When I was in college, I had braces, and my orthodontist, in Brookline, was a brilliant guy. During my visits every three weeks to adjust my braces, we’d always talk about a number of interesting things, usually historical or political. I’ll never forget one such conversation, because it made such an overwhelming impression on me. We were having a discussion one day in his office about anthropology and human behavior, and he very reflectively commented that people’s civility towards each other exists in direct proportion to the amount of scarce resources around them. This, of course, is an analogue to the law of supply and demand in the field of economics, and merely says that when resources amidst a population are plentiful, human behavior will generally be absent of aggression, but when those resources become scarce or limited, the degree of civility exhibited among human beings will decrease in direct proportion to the amount of scarce resources present.
Translation: When people are competing for a fixed number of goods or resources, and there’s not enough to go around, their civility towards each other dwindles as a result.
I believed this principle as a young man, and as an adult, I still do. It’s sad, but true. As Dedham, Massachusetts assault and battery attorney, I’ve heard all the stories about people getting into fights over a variety of things – and this post has to do with that most coveted of scarce resources in Boston and many communities. Yes, it’s the proverbial parking space. In January 2010, a fight over this prized possession developed after a snowstorm in Boston. But it turned into more than just an argument.
In Suffolk Superior Court this past week, one Carmen Andino was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison, but not because she just argued over a parking space with her neighbor. No, according to court records she allegedly stabbed her 24-year-old neighbor with a kitchen knife, claiming that the neighbor had shoveled out a parking spot before Ms. Andino claimed it as her own.
She was charged with Boston assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
As a Norfolk County Massachusetts assault and battery lawyer, I never cease to be amazed at what can come across my desk. A case like this makes the point I’ve made previously ever more important: People need to control themselves when arguments develop. Charges like this are very serious, and can quickly develop into something that can ruin a life or career.