Maybe it’s a fault in my wiring, but I don’t experience feelings of glee at the ruin of a life. I just can’t get giddy all over at the news that Dr. Christopher Thompson, the former emergency room doctor put on trial and found guilty of the injuries he intentionally caused ttwo cyclists on Mandeville Canyon on July 4, 2008, is going to prison for five years.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of those who wrote a letter in support of him being strictly sentenced and I’m appreciative justice was served and that he was indeed deserving of such a penalty. But you won’t find me fist-pumping or cheering.
Because it’s all just so unfortunate and it’s all so unnecessary.
In reading today’s article about the sentencing on latimes.com I found it interesting that in his statement at the hearing a tearful Thompson said “If my incident shows anything it’s that confrontation leads to an escalation of hostilities.”
There’s truth to that (and it’s something I must bear in mind if I’m going to continue confronting inattentive drivers who put me at risk with their poor driving habits), but I have a semantic disagreement with the doctor’s choice of words that leaves me thinking even at this point he still doesn’t get it. Confrontation isn’t the culprit so much as as conceited inconsiderate ignorance. After all, in my two most recent incidents (here and here), certainly I’ve confronted the parties, but I’ve done so not in an attacking way but in a far more reasonable and reasoning manner that strives to increase their awareness, not provoke their anger.
One of the most damning bits of evidence that helped secure his guilty verdict was the statement Thompson made to police at the scene of the accident; that he slammed on his brakes in front of the cyclists “to teach them a lesson,” he said.
That’s my aim, too, when such situations present themselves. But proactively, not irrationally.