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Call and response.

Someone who used to be a very dear friend of mine posted the following in a public forum, this morning (I broke it up because it was a giant wall of text…I guess for impact purposes):

Last night I was down in the city with my fiance and his mother and stepdad, who are visiting from Chicago. We wanted to stop by Rockefeller Center on our way to catch the train home, to see the Christmas tree. Bad idea. It was a mob scene. The entire 49th street block from 5th to 6th was crammed, mosh-pit style, with human beings trying to get pictures and see the studios and whatever. Not just the sidewalks, the entire street. Cars went through honking their horns and people peeled back like cake getting sliced by a knife. We were crammed against some unused metal guardrails that were stacked against the sidewalk, and which were blocking our access to the sidewalk from the street as people pressed against us trying to get out of the way of the car. Someone yelled at the policeman trying to get people out of the way of one car, “does that bitch know how to drive? She’s gonna kill somebody!”
Finally we found a break in the stacked metal guardrails and tried pushing though onto the sidewalk, where the crowd was no thinner. An older woman with blonde hair blocked our way, taking a picture of the tree behind us with her cameraphone. “Hey, just let us know when you’re done, lady,” my fiance said, gesturing to the pushing hoarde of people behind us, trying to get out of the way of slowly moving cars through the sea of people. She smiled awkwardly at us and kept adjusting her shot. “Seriously, take your fucking picture, what is wrong with you!” I shouted. Finally she moved, and let the swarm of people that was us and all those pushing against us past. “Well, you must be from New York,” she said sarcastically as we passed. “That’s all I hear about you people, is you’re such a pleasure to deal with.” Same to you, tourist, I thought, hoping that we could get off the scene before I heard anyone behind us shout that someone had gotten hit by a car. As we pushed up the sidewalk, trying to get to the open space by the Today Show studios, the crowd was just as bad. Packed like a band of slow-moving sardines.
My future mother-in-law was behind us, and suddenly there was a voice behind her: “Bitches better move, fuck! I’ve got a gun!” My future mother-in-law, ever cool, just said, “Well, I hope I don’t have to worry about THAT.” The angry, short young woman behind her yelled “You’d BETTER worry!” and [name redacted] tried as best she could to shrink into my fiance’s back and let the angry woman pass, though she couldn’t get far, and I spent the rest of the block listening to her make similar pronouncements as she pushed through the crowd. Maybe she really had one, maybe she didn’t. We made it to our train. We even managed to get to Bryant Park and have our hands washed at Sabon and sip noodle soup and watch ice skaters, but yet I am still angry. I am angry about the events in this country in the last three days. I am angry at everyone who thinks that that will protect you, or provide for you, instead of just provide a way for someone to get hurt, and for someone else to get into a shitload of trouble. Fuck you, angry woman with your alleged gun. Thank you for not using it, but fuck you for even thinking about it. And if you dare comment on this status about how people are the problem, and not the “inanimate” objects they use to make themselves feel better, then same goes to you. Merry Christmas.

Here is my response, which I’m only posting here:

You know the beautiful thing about hating something?  You can just not participate in it.

If someone gets in your face and threatens you with something, but doesn’t deliver on their promise, you can walk away knowing that they’re just a jerk, and your life has not changed significantly in any way.

Think about that the next time you essentially say “fuck you” to an entire group of people based on the actions of one person who happened to have one thing in common with the group.  Would you say that black females shouldn’t own or drive cars because a black woman t-boned you at an intersection?  No.  You’d deal with THAT driver, and you’d continue to try to be responsible yourself to prevent that sort of situation in the future.  The same goes for any group, for any reason, involving any object manipulated by a person that has the potential to be deadly.

I very nearly was run over by a white male driving a Mini Cooper on Friday night.  He honked his horn at me and gave me the finger while calling me some unsavory names that I couldn’t quite make out over the previously-mentioned horn-blasting.  I was in a parking lot, and he was trying to beat traffic by turning into it very quickly without looking where his car was going to end up…only where his car was to pass to get there.  I was walking where he wanted his car to be, and I only just made it out of his way.  Do I think while males should be banned from driving cars?  No.  Do I think Mini Coopers are particularly dangerous?  No, even though cars in general kill more people (and children) than guns and drowning combined.  Do you know what adults do?  We careful in OUR actions, and watch out for people whom we think might not be careful in theirs.  We report suspicious activity, and we stay alert.  If we don’t, we end up getting hurt.

It’s called personal responsibility.  Try it sometime.

Also, if someone threatens you with a gun, don’t call their bluff, especially if they’re agitated.  They might not have a gun, but you can still cause an escalation resulting in harm.  You don’t have to have a gun to hurt someone.


Needless to say, I am cutting off all contact with this person, as well as several others.  It’s been a long time coming…I suppose nostalgia was the bigger part of the continued contact, though it was very one-sided, with me making more effort to actually keep in touch.  This is not something I do often, so for me to even try means this person used to mean a great deal to me.  Things fall apart, I suppose.  Some people change…and others don’t.

This also begs the question:  WHY ARE LIBERALS SO VIOLENT?  Seriously, I’ve seen some bone-headed responses from both sides of the aisle in response to the shooting on Friday, but by far the most vitriol has been spewed by people who preach peace.  It makes no sense.

Also?  Can we go a few days without making this political?  Give the bodies time to rest, give the families time to grieve, and stop making it personal if it didn’t happen to you.  Hug your kids and be glad you’re with them, and that they’re with you.  Be vigilant, be careful, be loving, and be respectful.  How difficult is that?

Apparently it’s harder than threading a camel through a needle.

2 comments to Call and response.

  • Wes

    Really interesting thoughts here.

    “The same goes for any group, for any reason, involving any object manipulated by a person that has the potential to be deadly.”

    So you are saying we have to deal with each instance and the specific people involved instead of mass labeling a group of people. Nice.

    And I’m sorry to hear your relationship with this friend is ending and hope you can work it out (if desired) in the future, but credit is given in taking a stand and doing what you need to do.

  • Sigivald

    This also begs the question: WHY ARE LIBERALS SO VIOLENT? Seriously, I’ve seen some bone-headed responses from both sides of the aisle in response to the shooting on Friday, but by far the most vitriol has been spewed by people who preach peace.

    Two explanatory reasons (interchangeable and sometimes concurrent):

    A) Projection leads them to gun control; “I, Mr. Gun Control Advocate, believe that I have no self control and would give in to violent urges. Thus I assume others would, thus gun control is necessary.” … I have literally seen people claim this one about themselves, though not in those exact words.

    B) Pre-payment, so to speak; “I, Mr. Rightthinker, am so virtuous in my beliefs that I don’t have to be nice; I’ve pre-paid with virtue and thus I don’t have to think about my actions.” CF. the guy with the Prius who’s a complete prick because he’s Saving The Earth.

    Also, C) For most people it’s probably neither of those, and just an unthinking emotional reaction, based on received prejudices that they’ve never even examined. (And of course, people on “our side” sometimes do that, too, as you mention. It’s head-shaking territory no matter who does it.)

    At its worst extreme it becomes “I Just Know that guns are bad and icky, and since you like them plainly you’re Just Wrong and probably Wicked. Stop being wicked, you monster!” … it’s completely irrational, and thus you can’t even argue against it, because it’s not based on facts.