Soapbox Issues

You Prick!

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,

Cheers!!!

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No Comments

  • Reply
    amy888
    May 6, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    I agree – even if your thinking it in your head, you dont actually say it.
    My best friend, her hubby and my uncle are all cops so i have the utmost respect for the job they do, and to hear them tell me some of the stuff they have to put up with… seriously, you could not pay me enough.
    A fine, in most cases, would be sufficient and make people think twice about disrespecting authority. But no punishment at all ? That just makes a mockery of the force…

  • Reply
    Sam Liu
    May 6, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I agree with you completely. Authoritative figures should be treated with respect and if someone uses inappropriate language against them, then they should pay some sort of consequence. Otherwise, we risk living in anarchical society, inhabited by citizens who have complete disregard for the law of the land.

  • Reply
    Richa
    May 7, 2010 at 12:09 am

    I agree. And it’s just not about cops or authority figure but even with people that may be below your level: is it okay to use such words on their face? Will it be okay for a teacher to call his/her student names? Disrespectful language is not acceptable in any circumstances. In any culture. And it should definitely have its consequences.

    However, even though calling someone names is disrespectful, technically one does not break the law by doing so(as far as I know). So I am not sure if the court can really punish a person for calling the cop a “prick”. On the other hand, if they had called the judge that, they would have definitely broken the law and could be held for contempt. I am not sure if the cops can arrest that person for calling them names and being disrespectful in general?

    I also have some reservation about having the law against someone calling cops names. Somehow, it has “misuse and civil rights violation” written all over it.

  • Reply
    Mahesh Kalaal
    May 7, 2010 at 3:25 am

    I do call bad drivers on the road these names, mind you…but they can’t actually hear me!…….happening.

    yes, you are correct, ….. we should abstain from expressing our anguish in such disgusting way of commenting on other’s face though we can vent our anger in their absence

  • Reply
    Lazy Pineapple
    May 7, 2010 at 8:59 am

    I feel most times it is the uneducated lot who go and commit these blunders…I agree that name calling is disrespectful. If it is a part of a person’s everyday vocabulary then they should use it with friends but learn to draw a line cause they themselves will lose their respect.

  • Reply
    Titaxy
    May 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    This is just such a bad example to set. Now everyone will act with sheer irresponsibility and disrespect, and hope to get away with it. It’s one thing to not like what the cop did or whatsoever, but it’s totally a different thing to disrespect him/her. Sigh.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    May 9, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Yea a fine would have good and sent a message that this kind of disrespectful behaviour is not tolerated. Unfortunately as you rightly said, the outcome has just made a mockery of the force!

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    May 9, 2010 at 8:39 am

    “we risk living in anarchical society, inhabited by citizens who have complete disregard for the law of the land.”

    I reckon what you said is not unlikely in the future…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    May 9, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Exactly! No one is saying cops are saints but they are still in a position of authority. Had the bloke called the judge a prick, I doubt he would have gotten away with it…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    May 9, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Exactly! No one is saying cops are saints but they are still in a position of authority. Had the bloke called the judge a prick, I doubt he would have gotten away with it…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    May 9, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Drawing a line is essential. I swear a lot I will admit but I do not swear in front of my colleagues or my clients and doubt I will ever swear at a cop…it’s one thing to say “oh the f*ing driver” and it’s different to say “you f*ing idiot” to their face…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    May 9, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Yes..espeically when they are someone in authority…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    May 9, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Well, prick is technically not foul language which is what the charge was. But you would think that at the very least, to set an example, a fine would have been doled out. And my worry is that this will spread across the board with students then calling teachers names like ‘prick’ but given that there is no law, they could actually fight any suspension. I am not a fan of calling someone names to their face, period.

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