Originally Posted by munk
Why didn't you step in to help? You've repeatedly touted yourself as somewhat of a badass.
I was nowhere near where the crazy person was shot to death. I was at a dog park with my dog. My primary responsibility in life is to ensure the safety of my dog. Also, the victim of the wild flailing I did see, was not injured. I did not see a good reason to summon the police, as it would just get the semi-harmless crazy person in trouble. In hindsight, maybe I should have. I don't know if it would have made a difference, because I don't know if they would have responded before the next altercation. Woulda coulda shoulda. I had no previous experience with intervening with a crazy guy flailing around at random people on the street.
Some people, since then, I have trailed at a distance to make sure they're not harming the public, or someone specific. Happened in a Walmart parking lot down in Florida this winter, a guy who yelling very loudly at a woman he was with. They left Walmart property. A Walmart worker, a Walmart resource officer, and myself trailed him from various directions. I actually found where he was behind the treeline. He was chewing her out good, she was stock still. I quickly backed away. Barging in on that situation, could get me shot and killed.
Shortly after, we all debated calling the police. Walmart declined because it wasn't on their property anymore. I declined because he wasn't beating her, and bringing in the cops can make that sort of thing worse. Also, she never made any effort to cry for help or flee. Maybe she needs or wants him for something. If it had been a clearly violent situation though, then I would have had to do something. If only duck behind a car, call 911, and wait for the professionals to arrive. Hoping she lives through it meanwhile. It would take luck to act in such a situation decisively, hand-to-hand. I'd act if it happened that way; I definitely wouldn't seek it out.
So yes, I have actually somewhat stuck my neck out recently for someone else's safety. And when you're fully aware of all the ways something like that could go south, with a gun or knife, you are cautious. Also I slept in that parking lot that night. I do something he doesn't like, he could take it out on me
, in the middle of the night, when I'm sleeping. That's part of the equation too: how does this bring down the neighborhood, for all the other homeless car dwellers using a Walmart parking lot? Wouldn't be the 1st time I've made choices about that either.
That other situation I wrote about, where the bipolar guy melted down at the homeless day center, we all did exactly the thing that was best for everyone. We let him leave without summoning the cops or tangling with him. No 'help' required. You can cause a situation to exist, that otherwise would not exist, because of your fears.
You know it's funny... this was a long writeup, and I was at some cafe that cut me off after 2 hours. Had to walk downtown Asheville, and lo and behold, per conversation is some guy acting all loud, weird, and somewhat threatening to passers-by. Sort of on the borderline, seeking attention through provocation and making people feel uncomfortable. Am I getting a Seattle replay? Well, not exactly, because he hasn't attacked anyone. Yet... is he working himself up to something, or just content to yell at people about how things suck, you suck, etc?
I could have crossed the street and completely avoided contact with him. I dismissed that, decided I'm not going to have him run me out of my physical space, or other people's space. And if he had violent intents, better for him to try to attack me than someone else. I adopted a carefully neutral expression as the dog and I approached.
He liked my dog. I went with the energy, the upswing in his mood upon seeing my dog, and said nice things about the dog. It improved his mood for the 15 seconds we were passing by. He even high fived me. A small victory. Not the 1st time my dog has given "street therapy" either.
Afterwards the guy became more negative again. I wondered whether I should find a cop or call 911. I decided not. He was pushing boundaries, maybe even getting uncomfortably close to some people's space, but hadn't actually made violence at anyone. He might be better off being left alone.
There are limits though. I also resolved that if I did think it was time to get the police in on it, I was going to do it from afar, and take no personal responsibility for the situation. I don't need to be a target for anyone out there. Rat 'em out from afar.
I have, in the past, directly stood up to some crazy person in the street, who was acting up. I got good results making a display of force. Meaning, situation ended, no fight happened, no law enforcement summoned, the public not being made to feel threatened anymore.
Or do you only get violent when your feelings are hurt and not when someone else needs help?
That's a non-sequitor. I don't get violent when my feelings are hurt. I've had numerous professional interactions with store managers and law enforcement as a signature gatherer, that prove I don't get violent at all, even in charged / animated situations. That is because I've had some martial training about controlling my emotions. That's my job. Especially if a fight comes, because you want the other person to be ripping angry, not yourself. If you are angry, you will make mistakes. A mistake of even a fraction of an inch, can get you seriously injured or even cost you your life. Conversely, if you can control and avoid anger and escalation, you can avoid things coming to a fight. I've proven this a number of times also.
Sometimes I've had to square off in a pre-fight posture with someone. The clearest sign that they're going to lose, is when they have no personal discipline over their emotions and body. And you're just standing there calmly, demonstrating that their attempts at intimidation ain't workin'. Not even phasing you in the slightest. In such a situation, presuming you have no other option like turning your back on them or walking away... you wait for them to run out of steam. Or for them to just attack you and get it over with, since they're usually already in your zone of greatest effectiveness. Hasn't come to that though.
Conversely, I'd be very worried if someone was as calm as I typically am, in a pre-fight circumstance. Because that probably means they're trained, and are deciding when they're going to pull out a knife or gun to do you in. Or they'll be bare handed and plenty fine with doing you the damage. I've never really actually had a situation go like that though. Most trained people aren't looking for trouble.
There is a Roman saying, I think, although I haven't been able to definitively attribute it. "A dog who is barking, is not biting." Very true of pre-fight behavior.
There was one time when I unwittingly almost got myself in a circumstance with a trained person. An ex-Marine. Fortunately once I went "outside" the lunchroom, I had the sense to try apologizing to him. I figured it was worth a shot, I didn't need to create enemies. If it worked it worked. If it didn't, then nothing would change, and what would come would come. It did work, he accepted my apology.
Then for some reason he related a story of how he had killed someone in the Marine Corps that had kept bugging him. With a knife; he did time for it. He told it in a way, that seemed highly credible to me that it had happened, although it has been pointed out to me that some people tell stories. Damn good actor if it was only a story though. He was an older robust black fellow and I'm doubting he was "all that" anymore, in fact he walked with a bit of a limp. But I could definitely envision a younger version of himself where this happened.
He also talked about how he had intended to take me down, if the fight were to come to it. That's how I knew he clearly was trained. Well. But my response to that was, "You don't know what other people know". I think he would have been very surprised, when his maneuver that would have worked on so many people - a sort of knee grab buckling - would not likely have affected any Russian style fighter at all. We're all trained to bend and flex with such force inputs, we don't leave legs rigid and locked for people to get easy leverage on. I didn't explain any of that to him, there was no call for it. I just said what I said.
Anyways that was my rude awakening to the genre of "PTSD Vet", among the homeless. I've had some previous inklings about that sort of thing. Watch out for them; don't provoke them.
I'm now also very, very careful about personal space in a lunch line. Or sassing someone who gets mad at me. It all started over me reaching across his food to get a napkin at a counter. A mortal offense, to him. I'm thinking, who the F does this guy think he is, to get so tightly wound? Well, I don't pass judgment on that anymore.