A plan without a plan

Last week’s assault on a Manhattan restaurant hostess by a group of Texans, who were angry they were asked for proof of vaccination, was of course galling and disgusting. Alas, the city’s plan for dealing with this type of conflict has been baffling. From Mother Jones: “New York City provided restaurants with conflict resolution training in recent weeks, and we’ll continue doing everything we can to help them adjust to this program safely and smoothly.”

As my friend @bfwriter notes: “Conflict resolution training only works with reasonable people and resolvable conflicts. This is. . . something else.”

There are two overall kinds of conflict resolution: Two-sided, where the two antagonists can come to a resolution together on their own, and three-sided, where they can’t come to a resolution on their own and require a third party. Examples of three-sided conflict resolution include mediation and arbitration as well as litigation and police intervention. The only possible resolution choice here – when patrons are volatile and emphatic – is police intervention, it seems to me, but even that choice is not really feasible most of the time.

In British Columbia,

Premier John Horgan has said police could be called if patrons refuse to show businesses their vaccine cards, but [restaurant owners] and police representatives say that may not be realistic. …

Tom Stamatakis, the president of the Canadian Police Association, said placing the burden of enforcement on police will stretch resources and potentially affect responses to other calls. “We have a huge government infrastructure around, for example, the operation of licensed premises,” he said. “My view would be we should be looking to those agencies and resources in the first instance when it comes to enforcement.

“Police will obviously be available to assist in those circumstances or cases where it might escalate. The default should not be the police.” (from CBC)

I don’t know what the answer is.

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