I have come to the conclusion that we (being society in general) do not have a [insert hot button issue here] problem , but what we have is an ANGER problem (we also have employment and financial problems, but I can’t fix that). Everybody seems so angry! And the worst part is when angry people act out in some stupid or violent way and everyone is like “It’s because of this! It’s because of that! It’s because of that guy!” No, it’s because of anger.
So, how do we fix today’s anger problem? Eat healthy, improve education & exercise more (also improve jobs, but again I’m not touching that one). OR start introducing citizen timeouts to society.
Citizen’s timeouts would be similar to citizen’s arrests but better. They would be like the timeouts you experienced as a child, but your peers determine whether you are in the need of one (honestly it would be way too hard to get our kindergarten and 1st grade teachers to follow us around all the time). They would be used to correct negative and socially unpleasant behaviors.
Public places could all have a timeout area and it wouldn’t even require any government funding. Does the room have a corner? Cool, you’re all set.
Now there should obviously be some rules laid out on what warrants a timeout and how long it should last, and they should probably be standardized in order to avoid confusion when crossing county lines.
Since I’m the founder of this grassroots compaign and I expect it to become super popular (and effective!), here are some of my ideas:
Grounds for a Timeout and Suggested Length of Sentence
- Temper tantrum (5 minutes): A temper tantrum is most easily recognized as an angry verbal response to not getting one’s way. Hot zones include: anywhere with lines. (Waiting in line really seems to set-off a lot of temper tantrums, especially at theme parks)
- Intentional Rudeness (5 minutes): Cutting lines (seriously just relax and wait your turn), interrupting, farting in enclosed spaces, walking in the middle of a parking lot aisle and stopping in the middle of a walkway can all be considered acts of intentional rudeness. However, everyone is accidentally rude sometimes so enforcement of this may be tricky. Fortunately every phone is already equipped with a camera so visual confirmation of rudeness is as easy as taking a selfie, except outward…what are pictures of other people called again? (Themfies?)
- Public Nuisance (10 minutes): Flashing, scratching one’s balls, talking during the movies/plays/concert, unnecessarily creating a scene in public places (ie: bars, restaurants), blaring music or setting off fireworks after midnight (exception: New Year’s Eve), and hitting on someone who is way out of your league are all examples of public nuisance. Given the fact that your parents should have already taught you to not be a nuisance, this offense warrants a stiffer punishment.
- Offensive speech (10 minutes): The government can’t enforce speech restrictions, but I’m not opposed to citizens holding each other accountable. The guideline should be pretty easy: if it’s not something you’d say in front of your grandma, then you don’t say it to strangers. No calling random women “bitch” or random men “asshole” and of course there’s a long list of no-no words (the kind that get your mouth washed out with soap or fined by the NFL). If you call a friend “hooker” and they’re not offended then feel free to continue. But in public you better address strangers politely and without name calling or you’ll find yourself in the corner.
- Hitting (15 minutes): Again, this is something that’s covered before kindergarten and still seems to be an issue these days. Don’t hit people. I don’t care if they called your Mama fat, they’re already in the corner for 15 minutes (multiple offenses can add time to your timeout, in that case it would be intentional rudeness and offensive speech). Ladies, you’re not exempt from this either. Slapping, hair pulling, punching, kicking, pinching: these are all punishable actions. No she shouldn’t have kissed your man, but that doesn’t make it ok.
Ok so that’s the groundwork. I’m sure as this catches on the list will grow and probably include some more specific guidelines. Improper cell phone use and bullying will need to be considered and eventually the timeout concept should extend to include driving offenses & internet comments (let’s put ALL the trolls in timeout!)
It’s all in the draft stage right now, but I think it’s ready to be beta tested. Yes, I know this won’t stop people who are generally mean and dangerous, it’s not the solution to world peace after all, but I do think it will really think this will ultimately improve public interactions. Eventually the people who repeatedly act up will get tired of being sent to a corner and learn to be civil. (Miss Manners will be so proud of us).
Plus there’s the added bonus that people will end up less angry and therefore less likely to kill each other so we can stop those tiresome [insert hot button issue here] debates. (Ha-ha, that’ll never happen, we love arguing with each other)
Or just maybe we’ll re-learn how to treat each other like people instead of obstacles that we navigate around in our insular hamster balls. And that, folks, is what I call a win/win!