A woman who drives a school bus in Suburbia tells me she and other drivers are unhappy because their passengers sometimes act like hoodlums.
"They refuse to sit still, they're disrespectful to the drivers and sometimes downright threatening, and the commotions they create while the bus is in motion pose a real danger," says the complainant. "Is there no way to deal with them short of putting a policeman on each bus?"
Have the school authorities ever announced that a commotion on a school bus will cause that run to be canceled on the following school day?
Have the school authorities ever announced that if there is another commotion after service has been restored, the run will be suspended for two days?
Have the school authorities ever announced that they are prepared to continue the progression for three days, or four, or as many days as it takes to get the message across? In short, have the school authorities ever laid it out bluntly for the riders that they must behave or walk?
Would peer pressure diminish the amount of rowdyism on school buses? Would pressure from parents who don't want to be bothered driving their children to school help? We'll never know until school authorities try to enforce discipline.
If life has been made a bit too easy for young people, we can always give them a taste of what it's like to do without modern conveniences for a while. They might develop a better appreciation of the money and effort that has been expended upon them. Like jogging, walking gives one time for contemplation.
THE GREAT TRACTOR INVASION
As the encampment of tractors and farmers dragged on this week, five basic truths came into sharp focus for the average District Liner.
The first was that if one plans to bring a parade of tractors into Washington to foul up traffic, it is a mistake to arrive on a clear day. Time your arrival to coincide with a snowstorm; then immediately claim credit for whatever ensues. The Washington police are too good at handling fair-weather disruptions.
The second is that any encampment of protesters on public space is a mitigated pain in the neck, whether the campers are bearded leftists in Insurrection City or po' boy Republicans in air-conditioned, stereo-equipped $32,000 tractors or $40,000 mobile homes. Both tear up the turf, deny the public its normal use of public lands, experience a need for bathroom facilities where no facilities exist and, like house guests and unrefrigerated fish, begin to stink in short order.
The third is that there is a clear distinction between the right to protest or ask for redress of grievances and a lawless disregard for the rights of innocent bystanders.
The fourth is that the Founding Fathers weren't completely bereft of common sense when they gave the Congress exclusive jurisdiction over the District of Columbia to minimize the possibility that Congress might be intimidated by mobs running wild in the streets.
The fifth is that the rugged individualists who resent "government interference" in other matters have not yet explained to us why the government should interfere to guarantee high prices for farm products. Steelmakers and TV makers and automakers are left to fend for themselves in a free marketplace. What's sacred about farmers?
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, I thought the po' boys from down on the farm put on a very effective show. I sure do hope they raise my food prices. I feel guilty about paying so little for their products.
Mixed emotions: Discovering that the price of the item you want to buy has been raised 50 percent since your last purchase -- but there's one left in the back of the shelf that still carries an old price sticker.
BOO OF THE WEEK
The year has a long time to run, but the District Line is already prepared to award its coveted 1979 Award for Chutzpah. It goes to the Washington Gas Light Co. for its determination to punish those who install energy-saving heat pumps. Any public utilities commissioner who votes to permit such a tariff should be ridden out of town on a rail.
'TWAS EVER THUS
Herm Albright says, "I'd enjoy the day more if it started later."