What’s Up with All the Rage?

by Kristen Rabe

March 9, 2001



Table of Contents


Air Rage

Sports Rage

Surf Rage

Cell Phone Rage

Snow Rage

Work/Desk Rage




Is it just me or is rage becoming more apparent in today’s society? We have all heard of road rage and now with all these incidents of school shootings, we know that there is school rage. What some of us might not know about is the multitude of other kinds of rage that exist in our world that range from air rage to snow rage. This annotated bibliography gives a brief overview of some of the well-known and not so well-known rages such as: air rage, sports rage, surf rage, cell phone rage, and snow rage.


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While reading the daily news section of the Yahoo site, one of the articles caught my attention. The article’s entitled, "Control Air Rage or You’ll Be Handcuffed." The opening line of the article was an attention gainer:

Beware: If you step out of line while flying on Continental Airlines, you could end up wearing handcuffs.

This article explains how several airline companies are looking into having plastic handcuffs on planes in order to protect passengers and employees from enraged passengers. According to the Flight Attendants' Union leader Carla Winkler, "In the last five years, there's been an increase in rage incidents by 400 percent." Winkler also said, "At least if you need to use the restraints, you know they're there." On the other hand, there are others who disagree with the use of handcuffs on board. Rufus Sims, the attorney who represents Terrence Howard (movie actor who was arrested for allegedly pushing a flight attendant), said that the cuffs could cause extra trouble.

"(Peope will say) 'They use excessive force, they hurt me,'" Sims said. "They will sue the stewardess, sue the pilot, sue the airline.".

This web page link is simple and straightforward since it’s a direct link to the article. The article itself basically introduces the two sides to this controversial solution to air rage in an easily readable fashion.

In my opinion, if the number of incidences of air rage is increasing, then some kind of solution needs to be at least attempted--if it's the use of handcuffs, so be it. Some kind of restraint should be available if the circumstances call for restraint. The option of using handcuffs as a restraint for aggressive passengers should be up to each airline company. After a reasonable amount of time, if air rage incidents still seem to be on the rise after implimentation of the handcuffs on board, then some other alternative should be explored.


"Cabin Fever Rages: Flight Attendants Take the Heat" is the title of a report by Christoper Elliot, a.k.a. The Crabby Traveler (an L.A. based writer). The title of the web page is In-Flight Assaults Increase. Like the first web article I summarized earlier, I like the ‘attention getter’ of this page as well.

A flight attendant is slapped while he serves dinner. A crew member gets punched before takeoff. And a drunken passenger blows his stack after he's denied a martini, then uses a meal cart as his lavatory.

The section "Fever’s Spreading" introduces the reader to incidents of air rage. I liked the fact that Elliot provided some explanations (by those in the airline business or doctors) as to why these acts of rage occur. Those explanations could be found under the sub-section "Unplanned Reactions." The next section "Signaling Society’s Demise" goes a little more into depth as to other possible explanations of air rage and why this seems to be more of a problem now compared to society in the past. The final thing enjoyable about this page is not only did it state the problem of air rage, but it also had suggestions as to how to prevent one’s own air rage.

Share. Talk to the passenger next to you, and use humor to defuse a potentially explosive situation. "Never worry alone," advises Hallowell. "Don't just sit there and stew, because that's when you can go off half-cocked."
Abstain. Some people just go to sleep when they've had one too many, but others fly into a rage. Hallowell advises those who know they become mad drunks to keep away from the liquor. Besides, drinking on planes dehydrates you faster.
Exercise. A stretch or a stroll down the aisle can help relieve tensions and lessen anger. "Walk to the restroom, splash some water on your face, and then go back to your seat," says Hallowell. "That can help you get out of the rage state you're in."

Overall, Elliot was very informative on this topic and the fact that it provided air rage prevention tips made it all the better.


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Bad Sports with Cues From Adults: Are Kids Athletes Getting More Aggressive? is the web report done by Michael James and Tracy Ziemer on rage in youth sports. It opens with the familiar incident of the father who was beaten to death by another father during their sons’ hockey game. This page gives several situations of youth rage in sports from players head-butting referees to a free-for-all between parents and players. One situation that is gone through a bit more into depth is:

Bad Behavior
In the Illinois case, the 16-year-old pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail. In return, prosecutors dropped two counts of felony aggravated battery. If convicted of those charges, the boy — whose name was withheld because he is a juvenile — could have been confined in a juvenile facility until he was 21.
Under his plea agreement, the teen acknowledged he used his stick to push Neal Goss into the boards a second after the buzzer sounded during a junior-varsity game in Gurnee on Nov. 3. Both players were 15 at the time
Goss was left paralyzed below the waist and has limited use of his arms.

This page also brings up the matter of whether violence in youth sports is actually on the rise or does it just seem that there’s an increase because it’s reported more frequently because of media technology. Other sub-sections include how sportsmanship is on the decline, whether or not seeking criminal prosecution is going too far, and who is to blame—family and/or media.

I agree with one of the quotes from the article about how sports rage is a result of doing a bad job of teaching sportsmanship and how to enjoy sports. The "having to win" and "at all costs" mentality is becoming more of the focus in sports. The issue of who is to blame, I believe, is both parents and the media. Parents seem to get overly involved in their child's sport. Some may even be attempting to live through their child's life. Not only coaches, but also parents can place too much emphasis on winning and beating down their opponent. I think media is to be blamed as well. For example, we see sports rage in professional sports on highlight reels on sportscasts (i.e., batters running to pitcher's mound and punching each other). Those kinds of situations shouldn't be shown on television. Society needs to go back to the drawing board and teach our kids the value of sportsmanship.


Sports Parents Psychology is a great web site for parents whose kids are involved in sports. Although it’s directly geared for those involved with sports, I think the advice given may be applied to other aspects of life as well. One of the articles, Big-League Anger: Helping Your Child Cope with the Frustrations of Sports is very helpful in preventing sports rage in the child and provides a few common situations where children may lose their temper. What I like about this particular article is that it not only states the problem situation, but also a solution--what the parent can do or say to help his/her child deal with the anger.


Situation 1: The Blowup. So what do you do if your child blows up at a ref? Speak to your child before going home, but after the game, when he has had time to cool down.

+What to say: Try saying something like "All athletes get frustrated, and refs sometimes make close calls. But screaming at the ref is unacceptable. It will never get the ref to change his mind. And, as you found out, it can get you ejected. First, go over and apologize to the ref. Then let's talk about better ways to handle your frustrations."

+What this accomplishes: This approach shows your child that you empathize with his feelings of frustration. It also reminds him of the inappropriateness of his actions and the consequences they can have. You're also opening a discussion with him, in which, presumably, he'll express his feelings and you'll offer some suggestions on how he can respond appropriately the next time he gets angry.

Another aspect of the article that I enjoyed was the tips on how a parent can help his/her child control negative emotions. I agree with all of the given tips--some of which are: "praise your child when he/she acts appropriately" and "show your kids that you can maintain your cool when things get heated." To further comment on that last tip, parents should lead by example. If a child sees the parent screaming and yelling at the ref or acting aggressively, you can bet that the child will model the parent and react the same way when in similar situations.

Overall, I enjoyed the entire article because it provided real-life situations and possible solutions to those situations. I believe the solutions that are stated in this article not only help prevent sports rage, but can also be helpful in whatever aspect of our daily lives that gives us stress and makes us feel frustrated or angered.


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USA Today’s web site has an article on surf rage entitled "Battle of the boards down under: Old-school Australian surfers come to blows with novice riders dubbed ‘nancys’." This article describes incidences of surf rage in Australia, one of which involved Nat Young.

Nat Young, 52, a former world champion and Mickey Mantle-type legend in Australian surfing, took a horrendous beating after an argument in the waves. His injuries included two broken eye sockets, two broken cheekbones and smashed sinuses.

Young’s incident sparked Ian Cohen to form the first "national surf-rage summit".

The idea was to gather the sport's "tribal elders" to search for ways to prevent bashings on the beach.

Cohen is an avid surfer and Green Party member of the upper house of parliament of New South Wales, which is one of Australia's six states and contains Sydney. He seemed pleased at the end of the summit, the exact location of which was meant to be a secret.

"This was the first and biggest gathering of its sort in Australia and maybe the world," Cohen says.

I think Cohen's efforts to prevent surf rage is a step in the right direction. People need to come together, especially surfers to develop/create rules, laws, or other kinds of preventable measures in the area of surf rage. Cohen's attempts should be commended.

This article also talks about act of "dropping in." It says the biggest cause of surf rage is "dropping in." "Dropping in" is the breaking of the rule that the surfer who is closest to the curl (breaking point of the wave) gets to catch the wave.

Dropping in often leads to heated arguments, and sometimes fights, when too many surfers are chasing too few waves. As a result, says Fred Pawle, who covers surfing for The Australian newspaper, the surfing "brotherhood" has "turned into a screaming bunfight."

The general purpose of this article is to educate readers about what surf rage is, to reveal to the public the dangers of surf rage particularly in Australia, and what actions are being taken to prevent the rage. The article states interesting information and statistics on this topic as well as many interesting opinions from surfers, which at times I find to be shocking. You can find all this information by clicking on this article.


An article (by Tim Duncan) from the Star Bulletin web site talks about Nat Young (a victim himself of surf rage) and his new book "Surf Rage." Young’s book describes the "dark side" of surfing and says surf rage is "nothing new."

"Surf rage has existed for a long, long time," said Young, 53. "But no one has wanted to expose the dirty underside of what's supposed to be a very glamorous sport."

This article describes some surf rage experiences and also has clear pictures of surfers in a rage from Young’s book.

The outcome of overcrowding.

Young and surf journalist Derek Rielly got together and got a list of surfing writers who soon contributed some chapters to "Surf Rage."

The prime motivation in writing the book was "to turn a negative into a positive," and to confront that surf rage exists worldwide.

This article is very interesting and provides excerpts from Young's book which produces images of the various incidences of surf rage in your mind. Along with the image-provoking text, there are also real images. The pictures alone should be reason to view this article. Like I said earlier, the pictures are so clear and so close-up that you can really see the rage and the gruesome outcome of an incidence of surf rage. The pictures are alarming, yet the images made me realize how aggressive and territorial some surfers can be and that something needs to be done to prevent such occurrences.

To view Duncan’s article about Young’s book, click on this Surf Rage.


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An article found in the Wired News web site discusses the topic of "Cell Phones: All the Rage" by Amy Wu. The article opens up with what may be a typical day in the life of some readers.

NEW YORK -- At the crack of dawn on a commuter train rushing from the suburbs to the city, a man pulls a cellular phone from the pocket of his business suit. He dials and, oblivious to the people around him, begins to chat.

The conversation evolves from a brief hello into the intricacies of a business deal. Some fellow passengers sigh. Others clear their throats and stare intently, a warning to the user that this has gone on too loudly, too long.

Finally someone asks: Does he realize that he's disturbed the sleepy peace? The man replies gruffly, "The cell phone was made for use."

The article then goes on to explain how cell phones are becoming the new rage in today’s society and how the two sides—people who love to use them and people who are annoyed by those who use them—are trying to be pleased by certain businesses.

In New York, a handful of restaurants have sections in their dining areas where cell phone use is allowed and where people who abhor the intrusion can eat in peace. Other establishments have posted signs near their doors warning patrons to be courteous when it comes to yacking on the wireless.

When I look at it face on, this concept of having what you might as well call a 'non-cellular section' and a 'cellular section' in restaurants is humorous. It's funny to me, yet I also feel that whatever actions needed to prevent rage in people, no matter how ridiculous it may sound, should be enforced.

The owner of Gabriel’s Bar and Restaurant had a clever analogy about cell phone usage.

"I feel like it's the cigarette of the '90s," the fast-talking Aiello says in an interview he conducts on his cell phone.

"If non-cell phone users become as empowered as non-smokers, rules will have to change," Aiello said. "We have a mixed bag of beans where you have the Barry Dillers of the world -- and you can't tell Barry Diller he can't use his cell phone."

The article also contains other witty suggestions that might reduce cell phone rage like having cell phone etiquette books.

Travel writer Lois Reamy, disturbed by the increased rudeness of phone-talkers, thinks cell phone manufacturers should distribute a little etiquette book with each phone.

This is another idea that sounds ridiculous, but personally, I wouldn't totally throw out the idea. Having this etiquette book may or may not have a great impact on the incidences of cell rage, but I believe it could have some effect. There are people who don't even realize how rude they can be when using their cell phones or don't even know that there is such a thing as cell phone rage. Therefore, this book may help some become aware of their rudeness as well as the issue of cell phone rage.

Overall, this article is full of interesting stories of real-life accounts of the battles between cell phone users and those who are annoyed by them, what some business are doing to reduce the amount of cell phone rage, and other possible solutions suggested by those who are annoyed.


An article by Dave Carpenter entitled "Cell phones offer newest way to be rude" describes the increase in number of cell phone users and complaints about them.

As cellular or mobile phones proliferate rapidly, with more than 100 million U.S. users and counting, so are complaints about cell phone rudeness.

The article also goes on to explain that these complaints are resulting in a number of incidents of cell phone rage all over the world.

Doctors at a Toronto hospital report treating mobile phone talkers and irritated bystanders for black eyes and even a cracked rib after eruptions of "cell phone rage."


It's no wonder actor Laurence Fishburne became something of a hero for bellowing at a cell-toting spectator during a Broadway play last year, "Will you turn off that (expletive) phone, please?"

There is another sub-section in this article that discusses how cell phones may make one feel like a "big shot". I agree with that statement. Although owning a cell phone is fairly common these days, using it in public may still give certain people that "I'm better" or "I'm more popular than you" attitude. This attitude may really bother or annoy others who aren't afraid to express their opinions to them and that may lead to a confrontation of rage.

There's also one story that I found to be quite, pardon the term, 'brainless,' on the cell phone user's part. A student was taking his final exam and when his phone rang he started walking out. The teacher who was surprised by this, told him if he answered the call he would get an F, so the student sat back down. You would think the student came to his senses, but he ended up getting the F anyways because he left to call someone a few moments later! How brainless is that? That goes to show how people can get so caught up with cell phone calls that they seem to not even care about the repercussions.

In addition to all this information, this article also has a box about "Mobile Etiquette." I think the suggestions provided in the box are good ones and are easy to understand. I especially like the first suggestion, "Remember that the person you're with should take precedence over the phone call." Unless it's an emergency, you shouldn't have a conversation with someone on your cell when you're with someone else. That's just rude.

To view this article click on cell phone rudeness.



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One of the articles found in the msnbc web site talks about the sentencing of a man who killed his neighbor. Not only is the killing absurd, but also the reasoning behind the killing—snow rage!

Two families torn apart over a snow shoveling incident last January. Mockewich and Kirkpatrick argued over snow being shoveled too close to Kirkpatrick’s truck. Both men had guns. Mockewich says he shot Kirkpatrick in self defense. The jury didn’t buy it.

I find this entire situation to be totally absurd and a shame. Someone dying over snow being shoveled too close to a person's automobile? What is our world coming to? It's obvious in this incident that anger was definitely not controlled. The anger turned into extreme rage and if there's a weapon accessible to the people involved, that's when tragedy may come knocking on the door. Now both families are left to deal with the remnants of this tragedy. Hopefully this incident will teach others that it's important to keep your cool and monitor your emotions. Talk things out and although it seems to be the obvious thing not to do (but for some people I guess it may not be that obvious), don't resort to using guns. Don't let rage get the best (or should I say the worse) of you.

To find out more about this episode of snow rage and the sentencing of the killer click on "Snow rage sentencing."


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According to an article by Beth Nissen found in CNN's site, "desk rage" is defined as:

--anger at work that takes the form of yelling, verbal abuse, attacks on office equipment (usually computers), and fistfights with office-mates.

Work/desk rage is being seen more and more in today’s workplace. According to this article, the level of stress due to the increasing amount of work needed to be done with only a few individuals hired to do so may be one cause of the rising amount of work rage.

"This is something we should take seriously," says Sean Hutchinson, president of Integra Realty Resources, a national real estate valuation firm that commissioned the survey. "It suggests that stress in the workplace, and the pressure to produce, is uncommonly high. More people are being asked to do more than they can handle."

The article also contains surprising statistics as to how much anger and rage is being acted out in the workplace.

In a new national survey of more than 1,300 American workers, 42 percent said yelling and verbal abuse took place where they worked -- and 29 percent admitted that they themselves had yelled at co-workers.


One in ten respondents [who took the Integra Realty Resources stress test] said they work in an atmosphere where physical violence has occurred. Attacks on inanimate objects were more common: 14% of respondents said they work where machinery or equipment has been damaged by an angry worker.

I found these statistics to be somewhat alarming considering that at my workplace I've never experienced yelling at co-workers or damaging of equipment by anyone. I guess you could say I'm in a fortunate situation. Also, notice I said "somewhat alarming". Although I haven't experienced those types of aggressive acts, I have heard stories from friends and family members who have experienced those types of situations in their workplace.

The article also states other possible causes of wage/desk rage, one of which is cubicle stress. One person said that desk rage should be renamed "cubicle rage." In some instances there are 2 or 3 people sharing a cubicle made for one person. For this reason of overcrowding as well as the extra noise issue, people working in cubicles experience much stress and may have bouts with rage. This concept of "cubicle rage" was unknown to me until reading this article.

Information about how businesses are trying to prevent work rage, other related stories, and other related links are also included on this web page. You can also take the Integra Realty Resources stress test because there's an included link on the page.

To view this page in its entirety, click on "Overworked, overwrought: ‘desk rage’ at work."

Overall, I think each company should implement some kind of mandatory workshop on how to control one's anger and frustration in the workplace. Some sort of training or precaution should be taken to prevent even the mildest incidences of work rage, and definitely, we should all try to prevent another Byran Uyesugi or John Miranda incident from happening again.


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As you can tell, there are many types of rage in today's society. We experience rage daily throughout our lives, whether it be directly or indirectly. Acts of rage is not something we should take lightly. We need to educate people by not only making these various types of rage known, but also provide ways to prevent them. We also need to become self-aware of our own emotions, so that we can control and prevent our own acts of rage. When we learn to control our emotions and know how to take preventive measures against rage, only then will our society no longer be linked with the "The Age of Rage."


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