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Interview with Leon James:

Culturenotes Webseed Publishing Network Allan Stein October 2001

We are currently doing article research on the phenomenon of parking lot rage and how it is becoming as pervasive and dangerous as road rage. Your thoughts on the following questions will be greatly appreciated: What is the clinical definition of parking lot rage? Why does it happen, who is most susceptible to it psychologically, and how can it be prevented? Does parking lot rage signify a coarsening of attitudes and an erosion of public etiquette?

What is the clinical definition of parking lot rage?


There is no clinical definition or parking lot rage or even road rage though I expect there will be in the future. Also, there is a total absence of research in this area thus far.

Why does it happen, who is most susceptible to it psychologically, and how can it be prevented?

Parking rage, like road rage, is due to a breakdown or weakening of people's internal control of their emotions in public places. This erosion is part of a general problem in our society in relation to anger and how we express anger. We learn as children to express anger and disrespect and this tendency is strengthened as we grow up. There is a mental attitude that encourages cynicism towards authority and moral virtues such as kindness, tolerance, and compassion. When we get challenged in parking lots by someone's else's actions, we feel enraged. Many people lack the skills to cope with this rage and so they express it through aggressive or violent behavior.


Does parking lot rage signify a coarsening of attitudes and an erosion of public etiquette?


Yes. George Washington used to say that civility is the glue that holds our nation together. Unless we teach our children the coping skills of how to deal with emotions in public places, parking lot rage, road rage, air rage and other forms of rage will continue to increase.

 

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