudley Do Right gaurd who has a fake badge and a cheap polyester uniform. I can't count the number of times I've blown off one of those silly asses.
You're comparing security guards to cops, and in that regard, they don't have near the authority. However, in the context of a piece of physical property, they represent the owners, and if you go somewhere they have asked you not to, you can be charged with trespassing. If they get in your face and you take the bait, then they've got you for assault.
posted by Pliskie at 9:55 AM on February 18, 2005


...and, not to discourage, but sometimes security guards are off-duty cops. Or, perhaps even scarier, out of work cops.
posted by hellbient at 11:07 PM on February 18, 2005


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