News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Controlling anger key to making society work

Years ago, an incident occurred on a Miami street corner that made nationwide news. Two men rolling dice got into a dispute over a quarter. One participant pulled a knife and fatally wounded the other one.

Newspaper headlines recorded the story 'Man kills for a quarter.' The incident shocked people. But today, people shake their heads at such news because incidents of that type are more prevalent.

A 59-year-old Lacey's Spring man went to jail Saturday night for killing his 36-year-old son over a drop cord, also known as a trouble light. The son borrowed the cord and failed to return it until the father needed it for a project. At first, the son and his younger brother argued over the cord, or over something else. A fight broke out between the brothers.

The altercation moved to the front yard where the father, Carlton Grayson, used a steak knife to fatally stab his son, John DeWayne Grayson, in the leg, authorities said.

The Miami fight wasn't really about a quarter any more than the missing drop cord was the cause of the tragic, and most certainly, unintentional killing at Lacey's Spring.

The quarter and the cord were only vehicles for expressing unresolved anger.

Some people who run afoul of the law are required to take anger management courses. But most people never face their anger without an unfortunate incident occurring.

Outside taking one of the formal courses, here are some tips for keeping things in the right perspective:

  • Express angry feelings in an assertive manner, using calm, logical words rather than violence.
  • If you are expecting a heated discussion, slow down and think carefully about what you want to say. Try to think about what is causing the anger. Be clear about what you are asking and how it can be achieved. Try using phrases like "I feel angry with you because ..."
  • Listen carefully to the other person and remember that everyone is entitled to an opinion. Keep your cool in the face of your own and the other person's anger.
  • Be patient and ask questions to get to the heart of a problem and avoid being sarcastic or aggressive.

    Nineteenth century attorney and orator Robert Ingersoll got it right when he said that anger is a wind that blows out the lamp of the mind.

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