In an editorial on Thursday, we addressed the issue of violence dominating the headlines most days, in local, national and world news.
One example was the 28-year-old man stabbed to death in Maryland over cutting in line, to get a Popeye’s chicken sandwich.
The other example was the man in Milwaukee who suffered second-degree burns on his face, after being splashed with acid. Both stories ran in the Antelope Valley Press on Tuesday.
In that editorial, we mentioned that we’re not sure if these violent acts are tied to mental health issues, or if people are just much less tolerant and compassionate and more prone to violent outbursts.
Considering we had just addressed the issue of violence, it was disheartening to see our own headline in the Antelope Valley Press Friday, which read, “Information sought in bus driver assault.”
This is an unfortunate example of when senseless violence hits close to home.
“The Antelope Valley Transit Authority is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a male rider who brutally assaulted a contracted bus operator on Halloween night,” the report said. “The incident occurred at approximately 7 p.m., Oct. 31 at the transportation center at Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park.”
According to the report, the operator parked the Route 1 northbound bus at the Transportation Center and was taking a scheduled break while the bus batteries were charging.
“An irate rider verbally threatened our operator, then proceeded to viciously assault her, striking her in the face, cutting her lip and bruising her cheek,” AVTA Senior Director Martin Tompkins said in a statement.
It’s not clear why this man assaulted the driver, but it was reported that he may have been upset over a perceived delay or over the operator exiting the bus and speaking with another passenger on the platform.
Other operators attempted to help the victim but were unable to detain the suspect, who is still at large. Is it ironic that this senseless act of violence happened at a park named after a man who died because of another senseless act of violence?
What is wrong with people? Just like the man in Maryland, there’s no reason to become so upset over something so meaningless, that harm needs to be inflicted on another person — especially things like chicken sandwiches and bus rides.
Some simple communication on the part of the bus beating suspect would have gone a long way. Was he upset about the perceived delay? Why not ask the bus driver how long it will take to get to his destination? Was he upset because she exited the bus and was speaking to someone else? Why not ask her about it? She probably would have told him she was on a break, if he would have simply inquired.
Why is it that for some, the first line of action is to hit someone? He didn’t just hit the bus driver, he allegedly beat her about the face. Now he’s on the run and hopefully someone turns him in and collects that reward.
Did he honestly think she was delaying the route on purpose? Most buses are on a tight schedule and can’t afford to fall behind. That’s likely why she had a scheduled break built into her work schedule — everything must be done within the person’s work shift, as to not accrue overtime and allow the route to “run down,” meaning it will run behind.
John Lennon preached about peace in the 1960s and while “Give Peace a Chance” was a huge hit, it seems like it didn’t make an impression on some folks.
One might say it’s a generational issue, but that can’t be true because plenty of people post things on social media about a kinder, gentler world, yet it’s interesting to think about how many actually practice what they post.