Kevin Leavitt wrote:
To the guy doing the bullying, Brian appeared to be a bigger bully. That is usually how it starts, most bullies are picked on or dominated by other bullies. (Alpha dog syndrome). So I would submit that Brian probably did nothing more than intervene in the current situation. This guy will continue to bully his child, although probably not in public as much knowing that their are people out there like Brian that are willing to stand up.
To modify behavior we need a long term approach. Unfortunately, for adults, it is very hard to intervene until someone is hurt or files charges etc.
There is a real "bully/counter-bully" element to police work. It is something a good policeman is aware of, takes into account and "uses the power for good."
What bothered me was not that he was going to beat everybody up when he got home. I am fairly certain that he is/was the type that spends his time looking for reasons to be cruel to people. I guess that given a situation lacking people, his furniture and any pets would suffer. The woman and the kid were in for a rough time no mater what I had done.
What did bother me was the sudden realization that, although I was an all powerful rookie cop, and could immediately cause a violent and abusive situation to end on the spot, I had no control over what happened after they left my view. It was a moment of personal awakening about my role in a bigger world.
I do not think that I/we can expect to drive out a persons inner demons by confronting them. But as Kevin points out, not tolerating abusive conduct will at least force it into the shadows, where, hopefully, it will not flourish.
It is not that I did right/wrong, it is just that by training, employment and inclination, I had to do something. I just hope (to this day) that they got out of that situation.