June 21, 2011

How hard do you have to strike back to restore order?

During the Vancouver riots, some skater faggots were beating up on a car, when a community defender walked in and started getting in the way, lecturing them about how they shouldn't treat "our" city that way, and so on. Within a minute or so, the whole group of them, including some onlooker friends who made empty threats with their skateboards, walked off.

Even this tiny display of "you won't get away with this" sent them away because the cost to the vandals had been zero -- the cops were doing nothing, and all pedestrians either walked right by without trying to shame them, or took pictures that made the vandals get a rush from feeling famous. The guy who stepped in imposed a small cost, and boom -- they weren't willing to pay even that much to pretend to be badasses.

Obviously a gang of bank-robbers is highly committed and prepared to pay pretty dearly in order to run off with so much money. But disturbances like that are so rare compared to the low-level, everyday stunts that losers and sociopaths try to pull, and these can be shut down by imposing small costs on those who are only misbehaving because they believe that they can do so for free. Because these are so much more common, standing up in these ordinary situations goes a long way to making the community more enjoyable, if enough people chip in.

Three personal examples from the past month. Please add your own in the comments.

- At '80s night I saw a fat, gray-haired man in his 50s or 60s who I recognized from three years ago, when he was standing on the dance floor just looking the college girls up and down, totally creeping them out. He was incredibly tense, clearly aware that he shouldn't be there but hoping he wouldn't suffer any embarrassment. Back then, there were some college guys on the stage behind him who started rubbing his hair and doing pelvis thrusts behind his head, and that made him nervous enough that he left. I hadn't seen him again until last week.

I only caught sight of him as he was leaving the dance floor for the outside patio, but that gave me enough time to stop my dance on stage, crouch down and give him some good strong pats on the shoulder, look him dead in the eye, and wave while saying "Hi." This makes the person feel compelled to wave and say "Hi" back, so now he had acknowledged that someone was watching him and was onto him. He must've left or hidden somewhere else in the club (maybe the bar where adults go), because I didn't see him for the rest of the night. It only takes one sicko like that to ruin everybody's fun.

- I'm walking toward the supermarket entrance, about 15 feet away, when some young punk comes out of the doors, makes eye contact with me for a second, then walks full speed right at me with his head down, pretending to futz around with his pack of cigarettes. He's very on-edge (he looks like he's on drugs) and almost running. No one else is around, so it's not like he's heading toward me to avoid foot traffic -- he is targeting me. I have no idea what made him want to run into me -- maybe to run some kind of scam ("hey, that guy knocked into me!"), maybe just for kicks. Most people would just step aside and either mutter under their breath or at most shout back at him "watch where you're going!" after he'd already passed.

I picked up the pace myself and braced for impact, turning my left shoulder into his chest and using my left upper arm to shove him away to my left side -- and goddamn if the little shit didn't take a hard fall onto the pavement. Like all sociopaths, he then tried to blame the victim -- "duuude, what was that for?" and "duuude, why the hell did you do that?" -- while kneeling to pick up the pack of cigarettes that I'd sent flying.

I can't remember the last time I collided with someone -- or something -- so hard, but I steeled myself and wasn't even thrown off-balance (though my leg muscles began shaking like crazy to prepare me to chase him down). I just gave him a cold stare, told him to "come here then" and made that motion with my hand, but he kept at his crocodile tears act.

When I went inside, one of the cashiers (a middle-aged woman) walked up to me and said jokingly, "Gee, why did you run into him like that?" I said, "yeah, probably trying to hit me up for something." She said, "Haha, no, I saw him, he was trying to knock you over." I wonder how many times he's pulled that stunt on other people and gotten away with it because they didn't want to make a scene? I don't even want to imagine what sick things he's tried to do to girls walking alone. Now that little meth-mouth will think twice.

- Then there was one of those annoying Critical Mass type of bike rides where the police block off traffic on two busy streets just so a bunch of sanctimonious pedal-pansies can hog the road -- er, "reclaim the streets." I was on foot, and the cops were only redirecting cars, not pedestrians. So when I got the walk signal, I began into the crosswalk, with the bike riders coming in my direction but then turning onto the street that I am crossing.

Since the cops are doing nothing, and since I have the walk signal, I figure some of them will stop, the way that a lane of right-turning cars will stop to let the pedestrian through. No chance -- even as I came to within 10 feet of their stream, no one stopped. OK, fuck this, I'm just going to barge through these selfish assholes and if someone hits me, I'll get in however many punches and kicks before the cops come over to break it up. Only when I'm within 5 feet do they start to slow down and go around me, six entire seconds of their trip stolen.

One whines, "Way to care about other people!" -- the hypocrisy of that almost sent me after him. Jesus Christ, car drivers are a hundred times more courteous to pedestrians -- at least they stop. It's clear that the bike riders only care about themselves, not walkers too. A second guy complains, "Um, you're kind of a dipshit" in that flaccid "seriously, guys? seriously?" way. Without screaming, I bellowed out "Fuck off, retard." He turned his head back and had one of those "omigod, i mean did he like just say that?" puzzled smiles. I told him to "come over here then" and made that hand motion. He resumed his course, I bellowed out "Pussyyyyyyy!", he still did nothing, and that was that.

None of the three cops at the intersection approached me, so I certainly was not in the wrong. It's just that these fake rebels have obviously not been challenged for ruining traffic for all of the walkers out that day. Next time there's one of those, I'll have to bring a dowel rod to throw into their spokes if they keep up their blind disregard for pedestrian safety. Or I could always take the black VW Golf out for a spin and hold my own re-claim the streets protest. And I'll have this blaring out the windows as my getaway music:

The Primitives -- Crash

Al | Myspace Video

1 comment:

  1. Car drivers are more courteous because they will kill a pedestrian if they crash into him.

    Sounds like the bike drivers did the right thing as far as social order is concerned--they arranged it with the cops ahead of time. I remember when Critical Mass did no such thing, BTW. You may not like their politics--I doubt those guys vote Republican--but that doesn't mean they were breaking the rules in a social order sense, so to speak.


You MUST enter a nickname with the "Name/URL" option if you're not signed in. We can't follow who is saying what if everyone is "Anonymous."