Years ago, while riding around with my brother, and a friend, in my brother's open jeep, we decided to stop at a hamburger spot for a quick bite. They had both finished high school and I was on my last year. Young and dumb would be a good description of the three of us, since we were stopping in a part of town that wasn't nearly as nice as it once was.
We stopped, got the orders and returned to the jeep to enjoy. As we were eating, a crowd of about 15 young ethnic men came out of nowhere and surrounded the jeep. Apparently, a group of young punks in a mustang decided to ride through a neighborhood shouting racial slurs, which irritated the young men. They asked if we'd seen anyone, which returned the answer: "No". We really didn't think much of it, and returned to eating.
Within a few minutes, the leader/speaker of the crowd decided he wanted a bite of our friend's hamburger. His answer was "no", and all hell broke loose. Within seconds, we were pelted with rocks and pieces of asphalt. My brother, who never faltered, started the jeep, threw it in reverse and "hauled ass" in reverse for two blocks. Meanwhile, the crowd followed for the first block, while continuing to throw whatever they could find.
After turning down a side street, and placing a few blocks between us and the crowd, we stopped to access the damage. My brother had a few bruises; I had a cut on my face from a rock that shattered against the roll-over bar and our friend was bleeding like a stuck pig from his mouth. He'd taken a direct hit in the mouth. After a trip to the emergency room, he received a bunch of stitches and the promise of some dental work.
Long story short: the police couldn't find anyone, friends would have burned down half the town in retribution and I could only describe my feeling as sick to my stomach. Between the anger, fear, guilt for escaping with a light injury and the general feeling that the entire group of young men deserved something more painful than burning in Hell for a few weeks, I realized when it comes right down to it, nobody can protect you better than you.
On any other day, we'd have been hunting somewhere, and the young punks would have dealt their "justice" as a thinning herd. Unfortunately, we didn't have a gun - or maybe it was fortunate. I'm thinking the massacre of three shotguns on the group would have left few alive, if we could have reached our shotguns. In an open jeep, there's little to protect you from unruly crowds.
So, in the end, there was only three people to blame. We'd left ourselves exposed, failed to enter a sometimes rough section of town properly armed and learned the hard lesson that such things in life will bring. You live and you learn, but more than anything else: you never forget that violence is only one moment away. Knowing this is important. Protecting yourself is more important and a huge part of protection is being aware of your surroundings and avoiding being a target.
Since that time, I've avoided any type of crowd. Besides making me nervous, I know that any crowd is only as controlled as the dumbest, craziest lunatic involved.
In Case You've Wondered
My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.
If you're here for the stories, I started another blog: scratchingforchange.blogspot.com
One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.
I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Violence and Other Things You Rarely Think About
Labels: My mind wanders, The Past
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I'm glad you all got out okay.ReplyDelete
Of all the emotions I felt, the worst was feeling vulnerable. We might have been seriously injured, or killed and there was nothing to do about it. We were lucky that my brother assessed the situation, started his jeep and raced away from the crowd. Any hesitation could have ended in disaster.ReplyDelete