Would you ever call a police officer a “prick” to his or her face? And if you did, would you expect to get away with it?
Well, a 22 year old bloke had his charges of foul language dismissed despite calling a police officer just that in an argument. I was listening to the radio on the way to work the other day when they were discussing this. A couple of the radio presenters thought going to court was ridiculous and cops need to be able to deal with people calling them names given the field they are in. Only one of the presenters thought this was ridiculous. The opinion among the callers was mixed as well.
My opinion: I think it’s a sad state of affairs when a person can get away without even a fine or a warning for being disrespectful to someone in authority. Now, I am not saying I love cops or that all cops are angels. But I am not going to call a copper a “wank” or a “prick” to his face even if I think it in my head. Why? Well, for starters, I wouldn’t want someone to call me that. And secondly, it’s just plain disrespectful.
I’m not a prude. I have no problem with people swearing and I do it myself. However, I do have a problem when people swear at someone. Calling someone “you dickhead” or “you fucking whatever” to their face is disrespectful. [I do call bad drivers on the road these names, mind you…but they can’t actually hear me!]
I think the problem with the charges being dismissed in a way undermines the authority of the police. It also sets up others to think they can continue to get away with it (which they probably could). Moreover, if ‘prick’ is not foul language, does this mean someone can call their boss a prick to his face and then sue for unfair dismissal? Can a student call his or her teacher a prick or an idiot and then cry foul over getting a demerit or being suspended? Can a child call their parent a prick and then get angry at being grounded? Just because the word ‘prick’ is now part of everyday language? So is the f-word. But again, does that mean students can start using the f-word at schools (I know they use it already but if it’s within a teacher’s earshot, they get into trouble for doing so) and expect to not have consequences for it?
Where do we draw the line?
And are we going to see a nation of disrespectful individuals who only care about their own needs and wants without heed to another person’s feelings? Or without respect for someone’s position?
Only time will tell…
Until next time,