Who do you think are the real victims of road rage in the case of “Vhon Martin Tanto” and “Mark Vincent Garalde”?

I had a discussion with my partner — Wanna.

I shared to her that upon reading the accounts of eyewitnesses, I was under the impression that Tanto probably had a “period of temporary insanity” that night. It was triggered by the beating he took from Garalde. Also, Garalde’s provocative words, as shared by some eyewitnesses, may have really pushed Tanto’s sanity beyond its limit. Not that I am justifying what happened, I am just analyzing what transpired.

Wanna, however, countered that getting a beating and being provoked is NEVER A LICENSE to take another person’s life. She is absolutely right.

It brought to mind an incident that happened around April this year.

I was driving along the stretch of Boni Avenue. At one point, I stopped to let jeepneys cross the intersection. I didn’t notice one biker squeezing its way near me. So when the traffic was about to move, I stepped on the gas. The car moved for around two seconds, when I suddenly heard banging so I stepped on the brake. The biker was banging at my window. According to him, I almost hit his foot.

A shouting spree ensued. He would shout at the top of his voice, “Anong gusto mo?” (What do you want). Then I would retort at the top of my voice as well, “Bakit ano din ang gusto mo?” (What also do you want). It was a non-stop heated exchange of words. We were disrupting traffic.

At the hindsight, my mind was saying that it was WRONG. But my pride was saying to GO AHEAD and DO NOT LET HIM BEAT YOU. So listening to my pride, I continued shouting at the top of my voice. At that time, I can’t even recall why we were having that heated discussion in the first place. And how it started seemed to be not important anymore, as long as we were shouting at the top of our lungs.

Suddenly, an enforcer approached us. He requested to move our vehicles to the sidewalk. At the sidewalk, he gave us two options – (1) He will let us kill each other and he will just call an ambulance after, or (2) We will apologize and forget that the whole thing transpired. He then shared his personal accounts as traffic enforcer. He shared scary stories involving road rage. Then to cap it all, he asked the two of us if we want to become part of the road rage statistics or we will let things pass. (He must have been a toastmaster — gifted in storytelling.)

His stories made the two of us laugh. We both extended our hands and exchanged apologies. It made us realized how petty the reason behind our squabbling. We actually took off laughing at the whole thing, and thanking the traffic enforcer.

By the way, I made a personal note not to mention the incident to Wanna fearing her reaction. Then after a couple of weeks, when I thought it was safe, I shared this with her. I was wrong. BOOM! I got another scolding.

The case of Garalde and Tanto is an addition to the rising road rage statistics. I, however, believe that both are victims of what happened. I think that the real culprits in the whole mess are (1) the pride of the people involved and (2) the apathy of the onlookers.

For the people involve in road incidents, keep your cool. We should LISTEN to our logic and NEVER LET PRIDE TAKEOVER. Apologizing will not strip you of your manliness. It will actually make you a better person by teaching you to control unwanted emotions. And, most important is that it can keep you safe and alive. We just need to change our attitude and break our habits. (Sometimes how we react to certain situation is brought by our habits.)

For the onlookers, I know that we are fond of watching movies, and street squabble is providing us with the same satisfaction. It would help all of us (including the onlookers as they might get hit by stray bullets) to stop the fight. You don’t need to do it yourself. You can call the attention of persons of authority, such as “barangay tanods” or traffic enforcers. They can stop the whole mess without reaching the point when one of the persons involved (or one of the onlookers) get shot. Apathy is an offence we are all guilty of.

The number of road rage statistics is rising. I believe that we all have roles (personal and the community as a whole) to stop this from aggravating. We just have to ACT BEFORE IT DESTROYS US.

And please to our civilians, you don’t need to own guns… (This is my view because I have painful stories about this. Maybe next time…)


PS: You want to break your habits? Try this habit busting program.