Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Today's Game "Shift the Blame"

On Tuesday February 14, I was driving East on Rt. 74 when I approached a school bus traveling in the right lane. I swung out to pass the bus and as I did an object in the shape of a soda can sailed out of one of the buses side windows, narrowly missing hitting my windshield. I honked my horn and motioned to the bus driver to pull over. I pulled in front of him and turned on my turn signal and slowed down and pointed to the roadside to pull over. He eventually did and I walked between my car and the front of the bus to the side door which was open. A husky young man with a Morton High School wrestling shirt asked me what the problem was. I told him and he immediately accused me of improperly stopping the bus. He was not interested in who threw the can and why the can was even on the bus to start with. After berating me and my calling the kid who threw the can a “punk”, he told me he would handle the problem. I left him my card and told him because of the hostile way he treated me that I would call his superintendent and report the incident. The bus was still following me when I turned off to Eureka to visit friends and relatives at a nursing home. On the way home, I decided that since the adult said he “would handle” it, to drop the incident. I considered that the bus driver did not want to stop because maybe I looked like a terrorist.

A number of years ago, the driver of a car tried desperately to stop me. When I finally stopped, the driver told me that my tennis racquet was riding on top of my trunk as I was driving along. I thanked him profusely and to this day I do not know how I was able to drive almost two miles without the racquet falling off my car.

A bus driver I talked with later in the day told me that food and drinks are not allowed on school busses but also said it was a rule hard to enforce because often the teacher and coaches brought food and drink on the bus, so how could he discipline the kids?

Today, I received a call from Phil Luciano of the JS telling me that he received a call from someone from Morton telling him about the incident and putting the blame on me. Okay, I can handle it; I’ve been assassinated by better people than some Morton School administrators and coaches.

I immediately put in a call to the Morton school superintendent and left my phone number. My phone call has not been returned.

I coached five years and took many a bus ride with my students and athletes. Had I been on that bus I would have told the driver to pull over earlier as for all they knew, I might have observed a tire going flat or a mechanical failure? I would not have greeted the person who had an object thrown at them from a speeding bus in a hostile manner. I would have also found out who threw the object and that person would not have participated in the activities planned. If no one would admit to throwing the object, I would have either returned to the school and sent everybody home as it was approximately !:15 P.M. when the object was hurled.

Part of the problem with our youth today is the home environment. Another great part of the problem lies with some of the teachers, administrators and coaches who teach these kids. Many of these people constantly side with the wrongdoer. When the kid defended by his adults goes thru life, many of these kids get by with larger misdeeds until today our courts and jails are jammed with kids who grew up to make a mess of their lives aided by those adults who were supposed to help them grow into manhood or womanhood.

I learned as a youth not to throw things at moving vehicles. In route from the farm to the grain elevator, I tossed a small handful of corn in the air as a car was passing. The motorist stopped his car and came for my dad. My dad asked me if I threw the corn and I had to say yes. My dad never said a word about it until that evening when he got out his razor strap and I became convinced that I made a mistake. It was lessons like that that got me thru life. But then that was yester years and today is today.

I believe many of my friends would like to return to some of the past when it comes to discipline but the modern “educators” do not believe in the old adage “spare the rod and save the child”. We are all paying the price of defending the wrongdoer and somehow shifting the blame to the accuser. Some teachers tell me that is why they put up with chaos in the classroom because they will be blamed for failure to control the class.

Luciano selection of words was that he might do a column on me shifting the blame from the kid to me. Luciano has in his articles stated that as a youth he did some really bad things and got away with them. He indicated he did not apologize for any of these actions. If he elects to write on this incident it would appear that this might be a continued attempt by a few members of the JS to assault my reputation or that Phil has a column to meet with nothing to write in it as is often the case with some journalists.

We as citizens have a right to try to call to the attention of misdeeds committed by kids under the supervision of adults about incidents like these at the moment it happens. Maybe someday we will return to a better behaved society even in Morton where all kids are good kids and not like Peoria school kids. That’s one of many reasons why their parents move out of Peoria

If this incident is written up in the JS tomorrow, please download my blog and forward it to your friends in Morton. Yet maybe tomorrow the superintendent will call me and Phil will decide this isn’t much of a story, which it isn’t.

29 comments:

Mahkno said...

Improperly stopping a bus?!? LOL. Busses have special rights of way? That coach is way out of line.

I am much younger than you Merle. My coachs would have done what you suggested. They did on occasion. I you did something stupid and you didn't get to play. Cover it up and no one got to play. What a loss those Morton kids are experiencing.

Anonymous said...

There's a lot more to this story than Mr. Widmer is sharing. 'Nuff said.

Stormin' Norman said...

What's worse though is the fact that 76% of my property tax dollars in Groveland go to the Moron school district, for which I have no need. Details of your episode reinforce the fact that my money is being wasted. Seek solace in the knowledge that what goes around, will come around someday for this imbecile…

Mahkno said...

Hmm let's see.

A kid tosses a can out a window along the freeway. He is littering and deserves a ticket. He might also be liable for something more severe. Tossing things on to freeways is a big no no.

The driver of the bus is responsible for objects flying off of or out of his buss that could have or may have damaged another vehicle. At a minimum he should have pulled over and both drivers exchange information. It didn't sound like the driver was aware that something flew off, fair enough, Merle signalled and wanted him to pull over. The driver should have and information exchanged.

People might be inclined to dismiss this, but objects flying at 65 mph can do a great deal of damage. My sister was nearly killed because someone thought it would be funny to toss a jar of pickles out a window. The car had 1000s of dollars in repairs.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight...bus full of young people...angry man motioning to "pull over"....angry man then pulling in front of bus full of young people forcing the bus to stop....

Reminds me of a story I once read about a school bus in Chowchilla. That story was far more sinister, however one never knows these days. As a parent, I would have been angry that Gestapo Merle had endangered my child/children.

Sorry that one of the kids threw the can, but you were way out of line buddy. You could have phoned in your concern to the bus company or school board. Or even followed the bus until it stopped safely. But once again, your pompous attitude took over...and you had to have it your way.

Keep your bullying tactics in the County Board Room or out at Bel-Wood. Those people are used to your BS.

Anonymous said...

You are a bitter old man....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Who endangered who first?

Learn2Parent!!

Typical suburban mindset. If it had been a District 150 bus, people would crying out for the kid's suspension.

Anonymous said...

Unbelieveable! I know your temper and it can be out of control!! It was reckless and irresponsible to pull over a school bus on an interstate highway. Though it turned out OK, this might have had a much different and very unfortunate ending.

Yes, the young man who threw the can out of the window was wrong. But so was your reaction and response. I can guarantee that you have sugar coated the incident to make yourself look better. The bad behavior by a 12 or 13 year old boy doe not give you the right to put the life of evry child on that bus in mortal danger. A phone call to the school district the next day with all of the particulars, including the bus number, would have been sufficient.


Shame on you, you bitter, crazy old man!

Anonymous said...

So I suppose, letting the kids continue chucking cans out windows, endangering motorists, is ok, and should have been allowed to continue?

Anonymous said...

If there was something wrong with the bus (on fire, etc.) I'm sure the driver would have been appreciative of this blogger pulling him over to alert him. However, as he was complaining, the outcome was different.

"You could have phoned in your concern to the bus company or school board."

From blog: I immediately put in a call to the Morton school superintendent and left my phone number. My phone call has not been returned.

So much for the school district giving a sh*t.

Maybe the best bet in this situation would have been to get on a cell and call 911 to alert the police that persons aboard a Morton High School bus were throwing things out the window. Maybe a night in Tazewell or Peoria County jail would have been more appropriate?

As a former athlete, as an athlete you are representing your school. Is this how you represent your school? School district; is this how you want your school to be represented?

Anonymous said...

A call to the school district would most likely result in nothing. I have called many times about busses speeding through my neighborhood only to be brushed off by the folks at the transportation department. The pinhead coach should have punished the athlete, I would bet the farm that he did not. The states attny's office should be looking into a ticket and prosecution of the driver/coach/student as the tossing of the object was the only crime committed and admitted to here, again they will not. Phils article is slanted as are all of his little rants.

Eyebrows McGee said...

Merle, you're lucky you didn't get shot or assaulted, confronting random others on the road that way, and frankly if you pulled in front of me and inexplicably tried to get ME to stop, I'd call 911 about a strange man trying to make me stop and get out of my car, and I'd run into your car to get away if I had to. That's a class carjacking technique, and the last place I lived it was the prelude to several rapes. Real creepy and dangerous of you.

I'm a safe driver with an exellent record, but I wouldn't think twice about damage done to your car or mine if you were trying to stop my car. I value my bodily integrity far too much to put myself at risk for an assualt or a rape merely because a random stranger feels the sudden urge to discuss my driving or the behavior of my passengers.

(And when young thugs chucked soda cans at my car at a red light? I rolled up my windows and left. I really prefer not to get involved in physical altercations with people who obviously aren't interested in societal norms.)

I had someone like you, Merle, try to follow me home after she decided that I didn't make a right turn fast enough (as I had a large piece of furniture in my car and was driving fairly carefully as a result). She tailgated me all over town for 15 minutes until I finally pulled over somewhere well-lit and well-populated. She then proceded to shout obscenities at me and wave her fists threateningly, until I was able to drive away out of sight before she could get back in her car to follow me again.

You've managed to put yourself in the catagory with that woman, frightening traffic vigilantes who endanger themselves and others. And potential carjackers and rapists who use that same technique.

Yes, it was a bus, not a passenger car, that you were stopping. It was still irresponsible, dangerous, and creepy.

If I had been you, I would have been too concerned about my own safety to stop a random vehicle, knowing that a frightening number of people carry loaded weapons or are willing to take a swing at you for no reason. If I'd been your quarry, I would have been terrified you were a rapist targeting me. I just can't understand why in any universe this struck you as a good idea.

Anonymous said...

You might have considered telephoning the police or highway patrol regarding this incident. Yes, the CHILD'S behavior was VERY dangerous to other drivers, however you are supposed to be an ADULT. Your behavior was equally or more dangerous to an entire busload of children. Should the child be punished? Absolutely. Should you be punished for endangering a busload of children? Absolutely.

Your megalomaniac tendancies are showing Merle. Get over yourself and admit that you were angry and probably didn't handle things in the best way. As earlier posted, you probably appeared quite angry looking to the bus driver who was entrusted with the safety of these children. I wouldn't have pulled over for you, and had you tried your little antics of pulling in front of me to stop me, I would have phoned the police to report some crazy old man on the highway. Way too much road rage these days to stop my vehicle. You would have ended up spending the night on the 7th floor at Methodist or the County Jail.

You talk about the "shift the blame game"? Just who would have been at fault if that bus had lost control and innocent children were hurt or killed? I'm sure you would have been playing the same "Shift The Blame" game that you are currently playing.

Shame on you. Next time you are at Bel-Wood, consider checking into their Alzheimer's unit.

raoul duke said...

Merle you showed some real balls standing up and handling the situation "old school" style. Too many pussys in the world rolling up windows running away ingoring situations and avoiding confrontations at all costs..... and then spouting off about how they would commit assault by ramming your car or causing you physical harm.. a bit schitzophrenic if you ask me. I have lived in Texas where anyone will confront you head on for this kind of Bulls**t and where you would be hard pressed to find a car-jacker, what ever happened to responsibility and parents/coaches punishing a child for bad behavior rather than chastising another adult for catching them. I say to your naysayers Grow a pair, confront someone when you see them doing wrong make difference and for christs sake do not castigate those who do.

Anonymous said...

Merle, you arrogant, bitter old man. What pisses me off the most is that this bus driver acutally pulled over for you!
It is so obvious now that you are scrambling to do damage control; that your making yourself look like an even bigger idiot!
Do you actually think that you have the authority to effect a traffic stop?! Have you self appointed yourself a law enforcement officer because you used to peddle some office furniture; and now take up space on a city board?
You handled this situation very very wrong Merle; and you know it; everyone knows it.
Call 911 and let the authorities do their job. Your actions and your temper have been getting you into trouble for a long time and they continue to do so.
You are an embarrassment to your public and you are in desperate need of being put in your place.
You try and pull me over on the highway Merle; and you will be.

Anonymous said...

Road Raaaaaage Widmer. Crazy old man. As for all those nuts that seem to think what you did was "old school", they probably would agree that you should have put your "equalizer" against the offending youths head to teach him a lesson.

Anonymous said...

Seeing someone doing something wrong and calling them on it is road rage? What has happened to our society. If you live near an overpass and observe kids dropping things into the flow of traffic do you tell them to stop? Do you call 911 and wait while they drop a few more for the police to arrive? Do you turn the other way so as to avoid seeing anything? Your answer defines you. While you may not fit into the I would tell them to stop mold does that make the person that does a nut? Would you want that person punished for reprimanding children that are not their own?
What punishment was handed down to the youth that was tossing things out of a bus on the highway... call the school and find out that there was none.

Anonymous said...

Anyone here would have had some sort of reaction to the soda can incident if put in the same situation as Merle. Some view what he did as extreme, some do not. However, there wouldn't be numerous blog entries, crazy old man name calling, Phil Luciano articles and questionable reactions by this blogs host if some irresponsible child wouldn't have tossed a soda can out of a moving bus window on an interstate highway in the first place.

While I don't necessarily wholeheartedly agree with Merle's reaction, he did state it as it is: shift the blame. It's obvious it's all Merle's fault that he got plugged by a soda can. There wouldn't be blame to shift if a soda can wasn't flung from school bus window.

Merle Widmer said...

Thanks for everbodies comments. Let's say P.L. has never particularty like me since I called a very limited few of the the JS liars in a blog some time back.. The JS writers who don't like me, love to use a picture of mine that is not too flattering. Anybody got a picture of Phil like maybe when he was drunk in a bar? Or dropping a bag of garbage of an overpass?

Roger Kilpatrick from Morton who is a fine individual did play phone tag with me but the superintendent did not call me. Both Morton High and Woodford County Sheriff's Dept. have made contact with me and the matter from thier point of view is closed.

The only real conversation I ever had with P.L. was when he told me he thought I was too old for politics and that as a kid he like to pull the chair out from under old people like me when they went to sit down as he loved to see them grab air and scramble.
Phil has bragged about being a hell-raiser and getting away with it as young man.

Others have said that when he speaks in public people see him as a big arrogant windbag with a dislike for authority and people he "perceives" as having more money than he has.

Fortunately for the reader he does not represent the majority of JS writers.

Anyway, thanks for reading me. My support groups all support my actions and one lady who called said "keep up the good work, buckaroo". She didn't leave her name but thank you and I will.

P.S. Bellwood does not have an Alzheimer wing but when a couple of "anonyomous writers get old, I'm sure they will have one for them.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine there is such a thing as a flattering picture of you.

Anonymous said...

As a concerned parent I would have been very upset with the school bus driver for stopping and letting a stranger on the bus. We live in a time of road rage and terrorist. You are out of touch with reality today. You could have contacted the school or gone to school board meeting, but that would of required a bit more of your time. I guess it was just easier for you to pull over a bus of children on a dangerous highway and lecture them. You are a fool if you think that you taught them a lesson other than it is ok to act on an impulse and behave improperly. Had you gone through the appropiate channels the child would have been more likely to learn a lesson from his coach or parents. Instead you made the public feel sympathetic for this child. You can talk about how it was in the old days and how parents were harder on kids but that is just not true. Taday kids are expected to do so much more and they can are not allowed to make the same mistakes you or I made as a kid. If you really want to help todays youth you should consider volunteering for some youth program. Besides, only one child threw the can and why should the rest of the children have had to go through a traumatic experience when they didn't do anything. They have the SAME RIGHTS AS YOU and you got on that bus and passed judgement on all of them. Last I checked you are not a judge. If my child had been on that bus I can assure you that I would have gone through the appropiate channels to make sure you were notified and reprimanded for your inappropiate behavior. Perhaps a public apology to the children, coaches and bus drivers would salvage your political career. You are an adult and should know better, you were like a child throwing a fit because he didn't get his way instead of thinking things through. SHAME ON YOU MR. WIDMER!

pollypeoria said...

Merle,

I love and respect you, but at the very minimum - you freaked out an entire bus load of kids for the action of one. At worst, you endangered lives- including your own- because you were angry. The punk who threw the can was wrong. However, the Coach and bus drive probably do not have eyes in the back of thier heads. Moreover, I humbly confess that I did worse than litter/throw a can when I was a teenager. I would wager that even those of your generation, Merle, likely did something more regrettable during their youth. Yet, I have grown up to be a law abiding, productive (well, most days anyway), tax paying citizen. I can forgive your actions because I feel I know you via your blog. However, if my kid had been on that bus, I would want your head on a platter! Poor anger management is at least as much a character flaw as littering.

Re-read Eyebrows comments to understand how this particular action is viewed in modern times, Merle. What you did is threatening on many levels. These days someone who is angry enough to force you to pull over is likely to a be rapist or a maniac with a gun, just itching to kill somebody over a percieved slight.

worm said...

"We as citizens have a right to try to call to the attention of misdeeds committed by kids under the supervision of adults about incidents like these at the moment it happens."

Is your dad still alive, Widmer? Because I'd like to confront him about your behavior, I think he needs to get out the old razor strap again.

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Mahkno said...

The post above mine is a poorly executed effort at ASCII art... rendering nude pictures.

I had nothing to do with it... just pointing that out in case someone looks at it and goes 'buh?'

Anonymous said...

Just for the record...it's spelled Bel-Wood. AND, again just for the record....they DO have an Alzheimer's Unit. Aren't you involved with them somehow through the County Board? Perhaps you ought to visit the place and learn more about them. It is a wonderful facility.

Homer Simpson said...

Your parenting skills leave something to be desired. A quick look at your childrens' past would verify that!

Anonymous said...

Merle

Your temper is going to get the best of you one of these days. That kind of attitude is not what the County Board needs. You should be ashamed of your self. You cannot excuse the actions you took that day.

You need to just stay home and not involve your attitude on others

AdamB said...

OK, Merle: Why did you have to pull over the bus on a FREEWAY? Isn't that a little more dangerous than littering? Why not follow the bus until it had exited onto a local street?

For the record, I generally agree with your actions, except for the fact that it is very dangerous for a schoolbus to merge back onto an interstate highway from the shoulder!

To me this really exposes your egotistical pompousness, that you couldn't wait for a more appropriate place for this confrontation.

Finally, the adage is not "spare the rod and save the child" as you say. Think about it... I'll wait.

It's "spoil the child". Duh.