Will Pepper Spray Be Necessary?



There is much theorizing and questioning among both professional and lay people regarding the basis for the sometimes antisocial and violent behavior of our nation's youth.

Even in quiet and fairly isolated Payson, incidents do happen.

Recently such an incident occurred at (a local fast-food restaurant). This involved a 71-year-old man, slight of stature, and a tall husky young man who was bolstered in strength by three companions seated at a nearby booth. This young man would not allow the older man access to the counter, used a straw to blow air in the older man's ear, physically pushed and shoved him toward the door. All the while, the young man was verbally encouraged by his friends.

The (restaurant) staff made no intervention attempts, nor did they call the police. The 71-year-old man left the premises, concerned for his own safety.

However, another outrageous unpleasantness took place recently at a scheduled Payson homeowner's association meeting held at the American Legion hall. Five percent of the people at the meeting respectable homeowners deliberately created a chaotic situation using loud, rude and extreme behavior, ignoring calls to order and successfully prevented the meeting from occurring. The American Legion sent word that these meetings would no longer be welcome if such misconduct were to continue.

As a former teacher, I had a similar experience with senior high school honor students. As a substitute for their regular teacher, I was successfully prevented from presenting their absent teacher's lesson. They hooted, hollered, banged on their desks and managed to create complete chaos until I was forced to contact an administrator, after my own efforts failed to restore order.

Where do the five percent of these homeowners fit? Were they, at one time, the young, arrogant bullies? Were they the disrespectful, abusive high school students? Were these people ever parents?

What role model did they present to their children? Should I start taking pepper spray to the meetings?

Joann Ganoe, Payson

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