Get Angry

I'm having a moment. Not a love light and bliss one, either.

Today I read this post over at Magneto Bold Too.

I noticed the way people were reacting - with sadness - and this started me thinking about my own emotional reaction to speeding and drink driving, and about the overall effectiveness of these ad campaigns.

Losing M - That makes me sad. But speeding and drink driving - That makes me angry.

I find this distinction is very important.

From the almighty Wikipedia:

Sadness is a mood characterised by feelings of disadvantage loss, and helplessness. When sad, people often become quiet, less energetic and withdrawn.

Anger is an emotional state that may range from minor irritation to intense rage. The physical effects of anger include increased heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Some view Anger as part of the fight or flight brain response to the perceived threat of pain. Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviourally, cognitively and physiologically when a person makes the conscious choice to take action to immediately stop the threatening behaviour of another outside force.

Most of the campaigns that I've seen are very emotive in nature. They go for shock value. They make people cry. They make people feel sad.
This doesn't make sense to me.

When people think of speeding and drink driving I don't want them to feel sad and helpless, or to become quite, less energetic and withdrawn.
I would rather evoke in people an emotion which “becomes the predominant feeling behaviourally, cognitively and physiologically when a person makes the conscious choice to take action to immediately stop the threatening behaviour of another outside force.

I'm not saying that losing a loved one isn't sad. It is devastating and gut wrenching and tragic and horrible and painful beyond belief.
But doesn't sadness seem like a less effective emotion when it comes to preventing speeding and drink driving?

People who have seen these ad campaigns and been affected by them, they might make a better choice. They might remember the tears shed by grieving families, the tears they shed themselves when they saw those images, and that might be enough to change their minds. Certainly this is a win.

But what about those people who didn't feel that same punch in the guts? Those who are too invincible, too tough, or too smart? Will the people around them be too sad, too helpless, too quiet and too withdrawn to speak up?

M was killed by a drink driver doing twice the speed limit. The driver was speeding to get home in time for their favourite television program.
M was on his way home to celebrate our pregnancy. He was not speeding. He was not drunk. He was killed instantly.

His death is sad, and I grieve for him every day.
But drink driving and speeding don't make me sad, they make me angry.

That driver lived, and he too suffers every day. I know this because I speak to him at least once a month. I am not angry with that driver any more, because we are both healing and because he is now consciously making different choices. He is making good choices.

There are still people out there making bad choices, though.
People choosing to speed.
People choosing to drink and drive.
People choosing to kill.

This makes me angry.

I am all for freedom of choice. If people want to choose to get in the car drunk, go too fast and risk their lives, then power to them.
But that choice doesn't just put their own lives at risk. It puts our lives at risk, too.

This should make us angry!

So yes, be sad for the lives lost and for the families and friends who are grieving - But if you're going to be emotional about speeding and drink driving, don't be sad - Be angry.
Don't be silent and withdrawn - Be loud and be outspoken!
Don't be less energetic - Take action!

Speeding and drink driving are threatening behaviours, from an outside force, and it is time to make a conscious choice to stop it.


debby said...

Grief is the first step, maybe. I don't know. I've cried plenty in my life, but I've never experienced your experience, and I think that this is something that would knock me on my ass. I think it would take a while for me to gather my wits to rise up again.

Do you think this, A? Do you find yourself thinking sometimes, that you are grateful that you have your girls, that if you didn't have children, something that MAKES you keep going, that you simply couldn't? I remember thinking that repeatedly during my hard times.

baby~amore' said...

Very power and poignant post Al - so true.
I haven't thought about it like that.
Anger !
Yes we should be angry when someone isDUI and we should make a conscious effort to stop anyone we know from this risk taking behaviour.

I am in awe of you that you can talk to the driver who killed M - you are a very gutsy and special lady Alison.

Alison said...

Debby - It certainly took us a while to get up again. We are still healing and I imagine we will be for quite a while. This sadness and grief though is separate from the issue of speeding and drink driving, I feel. (At least, it is now. It hasn't always been.)

Trish - At least we are thinking! Hooray!
That driver is still a person. He made a bad choice but that doesn't have to define who he is. It's the people who are still making bad choices, conscious and otherwise, that make me angry. This way anger inspires action instead of being more destructive.

Kelley said...

You have every right to feel angry babe, I have absolutely no idea how you feel. And I hope I never do.

This ad is very effective for the incidental speeders, the 'oh I am running late' speeders.

I don't think anything will stop drink drivers unfortunately. It takes arrogance and selfishness to drive when you know you have had too much.

I am sorry my post upset you. That was not my intention.

PlanningQueen said...

An amazing post Alison. The forgiveness you must have in your heart to the driver is inspirational.

Melody said...

What an awesome post Alison. I totally hear what you are saying. I love the fact that you are letting us 'know' you a little more. And getting words down is probably part of the healing process for you too.

I get very angry when I hear of people drink driving. It is so pathetically stupid that people do this. I don't care for the driver doing this, it is the innocent I care about and families of the innocent.

It is good to forgive people, as you have. You can't 'move on' without forgiving. Well done. One step at a time.

Alison said...

Kelly - Your post doesn't upset me. I think it's fabulous that you're promoting anti speeding campaigns and making people think about their actions.
It's no doubt these ads get a reaction, I just wonder about the results. There are still people choosing to speed and to drink drive. I agree that adverts are ineffective ways of stopping drink drivers, but I think change is possible - it just takes more than tears.

Thanks PQ :) Yes I forgive the person... They made a bad choice but being angry with them does not achieve anything. That would be negative and destructive anger. Anger over people STILL making bad choices however - That inspires action.

Melody - Words can be very healing, can't they?
I love that my ramblings can be written off as 'getting to know you' posts! How kewl! lol

Megan from Imaginif said...

A, anger is a great motivator and I hope I stay angry for the rest of my life.

Anger is so misunderstood. Anger gets things done. Anger gets things changed. Anger helps people remember. The bad behaviours (tantrums) that we often see are not anger - they are a choice - a behaviour - a blind rage rather than a motivator.

Stay angry and I will back you up - anything that hurts others, particularly children, makes me angry.

Drinking, drugs, speeding, putting others at risk is worthy of a bit of anger.

I also feel sad though. As you and I both know A, anger is a secondary emotion and wherever it rises there are primary emotions underneath it.

To you and the girls, my love, my friendship and my heartfelt anger at the loss of M.


Bush Babe (of Granite Glen) said...

My very long comment has disappeared into the ether... ah well! Suffice to say, I admire your attitude and your intestinal fortitude. You are a wonderful example to your girls...

Having covered drink driving stories, I can see how it really often fails to hit home exactly WHAT the consequences might have been, had the driver not been stopped and breathalysed. How else do we reach these particular people with the message? Your story, Alison, is possibly among the most effective ways of getting that message truly home. It does for me.


Abbey said...

My son's father was taken from us by a driver who was drunk and on the wrong side of the road (for over 5km's!) I cant remember if he was speeding that was irrelevant to me, my husband was dead....

I understand your frustration & anger... I was angry for such a long time, we both were but it stopped us living which was important to do to honour my husbands memory.

I can look at it objectivley now and see speeding for what it is ...reckless behaviour by uncaring/thinking people. Behaviour that takes the people we love from us way before their time. I have no sympathy for them, as far as Im concerned my husband was murdered. The man who killed him made a choice. Our laws, and penalties should reflect that.

I am sad for those who grieve,I am angry (rage) at those who think its their right to do whatever speed they choose....

I better get off my soapbox now...:)

Lin said...

There still seems to be an attitude about drink driving that it ain't a crime if you don't get caught.

I once tried to stop a woman - who was too drunk to open the gate - from getting into her car with her 3yo. I failed. She called me the next morning in shock when she realised what she'd done. But I still didn't get angry with her. And I am sure she did it again later.

You make a good point, Al. We should all be a bit stronger in our attitudes towards drink driving and speeding to try and force a cultural change.

Lin said...
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alice said...

I don't think I have seen you post exactly what took M away from you, and I wonder if that took some courage to write? I have lost a very good friend to a drunk speeding driver. He was a caring, compassionate man, a father to 5, and was killed whilst working - he was with the policeforce and was killed on his way home after a late shift. The feelings we - as friends - felt, was staggering. I can only imagine how family felt.

I agree, angry. Outraged.

ut also, bweildered. I do not understand what drives people to think they have the RIGHT to drive, or attempt other responsible behavoiurs when under the influence of drugs or alchohol? And to return to those behaviours?

I have a soapbox of my own when it comes to drinking and *anything*. You want to drink irresponsibly? Stay home and hide your keys, your phone, your pets and your kids.

Sorry, I'll shut up now.

debby said...

I've been thinking a lot about your ability to forgive the driver, to be angry with his act but to care about his pain. I find that very inspiring about you. Perhaps a post sometime about this young man and what has come of him? How he has changed his life since that day.

Alison said...

Megan - That positive, motivational anger is exactly what I was talking about. I'm glad one of us has the ability to be articulate! Thanks for your support, and for your understanding, too :)

BB - The thing that gets me with using breathalysers as a solution, is that the person has already made the choice to get behind the wheel drunk. I want people to be angry and passionate enough to not make that choice in the first place.
I do hear what you're saying about getting the message through to people. Gosh, I wish I had the answer.

Abbey - I am so sorry this has been part of your life experience, too. Anger and frustration can be horrible parts of grief. I share your rage towards reckless behaviour. I agree that it is a separate issue and I think a little rage is appropriate. Thank you for sharing your story and experience, and never get off your soap box on my account! :)

Lin - What a terrifying story. That definitely inspires anger.
I would love to see people getting passionate and changing this ridiculous culture that is dangerous driving. Every single person helps.

Alice - Not so much courage as an appropriate context. I don't much care for "emotive" stories without a purpose. Apart from the fact I want M to be remembered by the way that he lived, not for the way that he died.
I am sorry to hear your story of loss, too. How awful for his family, and for you, too. Friends are sometimes forgotten, or overlooked, when it comes to grieving the loss of someone, when their pain is no less real than the families.
Hugs to you.
Also, never apologise for speaking up, especially here. I relate to much of your soapbox and I imagine we share similar views on the whole matter of drinking in general!

Deb - Your compassion and the thought you give things is inspiration to me! I will certainly think about your suggestion for a future post.

alice said...
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alice said...

Al, you said (to me) "I don't much care for 'emotive' stories without a purpose."
I think you just described my whole blog.... :(

Alison said...

Oh Alice, I'm sorry!
It wasn't meant in that context at all! I was meaning, in response to your comment about M, that I don't like to post emotive things about him without a more positive point to get across, too.
I still don't think I'm explaining this very well... lol
In any case - I very much enjoy your blog and wasn't having a go with my comment.

alice said...

Oh - no! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. No need to apologise!!! And then no again. No feet in your mouth. No offence was taken. No insult or even a poke in the eye. NO. It was a silly comment, directed at myself for my blog posts which are always about me. (Like there is no one else in the universe!). Al, NEVER feel the need to apologise to me n regard to my own flippancy. I love your bog and now I will go and shoot myself in the foot, poke my own eye out and remove any remaining evidence of loose talk by peppering my tongue.

alice said...

Your bog? Well, I guess I could love that too...

PreSchool Mama said...

Very well said. I've always felt that if a person wants to commit suicide, he should go right ahead and put a gun to his head or jump off a cliff or something. Why play with the lives of other people on the street? That's murder!

Alison said...

lol Alice - truce?

Preschool Mama - It is murder, manslaughter at the very least, yet our laws are a long, long way off reflecting this.
That's another good point to get angry about.