In the first chapter of A is for Asshole, the Grownups’ ABCs of Conflict Resolution, we dissect and illuminate why an otherwise sober member of the Fourth Estate might resort to the purchase of a paintball rifle in response to the asshole who cuts into the long line of cars “crawling toward the exit for the Brooklyn Bridge. See Line-Cutting, on Four Wheels from today’s New York Times here.
Note that reporter Alice DuBois’ first imagined response to this violation of the social norm “first in time, first in right” is the contentious dispute resolution technique of shaming (You should be ashamed of yourself. You cut in front of this line of decent citizens) after which she immediately resorts to the imagined pseudo violence of a paintball rifle (well within my budget).
In point of fact, real people suffer real injury, and some of them death, in fights over parking places every year. As I point out to friends who do not understand conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East, “you’ve owned that parking space for what? all of sixty seconds? a minute? two? and yet people are moved to violence when someone steals their place in line. Multiply that by a few thousand years of perceived entitlement and what you get is intractable violent conflict.”
What to do?
One promising and yet underdeveloped segment of the alternative dispute resolution movement is negotiation advocacy. Roles such as collaborative attorney and conflict coach are allowing ADR practitioners to enhance their...By Nathan Witkin