Anger empowers. Surprising? Let me explain.


I’m usually reserved around strangers, but on a particular summer day at the Oregon Coast, I was anything but that. Anger enraged me to action like never before.


My husband Dave and I were enjoying a lovely day at the beach. A stiff breeze blew off the breakers as we walked along the wet sand with our dog. At one point we decided to have lunch and walked away from the waves to a dry, sandy spot sheltered by the cliff behind us.


We laid out our picnic and as I looked out at the waves, I saw an injured gull hobbling along next to the waterline.


Walking in the same direction as the gull was a group of five rough looking young men, probably in their early 20s.  By their swagger and gestures, it was obvious that they were used to owning whatever turf they were on, and people knew to leave them alone. They were intimidating, large, and loud.

And then they saw the injured gull.


One of them picked up a stone from the beach and threw it at the gull. The gull stumbled. The guy picked up another and threw it too.  Enough!!


With hot rage, I jumped up and ran toward them, my eyes burning holes in their backs. “LEAVE THAT GULL ALONE!” I shouted at the perpetrator. My determined, direct stare and no-nonsense tone had an immediate effect.


“Yes, ma’am,” he answered, and looked down.


They continued down the beach, still swaggering, but the gull survived and, I hope, was able to heal from its injury.

— Anne A