Operators define an "assault" as any action by another which threatens our safety. This could be a menacing verbal threat, someone purposefully brushing our shoulder on the way out the door while cursing us, a drink thrown at us, being spit or puked upon, having insults screamed in our face, or an actual physical assault. The district, for some strange reason, tends to solely define "assault" as physical aggression. This is misleading in that it furthers the notion that we're still expected to operate after our bodies have experienced a severe biological shock. The "fight or flight" response to a threat or an assault is scientifically proven to have a lasting effect on the victim. It can sometimes take weeks, months or even years to recover from it. The adrenaline rush, hormonal explosion and muscle tension can be thoroughly exhausting even though the crisis may only last a few minutes. Those who continue in service after such an incident are not fully capable of driving safely because the operator's mind constantly replays the incident. Instead, we need to concentrate on all we're trained to do in the seat. This is called "distracted," or even "impaired" driving, which in other contexts is illegal. Therefore, as far as many operators are concerned, the term "assault" covers a wide spectrum of offenses. It's certainly more inclusive of the open hands we're faced with on the job than the district's deceptively-slim definition of the term.
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