Why The Hell Do I Care What Some Idiot From Florida Thinks?

I post frequently at a couple of online forums. Most of the talk is about Macintosh computers, at least that's the major reason the sites exist, but there are sections that talk about politics, society and other decidedly non-computer related subjects.

There is a guy who lives in Florida who first came to my attention when, at age 20 he claimed that the 21 year old drinking age was nothing short of discrimination and that as a legally under-aged person he was being subjected to Draconian laws specifically designed to keep him and other under-aged people under the thumb of The Man. He went so far as to say that he knew what "real oppression" was all about.

I found that statement to be patently offensive. I can't see how any logical thinking person could equate drinking laws with the Nazi persecution of Jews or the Jim Crow laws of the United States. You can't drink a beer, boo hoo. That changes as soon as you're 21. Jews couldn't own property or businesses, black people couldn't drink at the same fountain as white people regardless of their age.

Personally, I don't agree with the 21 drinking laws, but I don't really see any pressing reason to change them. People who do should work to get the laws changed. Bitching about them and claiming that they are some part of an organized "War on Children" accomplishes nothing.

The "War on Children" statement (his actual words) came to light again in the story of a high school senior who was denied his diploma on graduation night because he did some showboating, blowing kisses, showing off his track medal and waving when both he and his mother had signed a Code of Conduct written by the school promising not to do anything of the sort.

At the same ceremony a graduate tossing a beach ball through the crowd was taken aside by a sheriff's deputy, was calmly asked to stop throwing the ball around several times. He became agitated and upset, started yelling and finally removed his gown, threw it at the deputy and stormed out.

Florida boy's take on the situation was that the school district was being oppressive and dictatorial and that the sheriff's department had no business being there at all. Yes, it was all part of the War on Children.

My take was that kid #1 signed an agreement saying he would be quiet and respectful, but wasn't. The school administrators were perfectly within their rights to refuse him his diploma that night. Now, if they refused to graduate him at all I would strongly disagree, he did the work, he earned the right to be graduated and he should be allowed to. He was guilty of nothing more that disrupting a ceremony (a needless ceremony in my opinion). The long and the short of it is that it was the school administrator's choice to interpret their own rules as they saw fit and that the kid should bite his lip and accept his punishment.

As for the beach ball thrower, he shouldn't have done it in the first place, but he was perfectly within his rights to walk out on the ceremony.

The fact that the sheriff's department was there is simple, they were providing security just like they would at the 4th of July parade or at a concert in the town square. There was nothing discriminatory about their presence at a high school graduation.

That's not how he saw any of it. The cops were there to oppress free expression and the school administrators were waging the War on Children.

A discussion about radar detectors and internet sites that list speed traps turned ugly when I suggested that it would be easier to just go the speed limit rather than wasting time, energy and money to try to thwart the law.

He has pretty much admitted that he would rather shoot and kill a person than have them steal his TV. I find that kind of thinking nothing short of repugnant.

And finally, a 20 year old who killed himself and his two passengers in an illegal street race (the passengers weren't wearing sear belts) got me labeled "sanctimonious" when I said that I didn't really feel sorry for the idiots involved. If you're doing something stupid and illegal and you're killed as a result you will receive no sympathy from me.

He seems to have no concept of self-responsibility. Traffic laws are there to personally inconvenience him, drinking laws and curfews are "an atrocity and a travesty and an egregious abuse of human rights." But does he work for change? No. He goes apoplectic and spouts hyperbole as fact.

He is an idiot. A very young, very immature, very angry idiot. So why does he make me so angry? Why do I give a shit what some immature, unworldly, naive hothead thinks? Why does my blood pressure rise every time I read one of his tirades?

I try to think rationally and ignore him. I realize that he is young and inexperienced and has no idea how things work, which battles to fight and which to ignore, but then he says something that is just so outrageous and preposterous that it demands a response. Teen curfew laws an "egregious abuse of human rights?!" What the fuck?!

I guess it all boils down my outright hate of stupid people, those who see their own opinion as Absolutely Right and see everything and everyone who doesn't agree with them 100% as Wrong -- and not just wrong but evil, oppressive, dictatorial, tyrannical... He refuses to see reason, he refuses to even see reasons he disagrees with and that makes him one of the most impossible people I've ever been exposed to.

I realize I don't have to go to those sites, but I've been a participating member of one since 2002 and I find most of discussion to be informative and entertaining. Sadly, the "ignore" button that would prevent me from reading any of his posts was removed several years ago.

So I guess I will go on reading his posts, laughing when he says something ridiculous and trying to ignore him when he says something outrageous. Fuck him, he'll learn (or at least I hope he will). And if he doesn't he'll probably die doing something stupid and I won't have to feel sorry for him.


Muggsy said…
Addendum: What a difference a a year makes. This same guy is now one of my favorite posters on those forums. He has learned to think rationally, he has learned to express his ideas in a less radical way and he is pretty funny.

He's over 21 now, and can legally drink. Maybe that's what calmed him down.

I still don't agree with him all the time, but I definitely respect him now.

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