Richard Moore: A clip around the ear

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When I was a youngster you had to respect adults.

You didn't have to like them, just respect them purely because they had lived longer than you had and knew a bit about how the world worked.

You may have thought Uncle Herbert was a loser who smoked too much, or Auntie Ethel had a screechy voice and ponged of sherry but you had to smile and go with the flow.

There was a saying "Children should be seen and not heard" and if you butted into adult conversation it would be a frown or, if you were a serial offender, you copped a cuff over the back of the head.

You opened doors for women, something I still do, and I am quite prepared to take a step back when the elderly of either sex, or females, are going through a doorway.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

On buses or trains you stood up to let women or the old folk sit down and you never, ever backchatted.

That was a form of masochism that would sate any desire for self harm by allowing you to be sent to your room, grounded, not given dinner or even getting whacked with a wooden spoon.

I cannot remember how many wooden spoons were broken on my legs or backside but one thing I will never forget is having a massive plastic one snapped on me.

Even if you had weak parents who let you get away with murder you would always be caught out at school and for little ratbags there was the yard-long ruler, the strap or the cane.

I have to say I copped the ruler once, was strapped by a short-arse teacher for nothing (I'm still trying to find you Mr R) and was too sensible to have to bend over in front of a male teacher and get whipped by a length of bamboo.

The terror of corporal punishment kept most in line and the day that was banned was the start of the end of our society.

Nowadays kids are revolting.

They reckon they are owed everything by the world, can do what they want, can say what they want and be nuisances or little lawbreakers with absolute impunity.

I've had more than my fair share of exchanges with stroppy little oiks who want to draw over everything, or reckon they can make as much noise as they like.

They also elect to ride around on their skateboards where they are forbidden and generally be little pains.

When challenged they trot out some surprisingly adult abuse or, if they are older and there is enough of them to get a bit of gang courage up, they may try to threaten you.

That does make me laugh, but if I were an older person or unable to take care of myself that could be intimidating.

In recent times we've seen a couple of incidents that point to we adults being pushed to the edge of reason by stroppy, argumentative youths who do whatever they want to the detriment of others.

Last month in Auckland there was a group of teens who were interrupting a skateboarding comp for little kids and had even bowled over one child.

They had been asked to stop several times but continued on happy to make themselves a nuisance.

Finally, an adult snapped and shoulder barged one off his board. He then pushed an adult in the neck who had come over to remonstrate with him.

It was interesting video and I can't help think that many of us would have acted in the same way against stroppy teens who reckon they rule the world.

Now I feel for that guy. How many times do you have to be reasonable, then be ignored, before taking the law into your own hands?

The bloke has been charged, but I hope he gets off because more people need to stand up and say we are not going to tolerate little tossers running riot any more.

Now over the weekend came another incident - again caught on video - of a middle aged man from Christchurch pushed beyond limits by smartasses on BMX bikes. The neighbourhood had been hit by graffiti attacks and anti-social behaviour and this guy didn't appreciate the goings on outside his house.

He grabbed one and held him down as the bush-lawyer teens told him it was child abuse and that they would "knock him flat".

Well that didn't happen, instead a BMX flew on to the road and if it hadn't been for a guy walking his dog stepping in it could have been a couple of youths joining it.

Now, again, these teens clearly deserved cuffs over the ears and if I were one of their parents I'd be kicking them all the way home, but it shows adults are fed up to the back teeth with such behaviour.

The message should be out there loud and strong to all smartarse teens.

Behave yourselves or face the consequences, and the law should either control them, punish them, or keep its beak out of it when other citizens deal with them.

richard@richardmoore.com

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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