As our beautiful summer does its best to hold off fall it is easy to forget that the season began with a terrible bang (more accurately, several bangs) with the shootings at Café Racer Espresso in the U District. While I didn’t know any of the victims, I had seen Joe Albanese & Drew Keriakedes perform, we had mutual friends and that was close enough to effect me.
As the details of events began to emerge in the following days I was struck by the actions of one of the shooting’s survivor’s Mr. Lawrence Adams. According to the accounts of witnesses, Mr. Adams distracted the shooter by throwing a barstool at him, allowing 2 to 3 people to escape. Mr. Adams himself was miraculously unharmed despite his best efforts to get himself killed.
The Café Racer is the kinda place my family would frequent if we lived in the neighborhood ( we could use a cool place like that on the island) and this got me to thinking. What would I do if I found myself in such a situation? Would I run or would I stay and fight? The police can’t be everywhere, and I wouldn’t want them to be, so what do you do during the response time? I decided I would probably have to stand my ground if for no other reason to buy my family some time.
While events like the Café Racer are horrifyingly regular occurrences in the modern United States what really are the chances of being put to the test? These things always happen someplace else next don’t they? Well……
The situation I am going to describe is completely true and as such it is NOT nearly as dramatic, dangerous or tragic as the incident at Café Racer. My actions were foolhardy and I wouldn’t recommend anybody try them for themselves. However it is my story, it’s the only one of its kind I got and I’m sticking with it, at least until I have a better one to tell.
I was driving on Capitol Hill along Madison and I could see a couple walking towards me, pushing and shoving against each other in such a way that I couldn’t tell if they were playing around or if it was serious. As I pulled parallel to them I got my answer. Right there on the sidewalk in front of a window of a grocery store full of people, the male of the couple exploded on the woman, knocking her to the ground and standing over her delivering a flurry of blows while she was down. I was less than 10 feet away.
Any sane person would have called 911 and gone about their business. Since nobody has ever accused me of being sane I stopped the car right there in the middle of Madison, jumped out and ran right into the middle of a ‘domestic disturbance’.
Honestly there isn’t much to tell, as soon as he saw me coming he turned away from her and came at me. He put his hands around my throat and we tussled a little bit, but there wasn’t a fight. She started screaming at him as soon as she was up and pulled him away from me and together they stumbled down the block like it didn’t happen. However it did happen, I saw it and was dumb enough to get personally involved. Eventually the police showed and the guy was arrested, I gave my statement to the police and that was that.
The event happening so quickly that everything I’ve learned from it has come in hindsight.
I could lie and say something ‘noble’ spurred my reaction but in truth it was remarkably primitive & simple; ‘sexism’. There was a man beating a woman on the street and that was just unacceptable.
Had it been two men or two women going at it I probably would not have batted an eye, but a man hitting a woman pissed me off more than I thought it would have.
I really wish I had some important or profound point to make to end this post but honestly I don’t. I can’t recommend anybody else do what I did, but I can’t say don’t get involved beyond calling 911 either.
Other things I learned:
1. Society sucks. Quite frankly I was taken back by the apathy of the other individuals that witnessed the assault. Except for one store employee, only one other person, an elderly woman in the car behind me, offered to help the woman. All the nearby pedestrians, and there was a bunch of them, did nothing. I would have thought that once one individual jumped in herd mentality would take effect and others would have jumped in. I was wrong.
2. I don’t own a weapon of any sort. (That problem has been fixed btw). This actually occurred to me as I was getting out of the car. Nobody in the family plays baseball/softball, so no bat and I don’t think the little ninja’s shinai is gonna do much to slow down an attacker. Do cars even come with tire irons anymore?
3. Cops can be pretty cool, when you’re on this side of an encounter. Despite all the bad behavior from the SPD in recent history the guys I dealt with were professional and friendly. I guess being a cooperative witness vs being a suspect helps. The pair that actually arrested the attacker were pretty restrained. The guy did resist and he probably earned himself a thump or 2.
On a side note, cop cars don’t have normal seats in back, but a molded plastic bench that is easy to hose off (and incredibly uncomfortable). I know this because it was where I had to sit while giving my video statement.