By Jueseppi B.
It was one of those things you never see coming, until you do; if you do. Usually, it’s too late to avoid the hit, but when you see it coming, as I did, you CAN try to limit the damage.
A cool, clear evening during the fall of 2012 was the setting for potential tragedy. Cool air and solitude accompanied me on a walk to my buddy’s house, one block from my own. The shadows faded as I extended the distance between myself and the corner street light. I was alone. All was well.
I traveled the block in silence until my footsteps crossed the threshold of his front door. Robert was a recent acquaintance, and a welcome one. Even though he’s a gun nut, as in LOVES Guns, he does so in a responsible way, so we were cool. I’m not anti-gun; they’ve played a MAJOR role in my life; I like and respect them. We chilled, chatted and handled guns for a while until I felt the tug of my wife’s request to not overstay my leave. We packed up, I stood up, and headed out the door.
I scanned, up to the near street corner, and down the sidewalk towards the dim streetlight at the corner nearest my home. It’s my custom. Again, I was alone, walking. That didn’t last.
Two houses below the one I’d left, I felt the urge to check behind. I don’t ignore those urges. It’s my custom. Looking back revealed that I had company. Three young boys in their late teens were behind me, and they intended to rob me. Shit!
Four houses from my street corner, they were one house behind me. Shit! I doubted that a 48 year old man was going to grab this blue ribbon, but, I decided to try and make it to the corner street light that now seemed milesaway.
Checklist. In my possession? A crappy cell phone and a Bic lighter. Three houses to go. No wallet? No. Weapon? Two houses now …. One. Six hands introduced me to the ground. I wasn’t having it. I pushed my way up from the ground and screamed what would become my rant, “You are FUCKING UP, Guys. You have no idea how badly you are fucking up!”
They ignored me. Safety in numbers, I suppose, so they held me in place, two searching my pockets, the other held my arms, and my gaze. I repeated my rant. They ignored me and continued to search for spoils, even releasing my arms, but exposing a small knife. All while voicing disappointment in their haul. I repeated my rant.
I studied my options and decided that, so far, Things were manageable. I hoped they’d stay that way.
Eight feet away, a huge sheet glass window. In the ground next to me, a waist high piece of steel pipe. Sharp. Even rocks big enough to open a skull and close a casket. Was that going to happen?
I hoped not. I’d decided not, unless I had no choice. The voice in my head was playing now. If they stop at possessions, I’ll swallow my pride. But I’d had enough; I repeated my rant.
They didn’t ignore me. I looked at each of them. I’d convinced them. Fight or flight? Almost before I’d asked fate that question, I had my answer. It was flight, and I was relieved when they released me and ran with my crappy phone, lighter and their lives.
Decision time had come, and my decision had been made before they’d caught me. If they stop at possessions, I’ll swallow my pride. Luckily for me and the boys, things worked out just that way.
Was I mad as hell? Did I want revenge; retaliation; restored pride? Yes. Yes, yes and HELL YES! Luckily for me and the boys, I didn’t get what I wanted.
So, if all’s well that ends well, why is there more to read below this line?
This happened in Florida. The three Teens were Black. I am a 48 year old, White, Retired Professional. With my background, their crimes, and the Florida Stand Your Ground Laws, I could have killed those boys, and that’s wrong. I could have slaughtered them in the dim street light, walked home, called the Police and smoked a cigarette, and that must not be allowed to happen. That I could have, and still can, say I felt my life was/is in danger and use any lethal action at my disposal; those days must end.
Without requiring some respect for withholding escalation of force, deadly force and a punch in the face are equal, and equally acceptable in the eyes of the law. We know they aren’t equal responses.
The problem lies in that inequity. The problem lies with Inequality.
Stop the problem. It’s no legacy …. No future. It’s decision time.
Thank you drstiff (@middledude)