Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear To Tread

Senseless street brawl
When is it time to rush in and do something and when should one hold back? That is often the question when a dangerous event is taking place. We've all heard the expression 'only fools rush in..' or maybe I'm dating myself and that expression has gone the way of the Dodo bird. I suppose in that moment we all have to do what we think is right and society (and God) will be the judge.

The other night my wife and I and a couple of friends went out to hear some live music. The band was great, we had a few laughs and enjoyed a quiet cocktail or two. That same night while we were rocking, a few bars in the area were showing a UFC mixed martial arts fight on pay per view. In fact, the bar we were at showed the fight without sound during the band's breaks.

As it turned out the bar we were at let out at the same time as the bars hosting the fights. The streets were packed with everyone from early 20's to my age and a tad older. (Perhaps). We, along with many others called Uber and waited for our ride. Suddenly a commotion erupted across the street from us. Girls were screaming, guys were shouting and a crowd was moving in that unsettled way that a herd does when stampeded.
MMA fight

In a moment's time our eyes locked on the fracas. A group of young 20-something males were moving through a throng of people and kicking the crap out of them. When young folk have bellies full of booze and have watched a fighting event stupidity has a chance to thrive. It was brutal. It was panic. As the brawlers continued it became a like a tidal swell of tumbling bodies. Some call what we saw swarming. People, mostly young guys were dropping like flies. I've been in a few dust-ups, I've bounced (and been bounced) in bars and I've put on the sparring gear more than a time or two. And even for me this was difficult to watch. It just kept growing and growing.

Several people had their phones out filming. At one point we spied the main aggressor. He was 6'2" and about 215-220 lbs. And like many morons he had his shirt off. The M.O. of this guy and his crew was that 'shirtless' would knock someone out and then the cronies would boot and stomp the victim. The injustice got my blood going as I'm sure it did most witnesses.

At one point we saw victim number three, a fairly big guy get knocked out. The 'knockout king' raised his arms in the air like Rocky Balboa at the top of the steps in Philly. (I think I literally growled quietly in my throat). This time the cowardly crew were relentless with their kicks and stomps. Many people have died this way throughout history. When they were done they left the victim in a heap in the middle of the street and moved on. The guy laid out for at least a minute. Nobody went to his aid. Cars drove up to and then around this fallen dude.

The swarmers carried on. My first thought was to meet 'shirtless' in the middle of the street and take him out. I studied his moves. He was repetitive. He danced like Mohammed Ali, or so he thought, he'd toss a couple of jabs and then he'd deliver a devastating right hand. Cut off the head of a snake...and the body dies with it right? But I'm not that guy. I don't start fights. I don't rush in like a fool. Too many things could have gone wrong. Still, I wasn't going to sit there and let that fallen guy bleed out or who knows.

"I'll be right back honey, I'm going to help that guy," I said to my wife.

"Sweetie, don't get involved," she said, and she was right, but...

"Don't worry about me. Our Uber will be here in 6 minutes, I'll be back before that. Call the cops."

And with that I jogged into the mayhem. I jogged passed the bulk of the swarm. The sights and sounds were awful. Fists on skulls, noses breaking, heads meeting concrete all look and sound far more devastating in reality than in movies and television. I could see up close innocent guys attempting to protect themselves getting knocked out by this one guy's hammer blows. My god I wanted to drop that fool! I knew just how I'd do it too!...But I jogged passed. They checked me out as I did so. I pretended not to notice all the while watching them like a hawk…a pissed off hawk. They moved on.

I knelt beside the big guy and began talking to him while checking his pulse. His face was a bloody mess. Blood in and around the mouth and nose--one eye closed. I constantly checked the perimeter in case those cowards came back. If they did I'd have to give them everything I had. I wasn't looking forward to that because as guys once we get in that mode we are no smarter than rabid dogs. And if they came at me I'd have to sink to that rabid dog level.

They did not return. A guy knelt beside me and said, "I'm a paramedic."

"Thank god because I'm a little rusty on my St. John's--what do you need me to do?"

I looked around again and saw the phones of about 6 bystanders. "Would one of you assholes please call the fucking cops and an ambulance?" I asked.

"I already did," said a red haired 22 year old girl while still filming us.
Get that video

The paramedic told me what to do with the guy who was still unconscious. Eventually people came over to help us. What I thought was a crowd of kids wanting to grab that 'viral video' was actually fear. This scene was foreign to them. They were terrified.

We gently moved the guy to the curb; put his feet up and put him on his side as he was in danger of choking on his blood. Some girls that knew him balled their eyes out. More screaming erupted and sounded closer to us. Were the swarmers coming back? Fuck.

As we worked and spoke to the unconscious I scanned the crowd. Just then I heard a loud 'thwack'. Apparently a splinter group made their way near to us. They knocked out a slender latino kid of about 20. I stood up and got ready. The kid dropped like a cinder block and hit his head on the pavement. Two of his girlfriends screamed. He was half on the sidewalk half in the street. Three guys moved in to lay boots to him. I'd had enough and said so.

"Enough!" I shouted and held out my hand like a traffic cop. They inched closer. They were dying to put boots to this guy.

"He's done!" I said pointing at the guy that knocked him out. "And so are you assholes. Now Fuck Off!"

They stared at me with hands up and fists ready. I kept pointing while keeping my other hand at my side. All phones were on us--great. They looked at one another quickly without sound. Deciding. Wondering if--. Surely they could take this platinum haired brother..but they knew I wouldn't make it easy for them. Finally they slowly moved on. None of us taking our eyes off each other. Either my psychotic look from my bouncer days returned to my eye or they decided to leave the old gray haired dude alone. Either way I was ecstatic because as Danny Glover said as Det. Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon, "I'm too old for this shit."

We got back to the fallen latino. I put a hand on his chest and told him to 'come on back' and to 'wake up pal,' and other b.s. like that. His girlfriends continued to cry and scream. Finally his eye lids fluttered and then he came to. Next the big guy came out of it as well. The paramedic and I started laughing and high five-ing. The small crowd breathed sighs of relief and joined in the celebration. The majority of us actually cared and wanted no part of what the minority, the swarmers were doling out that night.

The paramedic said, "I'm Dave do you know these guys?"

"No I came out of that bar and saw what happened and came to help."

"You came to help," he looked stunned. "Really?"

"Yeah, because as you know when somebody gets knocked out, then their head hits the pavement and then they get stomped, people die."

"You're telling me. I can't fathom doing something like that, you should see the shit I see all of the time."

"That's why you're the man and I'm oughta here," I said getting up.

"No dude, you're the man. You're a good dude, dude. People don't run into shit like this."

We shook hands ending the bromance. I checked my phone and saw that my Uber arrived. Suddenly cops were everywhere. A cop came up to me and asked that I stand on the sidewalk with everyone else.

"Actually I'm not with the kids. I came out of that bar and helped because guys were getting stomped."

"Sir I need you to-"

"Do you want to know what happened? I'll be one of the best witnesses you have out here."

"Yes ok, what the hell is going on here?"

I filled him in on what I saw and what we did. He thanked me and let me go.

Back in my day we used to go to the bars and watch boxing matches; Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard or whoever. Afterward we'd enjoy more beers, talk about the fight and then move on. Today's youth watches their gladiator sport equivalent, gets drunk and takes it to the street. I've been told that the neighboring beach community's bars have stopped showing the fights because of the ensuing street brawls.
Sugar Ray Leonard

We could separate what was on the screen (and in the ring) from reality. Sure there was the odd brawl but it was rare and it was never swarming. Where is this current anger coming from? What are kids today trying to tell us? Who are they pissed at? Their parents? Society?

The generation before mine used to say 'never kick a man when he's down.' My generation did it's best to uphold the idiom...with a few exceptions of course but now if a cat goes down it's open season on the fallen. And there is a big difference between a swift kick in the ribs and a downward heel stomp to the head. You boot stompers have literally got to give your own heads a shake. People die that way you mindless idiots!
Moral decency starts at home!

If one were to ask me I say it starts in the home and needs to be nourished  24 hours of every god damn day so that when Junior is in the streets he knows how to conduct himself…regardless of the fights he watches, the Call of Duty game he plays, the comic book movie he watches or the peer pressure he's under.
Good character starts at home!

Ask yourselves this parents: how would you feel if your son was stomped to death? Now ask yourself how would you feel if your son stomped someone to death? Neither scenario makes for a feel good moment. So, if you're going to raise 'em, raise 'em constantly and RAISE 'EM RIGHT!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Phones Fabulous Phones!

Dean Liptak:
I'm just trying to teach brother!
I simply must commend former pro wrestler turned science teacher Dean Liptak who used a cell phone jammer in his classroom in an attempt to keep the students attention. Or to put it shortly, Liptak was attempting to teach…which is his job. Sadly, the practice of jamming cell phone signals to spoiled little brats who posses zero cooth, class or consideration is illegal. Thus, Liptak was suspended for a week without pay.

Oh the humanity! The poor sap was merely trying to do his job. A job that if done correctly and without distraction will arguably benefit the kids. But the law is the law also, some parents were outraged. Outraged? Who are these outraged parents and what messages do they impart on little Junior?

My guess is it goes like this:

"Son, this is America and as such when in class you have the god given right to text your friends or call your father at the office or text me…but not during my hair appointment."
I don't know, what did you get?

"Really? Thanks mommy dearest!"

Perhaps I exaggerate. But this is ridiculous. The 'no jamming the phone of little upstarts' is a law based on safety. It is believed that in the event of an emergency students cannot make 911 calls nor could first-responders alert the kids of an emergency if the cell phone jammer does what it's supposed to do. The law has merit, I admit but it's pretty damn thin especially when students learned in class rooms the world over for several decades prior to the nifty cell phone's invention.

But if the law is to remain then here is what I would make into law were I the Mayor of Everywhere.(and fear not for that day is coming!)

To wit: if your precious child is caught texting, chatting, looking up answers on the Google machine etc. on their phone while in class he and or she will be sent to the office. Once there the Principal will assign the student 1 hour of manual labor…without out phone or earbuds or any of that jazz. These duties might include garbage duty, graffiti removal, ditch digging (you can never have too many ditches), toilet cleaning, gum removal and so on.

And on this there will be zero tolerance, no exceptions. And to all helicopter parents that feel the need to bail your kid out with pleading phone calls, emails or marching down to the school with lame excuses like Little Timmy is allergic to peanuts, he's lactose intolerant and has extreme refuse phobia." Tough sh** oops I mean tough beans. Your little rescue attempt just bought Timmy another hour with the waste bucket.

With my solution kids can keep their phones (in their back packs) in case of emergency and will be granted plenty of time to use it before school, recess, lunch break and after school. I guarantee that in- class cell phone use will drop like a rock. Can you imagine today's teen performing menial manual labor without any form of electronic device?
Oh yay! my parents are going to
 home school me

Oh, before I forget, parents will have signed a document prior to the child's enrollment agreeing to these terms. For those not wanting to sign the document…it is your god given right…to home school.