Taking A Bullet For Good Manners

by admin on May 16, 2011

The news reporter’s comment that Jay Rodgers got shot merely for opening a door for another person doesn’t quite tell the whole story.

Man Shot After Manners Scolding
Channel 2’s Eric Philips reports.
May 13, 2011
ATLANTA — A Douglasville man said he was shot after trying to give another man a lesson on manners. Police are still looking for the shooter.

Jay Rodgers and his family were on their way home from a Tim McGraw concert last month when they stopped at an Atlanta Shell station so his niece could use the bathroom. He said he felt insulted after a man he encountered ignored a polite gesture.

“I opened up the door for a gentleman. He walked in, and I quietly said, ‘Why don’t you say thank you for holding the door open?’” Rodgers told Channel 2’s Eric Philips.

When the man didn’t respond, Rodgers said he followed him outside and asked him to say “thank you” again, but the man kept quiet.

“He went to his car, put whatever he purchased inside it, and he pulled out a gun and shot me from about 15 to 16 feet away from me,” Rodgers said. “I passed out in my wife’s arms.”

The remainder of this article as well as a news video can be viewed here.

The news media portrays Jay Rodgers as a hero of good graces and manners, a man shot in the defense of courtesy.   I may be the first and only person to go on record for saying that had Jay Rodgers really understood manners, the likelihood of his getting shot would have been non-existent.

The first thing that jumps out was Mr. Rodger’s self serving manners.  He expects something for his courtesy of opening the door and the price is some acknowledgment, some validation of his behavior from the person receiving the benefit of his actions.     “Graciousness” is defined as “extending the hand of kindness to the undeserving”, and that includes clods who never acknowledge what you do for them.    We exercise courtesy to others and strangers because it betters society and ourselves to do so.   If you behave in socially courteous ways in order to receive reciprocity or verbal praise, you are being courteous for the wrong reasons.

Mr. Rodgers is solely responsible for his own manners (and as a parent, for his children’s until they are of age) and no one else’s.   His second mistake was to assume it was within his sphere of responsibility to educate a total stranger, an adult male, in the ways of manners.   It was not the time nor place to have that conversation even if he *was* in a position to speak into the man’s life.

Mr. Rodgers then is either oblivious  or completely disregards the very obvious non-verbal message being given to him and proceeds to press his point by following the man and nagging him pedantically.    He’s  a man on a mission to fulfill his own agenda of “pushing” a manners education on a stranger rather than letting his example be the message.   In summary, Mr. Rodgers was one rude dude.

Does this all justify someone pulling a gun and shooting him?  Of course not.  We all know the right and wrong of a very obvious illegal, criminal act.   But it’s the subtle nuances of social interaction that people seem far more confused as to what is correct and what is not.  Discretion is a large part of good manners, so is the good graces to overlook someone ignoring a kindness.   Had Jay Rodgers opened the door for the man as just a courteous gesture to a fellow human with no expectation of receiving reciprocal courtesies, there would be no news story to report.

{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Wink-n-Smile May 17, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Hal – I open the door for people if I happen to be at the door already and they are just approaching it. Gender, age, doesn’t matter. If I see someone approaching the door with arms full, and I’m even close to the door, I’ll generally dash over and open it for them, no matter who they are, becaues it’s how I would want to be treated if my arms were full.

Also, if Mr. Rogers were just going in, and he was holding the door for his wife and child, then the man approached the door while Mr. Rogers were still holding it, he should continue to hold it until the man had passed, as a matter of course, rather than let it close in the man’s face.

Gender, and “set-ups” don’t come into it. I’ve been somewhat paranoid myself, after a few incidents, but I’ve never considered it a set-up, unless the guy was waiting by the door. Since he was just using it, himself, it wouldn’t be a set-up, just a coincidence of timing.

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Wink-n-Smile May 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Lonely Hound – you make a good point. Mr. Rodgers could simply not have heard the response.

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Alison May 17, 2011 at 10:15 pm

He followed someone to their car. That’s harassment. I’m not saying he deserved to be shot, but he certainly shouldn’t have been surprised something bad happened.

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Southern Girl May 18, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Most of you are so oblivious to only think what you the stupid news reports. This story was taken totally out of context. He was only being kind by opening the door to the gentlemen. People raised in the South know that this is a common courtesy. He did not demand a thank you but only made a remark about a thank you would be nice. The shooter was not deaf or mute and was only a thug. He actually had a female in the car with him who was screaming at him the whole time. This is really ridiculous that people don’t use common sense to know how news reports edit what they want and make it out to be more than it is. The victim was merely standing by the truck waiting for a passenger to exit a truck. The “thug” went straight to the car put in his groceries and got out a gun. He walked within 15 feet of the victim and shot him then stared down the other passengers of the vehicle. He was a common criminal and had probably done this more than once. There are so many angry people in the world who shot and commit crimes for no reason. Does the victim’s wife and children need to suffer for some low life to prove himself with a gun. Real men in the south pull out their fists and fight it out not with guns. The same sex comments are ridiculous. Women and men in the south hold the doors open for people and most people do acknowlege with manners. Its the thugs that have no respect for anyone or themselves for that matter. Many children these days are beating and killing their parents for God’s sake. Manners should be taught no matter where you are from. Now the victim is out of work for 3 months with no income. Have a heart people.

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admin May 19, 2011 at 7:15 am

Southern Girl,

I live in the Southeast and am quite familiar with the custom of door opening for all. However, I have *never* encountered someone insisting they be thanked for what is a common courtesy.

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Amy May 18, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Wink-n-smile: A coincidence of timing does not preclude a threat, hence the phrase ‘crime of opportunity’. Everybody has to use their best judgment, and if I am out alone at night I do not judge it safe to let a stranger get that close to me. I do not trust people just because they appear polite.

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Just Laura May 19, 2011 at 8:55 am

Southern Girl,
The news report took what out of context? Here’s what the news report stated, and they are quoting the man who was shot!
“I opened up the door for a gentleman. He walked in, and I quietly said, ‘Why don’t you say thank you for holding the door open?’” Rodgers told Channel 2’s Eric Philips.
When the man didn’t respond, Rodgers said he followed him outside and asked him to say “thank you” again, but the man kept quiet.
“He went to his car, put whatever he purchased inside it, and he pulled out a gun and shot me from about 15 to 16 feet away from me,” Rodgers said. “I passed out in my wife’s arms.”

This guy stated in his own words that he asked about the “Thank You,” then proceeded to follow this guy in a dark parking lot toward his car! Who wouldn’t feel threatened?

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country chick May 23, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I am really surprised Jay has not been shot or had his tale kicked before now!He is a cocky,arrogant guy.He has been known to smart off @ random people many times!!!!!!I don’t think he deserved to get shot but I think he totally brought it on himself!!!!And he could have gotten his wife an other girls hurt too.Sometimes it takes something like this to knock you down a few notches and learn being a cocky jerk is not so cool after all!!!

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Thump_rrr May 25, 2011 at 7:05 pm

What everyone fails to mention here is that Jay Rodgers is yelling at the man while open carrying a firearm.
Is it possible that the shooter felt threatened?
Do we know what Jay actually said to the man?
I’m not condoning his being shot but in the firearm community we usually say “If you bring your gun leave your attitude at home.”

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country chick May 25, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Well……..this guy smarts off to random people all of the time.He did not deserve to get shot,but ,he should have never kept on and on.He should have said nothing.What an idiot!!!!!

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