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Sidewalk Rage: Mental Illness or 'Altruistic Punishment?'
TIME via Yahoo News ^ | Feb 21, 2011 | MAIA SZALAVITZ

Posted on 02/24/2011 8:28:33 AM PST by ETL

For many residents of New York City, our bodies are our cars. So rather than engaging in "road rage" against slow or erratic drivers on a highway, New Yorkers descend into "sidewalk rage," paroxysms of fury directed at people who exhibit irrational, obstructive walking behavior on Manhattan's crowded concrete. But is this reaction a sign of mental illness - or could it perhaps reflect an evolutionary adaptation that may have enabled the development of cooperation? (More on Time.com: Five Ways to Stop Stressing)

I will admit personally to fits of pique when slow tourists fail to keep to the right, or insist on standing side-by-side on escalators, blocking the left-hand fast lane, like some of those described in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

That article came down on the side of sidewalk rage as psychiatric disorder. Shirley Wang writes:

Researchers say the concept of "sidewalk rage" is real. One scientist has even developed a Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome Scale to map out how people express their fury. At its most extreme, sidewalk rage can signal a psychiatric condition known as "intermittent explosive disorder," researchers say. On Facebook, there's a group called "I Secretly Want to Punch Slow Walking People in the Back of the Head" that boasts nearly 15,000 members.

For the rare folks who act out in dangerous ways, sidewalk or road rage may indeed signal illness. But the idea raises the much more interesting question of why so many otherwise normal people also feel the same intense emotion when navigating around slow hordes - and have to temper their impulses to act on their anger - in the first place.

(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: New York
KEYWORDS: newyorkcity; roadrage; sidewalkrage
I must admit too to being guilty of occasional 'sidewalk rage'. I find it very irritating when some dope, going against the common sense right-left flow, walks right into me. Often times they are on a cell phone or texting. Then again, there's a whole lot of things here in NYC that can irritate a thinking person. What else can you expect from a city comprised mostly of liberal idiots.
1 posted on 02/24/2011 8:28:38 AM PST by ETL
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And it isn’t just the tourists. Many of these sidewalk morons are clearly city residents.


2 posted on 02/24/2011 8:31:00 AM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: ETL
Often times they are on a cell phone or texting....
 
Nailed it.
 
Just like idiot drivers who text or talk - these pedestrians are totally clueless as they stand in the middle of things texting away.


3 posted on 02/24/2011 8:36:06 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (Yes, as a matter of fact, what you do in your bedroom IS my business.)
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To: ETL

I think it’s a symptom of living cheek by jowl in a city. Sidewalk rage doesn’t happen in small towns. Very little road rage either, except when they’re moving farm equipment and some dope is afraid to pass. Usually not a local.


4 posted on 02/24/2011 8:37:39 AM PST by Valpal1 ("No clever arrangement of bad eggs ever made a good omelet." ~ C.S. Lewis)
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To: ETL

A while ago, as a joke, a prankster group whose name escapes me now, painted lanes on the sidewalk, one for New Yorkers, one for tourists. Most New Yorkers I talked to wanted them to be made official.

There is sort of a passing lane, a fast lane, and a window-shopper/gawker/tourist/oblivious lane. Or most people think there should be that same consideration, some getting angry when it’s not observed as convention. We’re all in a hurry getting to wherever it is we’re then in a hurry to get away from to hurry on to wherever it is... [repeat ad infinitum]


5 posted on 02/24/2011 8:38:05 AM PST by OldNewYork (social justice isn't justice; it's just socialism)
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To: Responsibility2nd

I’ve seen folks texting, head down, while jaywalking.


6 posted on 02/24/2011 8:38:58 AM PST by NativeNewYorker (Freepin' Jew Boy)
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To: ETL

I wonder how much public funding was used in these studies and how much rage would be induced if we knew?


7 posted on 02/24/2011 8:40:35 AM PST by Truth29
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To: ETL
"I must admit too to being guilty of occasional 'sidewalk rage'. I find it very irritating when some dope, going against the common sense right-left flow, walks right into me."

Being very irritated is not the same thing as being enraged, you know. If you started screaming at the miscreant, or even attacked him, then you where enraged. If you only thought "what a jerk", and moved on, then there was no rage involved. Road rage, for example, involves actual criminal assault. I'm afraid that "sidewalk rage" is just some catchphrase invented by the author, or others, for literary effect. The normal tension that one feels walking on a crowded sidewalk in the big city is very far from rage.

Do we need legislation for this new problem now?

8 posted on 02/24/2011 8:41:44 AM PST by Batrachian (9/11 confirmed everything I already knew about Islam. Not that it needed much confirming.)
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To: ETL
Welcome to New York! :-)

Now get out.

9 posted on 02/24/2011 8:43:03 AM PST by lowbridge (Rep. Dingell: "Its taken a long time.....to control the people.")
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To: ETL

I would not live anywhere that “sidewalk rage” could exist.


10 posted on 02/24/2011 8:43:06 AM PST by Graybeard58 (Of course Obama loves his country. The thing is, Sarah loves mine.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

But plenty of times it has nothing to do with texting or talking on a cell. They just can’t seem to reason well enough to see that what they’re doing is dumb and/or potentially dangerous. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve likely saved some mindless dope (on a cell or not) from getting hit by a car crossing the street.


11 posted on 02/24/2011 8:44:14 AM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: ETL

This article sets up a false choice. The options aren’t do nothing versus fly into a rage. The first analysis is whether the person really is doing something that impacts you. Someone walking and talking on a cell phone is a good example. Just because you see someone doing it doesn’t mean they are impacting you unless they are blocking your path. Some people just like to engage in “justified anger” at behaviours even if the behaviours don’t really impact them. The second analysis is how to react. If someone is blocking your path or bumps into you, it isn’t necessary to fly into a rage or react with a nasty look or obnoxious comment—that usually is not warranted. A polite “excuse me” is all that is necessary.


12 posted on 02/24/2011 8:44:53 AM PST by Opinionated Blowhard ("The time will come when Winter will ask you what you were doing all Summer" -- Henry Clay)
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To: ETL
"But is this reaction a sign of mental illness - or could it perhaps reflect an evolutionary adaptation that may have enabled the development of cooperation?"

Or maybe its just a selfish character defect.

13 posted on 02/24/2011 8:47:18 AM PST by circlecity
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To: ETL
The only thing that ever really drove me bananas on a regular basis as a pedestrian in New York City was the occasional situation where a group of visitors to the City would take an escalator up out of a train station and then stop right at the very top of the escalator to figure out where they were going or gawk at all the tall buildings . . . while the escalator continued to feed a steady stream of people up behind them.
14 posted on 02/24/2011 8:48:04 AM PST by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: ETL

I see people swerving around and walking into things more and more often here in Manhattan. Usually they are texting or chatting on a cell phone. (Sometimes, I think they’re just bonkers.)

When I lived in Atlanta, I noticed that drivers on cell phones did a lot of swerving in and out of lanes of traffic.

One of the most annoying things here in Manhattan are the strollers. Mother’s walk side by side blocking the sidewalk. Sometimes 3 or 4 will walk side by side blocking the whole sidewalk. They get annoyed when you simply stop and make them go around!


15 posted on 02/24/2011 8:48:35 AM PST by GeorgiaGuy
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To: Batrachian
Being very irritated is not the same thing as being enraged, you know. If you started screaming at the miscreant, or even attacked him, then you where enraged. If you only thought "what a jerk", and moved on, then there was no rage involved.

Oh, I've yelled at them plenty. But never got to the point where I would consider hitting them. I generally like people. I just wish they would use their heads more often, assuming (perhaps foolishly) that it would make a difference if they did. Liberals, for example, do the dumbest things imaginable when they use their heads.

16 posted on 02/24/2011 8:50:16 AM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: ETL
This seems like a good place for pedestrian peeves:

1. Groups that stop dead in their tracks to figure out where they are headed. Why can't they move aside to think/chat?

2. Groups that walk 2,3, 4 (or more) abreast towards you and will not move to let you walk past.

17 posted on 02/24/2011 8:50:19 AM PST by Mr.Unique (Global Emergency!)
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To: NativeNewYorker

Of course, because if texter CAN’T see the taxi bearing down on him, it isn’t really there.


18 posted on 02/24/2011 8:51:17 AM PST by Let's Roll (Save the world's best healthcare - REPEAL, DEFUND Obamacare!)
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To: Let's Roll

Lol! Occasionally when I warn someone of a car bearing down on them they freeze in their tracks, as opposed to moving quickly to get out of the way. They’re so preoccupied the handheld that they’re completely out of touch with the world around them.


19 posted on 02/24/2011 9:00:44 AM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: Alberta's Child

We need a new rule-of-thumb -

“Idiots will gather at the narrowest choke-point possible”


20 posted on 02/24/2011 9:03:37 AM PST by canuck_conservative
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To: Let's Roll

But again, many times it isn’t about texting or talking on a cell. My ‘theory’ is that mobs of people at a crosswalk are like a herd of wildebeest at a river crossing: when one goes, they all go. (replace saltwater crocs with fast moving automobiles)


21 posted on 02/24/2011 9:03:58 AM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: ETL

A few years back I was at a Walgreens ready to check out. I walk over to the checkout counter and this blonde chick is standing in the way - just talking away on her cell phone. I wondered if she was in line, but guessed not. So I said “excuse me” and moved around her and took my place in line.

She then moved several feet up to where I was and said; “Excuse me, I was in line.” I said; “No, actually you weren’t. You were standing in the middle of the aisle blocking me and others while you talked on you phone. But hey - if you feel that you really were in line and that I cut in front of you, then please. Move on here in front of me.”

She took note of the heavy sarcasm in my voice, went back to yakking on the phone, and left me alone to check out.


22 posted on 02/24/2011 9:08:03 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (Yes, as a matter of fact, what you do in your bedroom IS my business.)
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To: ETL

I’m a tourist, and ill walk how I want. Remember,, YOU chose to live in a sense city. New Yorkers act like they own the place,,, lol.


23 posted on 02/24/2011 9:15:45 AM PST by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office)
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To: ETL

make that a dense city. Sorry,,, droid vomit


24 posted on 02/24/2011 9:22:41 AM PST by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office)
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To: DesertRhino
I’m a tourist, and i'll walk how I want.

I'm far more understanding of tourists that block the sidewalk traffic flow than the mindless long-term residents of the city that do the same. Tourists are unfamiliar with many of the areas they are in and are looking around at various attractions and things, while helping boost the city's economy by spending their money here.

25 posted on 02/24/2011 9:25:24 AM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: ETL
Often times they are on a cell phone or texting.

No joke. I just came back from a Dr appt, and this idiot was walking to the parking garage. He almost walked into a glass window. He got on the elevator, still texting.

I punched the button for my level, and asked him for his. No answer, but after the door closed, he punched another level. The door opened for his level, and he stood there texting away. Dumb@$$.

26 posted on 02/24/2011 9:25:37 AM PST by Arrowhead1952 (America has two cancers - democrats and RINOS.)
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To: DesertRhino
a dense city

I realize NYC is a densely populated place, but I'm referring to people who make matters worse by not thinking properly. A little basic common sense is all.

27 posted on 02/24/2011 9:30:54 AM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: Arrowhead1952

And with cell phones at least, the conversation almost always seems to be on some dopey unimportant topic, such as “did you watch Oprah yesterday?”. I imagine it’s the same with texting.


28 posted on 02/24/2011 9:42:04 AM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: ETL

It’s pathological behavior brought on by overcrowding (see http://www.psychlotron.org.uk/resources/environmental/A2_OCR_env_crowdeffects.pdf). Read what happened in the famous Calhoun lab-rat colony study as they became more and more crowded. Killing their young, homosexuality, increased aggression, and other depraved behavior.


29 posted on 02/24/2011 9:43:51 AM PST by expatpat
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To: ETL

standing side-by-side on escalators, blocking the left-hand fast lane,

I didn’t realize there WERE lanes on escalators,
you’d think the DOPT would mark them.
( Dept of Pedestrian Transportation )


30 posted on 02/24/2011 9:46:34 AM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: ETL

Unfortunately common sense is no longer common. I think we’re breeding oblivious humans. Our early ancestors either paid attention to their surroundings or became dinner.

We’re reacting to the inattention of others. People driving don’t observe basic courtesies because of inattention and possibly inadequate skills. Now we find out neither do pedestrians pat attention. Maybe we need to turn man eating tigers loose in NYC to keep folks on their toes.

Yeah go ahead and text. Just remember you are part of the food chain whether it’s a tiger or the bacteria processing your dead body.


31 posted on 02/24/2011 9:48:05 AM PST by meatloaf
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To: ETL
It's just general consideration.

I broke my ankle a couple of months ago, and I can't get around at my normal speed (admittedly, that's pretty fast). So, I stay aware of my surroundings and others, and I get the hell out of the way of faster moving people coming up behind me.

I also don't stand in doorways or in areas prone to traffic.

I was at the Whole Foods earlier this week, a prime spot for lib watching. In the ten or fifteen minutes I was there, one libtard left his shopping cart at bizarre angles in order to maximize his ability to block traffic, FOUR TIMES.
As I was leaving, I noticed him returning his shopping cart, which was surprising since he'd shown no recognition of the existence of anyone else up to that point... but I was wrong. He just took it to the doorway leading to the steps, grabbed his stuff, and left - blocking the doorway.
I don't think I need to mention that when I saw him in the parking lot, he had an Obama/Biden bumper sticker on his Prius.

32 posted on 02/24/2011 9:52:05 AM PST by South Hawthorne (In Memory of my Dear Friend Henry Lee II)
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To: tet68
I didn’t realize there WERE lanes on escalators,

There aren't. It's more of a common sense, common courtesy thing. I can understand some tourists not getting it, but not those that lived here awhile.

33 posted on 02/24/2011 9:53:30 AM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: ETL

I agree on the need to be understanding as a city resident or worker. At various points in my life I worked in Union Station in Washington DC and Times Square in New York City. You just knew that at certain times of the year you were going to be in a mob, many of whom were from out of town and didn’t understand “city” walking rules. City folk like the idea of living in a town with a million tourist attractions but they get annoyed when tourists actually come to see them. When a tourist does something like stand at the top of an escalator and I say “excuse me”, they usually react like they didn’t understand they were doing something wrong and move.


34 posted on 02/24/2011 9:54:12 AM PST by Opinionated Blowhard ("The time will come when Winter will ask you what you were doing all Summer" -- Henry Clay)
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To: ETL

I must admit not knowing the unspoken rule for escalator traffic (stationary on right - walking on left) on the east coast when I first visited. So, maybe that rule should be posted for those from flyover country where escalators are seldom used on a daily basis.


35 posted on 02/24/2011 10:05:05 AM PST by Judy
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To: Opinionated Blowhard
When a tourist does something like stand at the top of an escalator and I say “excuse me”, they usually react like they didn’t understand they were doing something wrong

I've noticed that the dumbest tourists almost always seem to be from France. Just like the worst drivers often having New Jersey plates. :)

36 posted on 02/24/2011 10:05:38 AM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: ETL

I will admit that from time to time I have been tempted to launch into “Walmart aisle rage” by the, um, “Sunday drivers” wending their way at a leisurely pace three abreast through the store, taking up both the slow lane and the passing lane as well as the lanes for the traffic going in the opposite direction...


37 posted on 02/24/2011 10:14:37 AM PST by Zeppo ("Happy Pony is on - and I'm NOT missing Happy Pony")
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To: Zeppo

Yes, some people make shopping a family outing. They not only bring all the kids, but also grandma and Aunt Flossy.


38 posted on 02/24/2011 10:17:40 AM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: Judy

You can often times see people walking up the left lane of an escalator with stationary people on the right, especially during rush hours. One needn’t be an Einstein to figure it out and step to the right. General traffic rule: left lane = passing lane. :)


39 posted on 02/24/2011 10:19:24 AM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: ETL
I drive a van pool with 7 riders. They often watch how many people in other vehicles are talking or texting. I tell them “That car about 10 or 12 in front of us is texting” and am usually correct. They have a tendency to be driving 10 or more MPH slower than other traffic, and really tick me off.

We had one driver in front of us on a very curvy road some time back. The driver (a female) was crossing the drunk bumps into the oncoming lanes, and then cross into our lane. I thought she was DUI, and decided to stay behind her. We caught up with here at a traffic light, and she was texting. After the light, she got off the texting and into the right lane. Drove normally after that.

40 posted on 02/24/2011 10:22:52 AM PST by Arrowhead1952 (America has two cancers - democrats and RINOS.)
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To: Arrowhead1952
After the light, she got off the texting and into the right lane. Drove normally after that.

And like Mr Magoo, she probably had no clue of the danger she narrowly escaped.

41 posted on 02/24/2011 10:29:11 AM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: Owl_Eagle

That Prius driver is going to be the one doing the rolling roadblock to enforce conservation on the other drivers.


42 posted on 02/24/2011 10:41:46 AM PST by heartwood
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