Rules, Laws, and Smoking in Ireland

I was on a train one night from England heading towards Ireland back in the 90’s.  Dublin was my destination.  St. Patrick’s Day was the next day and I wanted to see the parade and experience the Irish way of celebration during this event.

Rocking on the rails I sat quietly in my seat.  Placards adorned the walls listing certain things not allowed while on the train.  Smoking was one such thing.  I closed my eyes and was almost asleep when a cough from the back of the train caused me to open my eyes.  There was a family riding along, a man, a woman and two young children.  Immediately following the cough I smelled smoke.  I turned in my seat to locate its origin.  An old woman was puffing away blowing large plumes into the air.  The smoke had nowhere to go and began gathering around all of us in the car.  The children started coughing as I looked at the placards again.

Yep.

Plastered everywhere were signs prohibiting smoking on the train.

I think back on this moment occasionally asking myself if the signs weren’t there would I have acted differently.

Probably not.

As my father taught me “your rights end at my nose”.

That smoke was entering my nose and the noses of the kids in the back.  I’m fairly certain I would have had the same reaction.  But that is irrelevant as the signs (words) were everywhere.

Smoking prohibited on train.

Before I continue I want to explain my point.  Words, rules, directions, Constitutional Rights, don’t matter if they aren’t followed and enforced.

We can and are screaming about the lack of laws being enforced by our government right now.

They continue to ignore our written laws, words, and us as well.

Human behavior is very easy to predict.

If one faction isn’t following accepted written societal rules while requiring everyone else to, the next step is a physical altercation.

Human behavior 101.

Our country was founded on this principle.

No taxation without representation.

When one side had enough a humdinger of an altercation broke out.

When I was in school we called this the Revolutionary War.

Not sure what Common Core has renamed it these days.  My guess is something akin to “please explain how two plus two might equal four, then again may not, using no less than twelve steps while explaining how Islam is woven into the fabric of our core”.

Back to my story.

For as long as I can remember I have always been a rule follower.  I was taught to respect my elders (as long as they earned that respect).  But I have zero patience and a temper when people ignore the rules and other suffer.  If you want to ignore the laws then you make sure you are the only one who is harmed.  Don’t drag the rest of us along who are willing to play by the rules.  We want the rule of law.  We know without it anarchy is the result.

The children continued to cough as I walked toward the old woman.  I swayed with the momentum of the train and stopped two seats away from her.  She wasn’t a physical threat to me and the last thing I wanted to do was scare her.  I just wanted her to follow the rules so the rest of us could breathe.

“Excuse me ma’am,” I said in a very polite voice.  “It’s against the law to smoke on here.  I would appreciate it if you would put that out.”

I said this with a smile and genuinely believed once she realized she was in the wrong, and others were suffering, she would stop.

Boy was I wrong.

The old woman took a deep drag and blew it AT me.

I waved the smoke away as my brain quickly digested my options.  Had she been a man my options in dealing with this situation had just grown.

But she was a woman and by options were incredibly limited.  I wasn’t going to touch her and if I wasn’t going to stop her physically then I had no other options.

I choked down my temper and smiled widely trying charm and compassion this time.

“There’s no need for that,” I said pointing to the children in the back.  “They are coughing.  I would really appreciate you putting that out”.

The old woman took an even bigger drag and blew it at me again.

“Bugger off!” she yelled at me.

Writing this now I am smiling at this memory but at that moment I was an angry soul.  Here was a person ignoring all the rules and laws and creating a situation we were all forced to deal with unless we were willing to jump off a train rolling down the tracks.

Illegal behavior of the few abusing the law abiding many.

Sound familiar?

I have to admit I was stymied.  My personal ethics wouldn’t allow me to physically harm her or even attempt to remove the burning item continuing to create more and more smoke.  It felt as though my brain was about to explode.  I just stared at her shaking my head for about ten seconds trying to come up with a solution.

Sometimes you just have to be quiet and let a solution come to you.

Out of nowhere a disheveled man jumped out of his seat and into my face.  We were nose to nose.  His breath smelled like stale cigarettes and booze.  That was nothing in comparison to the body odor coming off of him.

At the time I was six feet one hundred and eighty pounds.

He was that and then some and approximately in his mid twenties…just like me.

A solution was soon to be found.

“She said bugger off!” he screamed in my face.

Horrible, I mean horrible breath.

I took a small rocker step back to give myself enough room to move.  He mistakenly saw this as weakness and moved forward into the tiny space I’d made.

“You need to back up right now,” I said quietly turning my body slightly while moving my hands towards my face.

“She said bugger off!” he screamed again leaning forward.

I would find out later bugger meant f*&# off.  The things you learn riding the rails!

I remember this as plain as day.  I actually smiled.  Trust me I wasn’t happy and every part of my fight or flight ANS arousal was firing.  Unfortunately there was nowhere to run…not that I would have anyway.

I smiled a tiny smile as all my instincts rushed to their positions.  All the fights in high school and college, all the rough housing with my father and peers, all the bullies in my past were in my face right now.

“I’m going to count to three.  You will move or I will move you,” I stated as a matter of fact, not a fact of the matter, as we hear so much on television these days.

His eyes narrowed and his body started to tense.

Now for those of you out there reading this right now you never, and I mean never, tell your enemy what you are going to do.

It’s why growing up when bullies would tell me they were going to “kick my a%$” I squared up and said “go for it”.

They’d made the mistake of informing me of their intention.  Don’t ever warn someone who you believe is trying to hurt you.  It’s why our current foreign policy is not only a joke but never works.  No elected leader should EVER state in public the intent of the United States military.  They only put our troops in greater danger and allow our enemies to prepare.  Once decisions have been made Constitutionally (which hasn’t happened for a while) politicians need to keep their mouths shut while our best and bravest are in harms way.

With that said some of you may be saying “didn’t you just tell him what you were going to do?”

No.  What I prepared him for was to be ready on three.

I went on one.

As I said “one” he was preparing for “two”.  Two never came.  As I picked him up and body slammed him to the ground (taking in a big whiff of smoke) I landed on top.  Unfortunately for me I didn’t have any control of my surroundings and as I landed I head butted the hardest piece of steel I believe to have ever been forged:)

The “steel” was one of the train seats and the stars dancing around my head were not a figment of my imagination, although I completely lost track of the smoke smell. (always find silver linings:)

I was now sitting on his chest with a tremendous amount of pain coming from the bridge of my nose.  My first thought was “how did he get me?”  I hadn’t realized yet the seat was my attacker.  I did realize quickly though as blood started running down the top of my nose at a nice pace.  I looked to my right at the seat and a little bit of skin (mine) was stuck perfectly in the metal.

I looked down at the guy as rage filled me.  Here I was trying to go to Dublin to enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day Parade and because of an old woman who didn’t want to follow the rules and a drunk I now thought I had a broken nose.  (It wasn’t but it hurt for a week).

I dropped my head and glared at my captured prey.  Slowly as the blood dropped off my nose I angled my head so it landed right on his face.  Drip drip drip.  I just held him there.  I’m not proud of it…I’m just telling you what I did. I will admit it wasn’t one of my better moments.  (silver lining not found:)

I’ve told this story over the years to a few people.  I try and use it as a teaching moment, and depending on whom I am talking to, the lesson varies.

In most cases it’s about standing up even when you don’t want to.  In other cases it’s about finishing the fight to make sure you don’t have to deal with it again.

That lesson is next.

There are many people, justifiably so, who would have thrown multiple punches into this guy’s face out of anger, frustration, vengeance, etc.

As I stared down at him his face was filled with fear.  He knew there was nothing he could do.  He looked like a scared little kid to me.  It just wasn’t in me to start hitting him.  Good and bad for me.

The good was I never lost who I was.  My belief in defending the weak didn’t disappear.  The weak was now under me and I just couldn’t hurt him…as easy as it would have been.

The bad…well…the bad could have cost me my life.

I am a believer in three things when it comes to human male interaction.  You can be liked, respected, or feared.  But if you try and mix them together it can cost you dearly.

This situation was under control because he feared (and couldn’t move) what I would do next.  I saw it in his face.  But when I showed him mercy he mistakenly attributed that to me having fear and proceeded to try and hurt me.

As I got off of him I stepped back not thinking he would try and attack.

I was wrong.

He was wearing very heavy boots and as I cleared his legs he somehow fired off a kick.  Thankfully the Big Fella Upstairs had my back (and front).  I barely saw the boot and moved my head just enough that it missed landing squarely under my chin (probably knocking me out) and smashed into my shoulder.  I have no doubt had that boot landed under my chin with the force it hit my shoulder I would have been out cold.  I also have no doubt he would not have shown me the mercy he’d previously received.

He scrambled back to his feet as his kick knocked me backwards.  As this story is getting long in the tooth let me just say by the time round two was over he was again on his back as I proceeded to fit his head into a tiny crack between the steel seat and the steel train wall.

Fortunately the train stopped and the police arrived.  It ended up being a laugher because even though he was a little messed up, they kept looking at my nose, asking me if I wanted to press charges.

Too funny.

I said no.

There’s a little bit more to this story…maybe another time.  Needless to say the smoking stopped (she ended up being his mother) and I did make it the parade!:)

Aside from hopefully entertaining you my point is this.

When others decide their free will is more important than our free will words aren’t going to change their mind.

It will always take action.  I am moving as fast as I can in an assertively peaceful manner to show a better way through systemic changes in taxation and border security.  Things that will benefit us and are easy to implement.

But our government is behaving aggressively and lying to us on a daily basis.  In some regards they are blatantly disregarding our laws and their oaths to faithfully protect and defend in an ever increasingly bold manner.  It’s as if they don’t think we will do anything.

They are wrong.

But to be successful we have to join together from all over the country!

We don’t need another revolution!

We need a restoration and in that restoration we lead by example!

Ethical every day Americans coming together through technology by the millions to replace the cancer in Washington D.C.

No one is asking you to “count to three”.

We cannot allow it to get that far.

If it does…we have failed.

America needs us now more than ever to not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Let us restore our nation roaring our love for her.

For Freedom.

For America.

We have work to do.

So shall it begins.

 

Jason Kraus

“Late Bird” by Jason Kraus

Restoring a nation one voice at a time.

www.aleadernotapolitician.com

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