When cell phone footage showing the events that took place at a Texas pool party went viral recently, opinions began to fly regarding every possible aspect of the case. Some said the officer in question was out of control, targeting only the black teens present while ignoring those who were white, and others said he was responding with a justified level of awareness and tension given the situation. When the officer then threw a girl to the ground for failing to follow his orders, even more opinions began to collide, with one side saying it was unnecessary force and the other praising his actions. Locals residing near the pool itself actually put up signs thanking the officer for his actions in an area where the overall feeling is that the teens are more than a little out of control themselves. Perhaps the most inflammatory moment was when the officer unholstered his weapon in response to the approach of a man who appeared to be reaching for his own weapon; when the officer drew his gun, the man ran off, and the officer immediately re-holstered his own gun. Yes, there are many, many opinions floating around the great interweb regarding these events, but the one in question today actually has nothing to do with the officer himself or whether or not the gun should ever have cleared leather. Today it’s about respect.
A meme is going around social media with an image from the aforementioned video footage depicting the girl on the ground with the officer kneeling over her. The caption is simple and to the point, stating it’s in response to all the people who have said “well, how would you feel if she was your kid?” The meme’s answer is simple: she wouldn’t be my kid. Regardless of your opinion of the officer’s actions, a simple fact remains, and it centers around the massive lack of respect displayed in the video. The boy who recorded it admitted the girl he considers his friend was “running her mouth” but quickly followed his statement up by saying she has the right to free speech and is, therefore, allowed to run her mouth. Say what?
As a part of what may well have been the very last generation to be taught the value of respect it has been all the more disturbing to me to bear witness to its rapid decline. Although I’ve worked hard teaching my own daughter respect it hasn’t escaped my notice that an alarming majority of her peers lack even the most basic tenets of respect. Gone are the days of granting anyone even the tiniest respect by doing things like holding doors or saying “please” and “thank you.” The idea of the current generation reaching for the apparently great heights of “sir” and “ma’am” is mind-boggling in its absurdity; we all know it isn’t going to happen, and yet we continue to hope it will occur.
Not to say there aren’t some kids out there who understand the value of being polite and respectful. When I spend time around the children of certain friends I’m treated to an endless stream of being referred to as “Miss Kat” – yes, it’s a Southern thing – and a litany of “yes ma’am” and “yes sir.” However, that’s the exception, not the rule. Most of the time we all listen in stunned silence as the children around us talk back, mouth off, and generally get away with all manner of rudeness and mayhem, all in the name of letting them find themselves and having what some see as the freedom to grow. A little voice cannot help but whisper that growth is in the direction of a generation of spoiled, entitled brats.
Now to age myself beyond my actual years. When I was a kid, I was carefully schooled in the importance of respecting my elders. I was taught, as I’ve instructed my own daughter, to address adults as “Mr.” and “Mrs.” and to sprinkle “sir” and “ma’am” liberally throughout my conversations. If I misbehaved I wasn’t put in a corner to think about my misdeeds or talked to in order to discover what feelings led to said behavior, I was spanked. It didn’t take much, either, for young me to figure out the correlation between bad behavior and the selection of a wooden spoon from the rack in the kitchen. Today the idea of spanking children is treated as tantamount to water boarding. How dare we even consider subjecting little Johnny to the strap, what horrible damage might we do to his young, vulnerable psyche!
The behavior shown in the Texas pool party video footage was a blatant display of disrespect. It doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you fall on when it comes to the officer’s reaction. Reality is, yes, she was “running her mouth” as her friend called it; not only that, she was purposefully standing over the officer as he attempted to deal with other teens present. She wasn’t walking by as she attempted to claim in interviews, she was getting in his face, purposefully inserting herself into the situation, and rubbing her lack of respect for authority into the officer’s face. She was disrespectful, and she’s being rewarded for it.
Of course, a lack of respect – and its praise, no less – has been perpetuated in the media for some time now. Decades ago some parents were disturbed by the behavior emulated in cartoons such as Spongebob Squarepants for its lack of respect – a concern mocked by many. Today the television, movie theaters, and even popular music are rife with examples of the joys of being disrespectful. In fact, the lack of respect goes beyond a lack and veers right into encouraging an all-out hatred of parents, law enforcement, and any and all forms of authority. Those who try to say there was authority-flouting going on in the 1970s are making a rather ridiculous comparison in severity, and yet they also make a good point. Who do they think is responsible for raising up this rude generation, after all?
The officer in question in this incident was first put on leave for the duration of the investigation and then ended up resigning. Was his own behavior out of control? Perhaps. Was the behavior of the teen in question out of control? Yes. Has she learned anything from her experience? Oh, yes. She’s learned that you can become an overnight sensation, a would-be star, for bad behavior. She’s being rewarded for being a brat; rewarded for her enormous lack of respect. Is no one concerned about the idea of these kids running the nation some day?
The call for a return to what is now seen as old-fashioned values has been made time and again. Countless editorials and op-ed pieces have been written on it, speeches have been made, prayers have been said. Sometimes it seems the general public fails to see the big picture. It would appear they don’t understand that a lack of discipline and, thus, a lack of respect, doesn’t just make your kid a brat, it makes them a menace. It creates situations like the one in Texas where a teenage girl feels entitled to run her mouth and physically get into the face and space of an officer trying to do his job. It creates situations where someone could easily be hurt or even killed, all due to a complete lack of respect. It’s also creating a nation destroying itself from within. We won’t need our enemies to crush us, we’re doing a bang-up job of ruining ourselves.
I recently overheard a child informing his parent he felt he was being disrespected. This after a lengthy display of his lack of respect for his parent, of course. Somehow I doubt he saw the irony. Listen up, kids. Respect is earned. You don’t stroll out of the womb deserving respect. You don’t get respect by being a bully; that’s called fear. Intimidation. Respect is something you earn, something you gain through experience, actions, and displays of your own good behavior. As you grow up you’ll either earn respect or throw it away with both hands. A shocking number of kids today are throwing it away, and they don’t care. They feel the world owes them everything, from money to cars to respect, and by god they’re going to get it, even if it means pitching a screaming, crying tantrum. Because we all know creating a scene and being unpleasant is a great way to earn the respect of our peers, right?
If you want respect, earn it. If you want to be respected, behave in a respectful manner. It’s an endless cycle. If you want your kids to show respect, you have to teach them. There’s something to be said for, yes, good, old-fashioned values, and good, old-fashioned discipline. Incidents like the one in Texas are taking place with increasing regularity, and all thanks to a glaring lack of respect.
Respect. Aretha had it right all along.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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