A few minutes ago I witnessed a fight breakout between a street cleaner and a homeless person. It turned violent and bloody quickly. I immediately called 911 and had police dispatched. Dispatch asked for the location, if there were any weapons and for the ethnicities of participants. I said I could not identify ethnicities (nor would I) but instead described size and clothing.
The fight continued to escalate. Fearing the worst I physically got involved to subdue whomever was “losing” in an attempt to deescalate the thing with the least physical harm. Time slowed and I went through the decision tree of whether I needed to throw my own weight significantly into the bodies or whether I’d need to throw disarming blows all the while contemplating the dirt and blood flowing.
One other person stepped in to help subdue and flag down police. Several other people went on by and a couple stood and watched.
We were able to keep the situation to a slow boil and return it to a shouting match by staying inserted in between the people and reminding them police were en route.
Police came and immediately separated folks, took statements. A second unit came and took my statement. I have no idea who started what or who’s to blame. My citizen-helper thanked me and I thanked her.
I abhor violence. It’s gross. Ugly. Meaningless. I abhor blame laying. I dislike the slurs thrown about by people in distress. I dislike the insane power dynamics of situations like that. I dislike unengaged witnesses to distress and violence.
I don’t have a bigger point or idea here. It’s disturbing to me that our society is in so much obvious distress and we walk around abstractly wondering how it will change. Or whether we can do anything to reduce suffering.
Thank god no guns were present and for that other citizen who gave me confidence I wasn’t alone in my feeble attempt to keep people from ruining their lives.
I hate this feeling of primal fear adrenaline.