Going to our local grocery store is an experience in open mindedness.
On Tuesday, a young man hurtled through the front doors with a man in pursuit. The front-runner was an athletic 19-year-old and could have outrun the Loss Prevention guy, if he hadn’t run right in front of a car.
He put his hands out, bouncing off the hood of a red Honda, then skimming along the pavement on his belly, leaving elbow-skin on the asphalt.
Of course, a group of gawkers gathered to watch and I unabashedly took my place among them. Four police cars arrived in minutes. I never did get a good look at what the young guy had five-fingered from the store.
But it was the lady next to me who was the most interesting among the hubbub. She bitterly railed about the police brutality in this small town.
“Huh?” I said, watching the officers gently bandage the shoplifter. I’d lived here years and never seen a thing. I immediately felt sorry for myself. I’m always missing out on the exciting events around here.
Oh….this was a hotbed of cop conspiracy she stated. She felt:
- Young folks shouldn’t be tricked. Officers in stores should be in uniform, not plain clothes, so young folks know they’re being watched
- They shouldn’t be chased if they run. (because an accident like this could happen)
- They shouldn’t be in handcuffs. (it’s embarrassing)
The older I get, the less stupidity I can tolerate. I didn’t even try to muzzle myself. I pointed out the consequences of her statements. But the credo of her beliefs was: Every young person makes mistakes.
She saw the police waiting to ticket a motorist speeding through a school zone as sneaky. And officers calling parents, if they found their kids out past curfew, was a form of harassment. She looked like David Letterman’s mother, but with anger and distrust and a big scowl. We had a pretty exciting discussion.
That’s when I realized that some people have their minds made up, and no matter what happens, they interpret it according to mindset. They color events and file them as further proof to what they already believe
I would dig around in the root cellar of my own attitudes, but I’m afraid of what I’d find.
Sigh…I guess that’s why I need to keep going to the grocery store.
A week later, I interviewed the store manager and found out the young man had been shoplifting condoms. He put up quite a struggle and had run twice. The account above (which I saw) is the second escape. And the woman who was railing about how mean the police were?
She came inside and began bitterly badmouthing the store’s manager. She said nothing about the police. I guess it’s everyone’s fault except the shoplifter?