In a recent thread on Panhandling Crafter_Man said
To which Spooje replied
This caused me to flash back to a a jury duty summons back at the criminal courts building at 26th and California in Chicago, immediately next to the Cook County Jail holding facility.
The larger courtrooms have the gothic high ceilinged look you associate with Batman the dark night, very large, dark and ominous. But the case that I sat in on voi dire for was a murder trial, an office murder.
One of the first questions asked of the three panels gathered at large, was how many there had been victims or violent crime, or had family members who had been victims of violent crime. Shocked murmurs went through the room as something like 2/3rds of the room raised thier hands.
I’ve had a gun pointed at me in an office robbery around the corner from police headquarters in Chicago on a Saturday afternoon when I was maybe 15 or 16. My aunt was murdered in an office robbery when I was in my 20’s leaving my cousins orphans. Neither had anything to do with panhandling so I started a separate thread to ask about this.
Once someone did try to get me to give him his wallet with the implied threat of his dogs, but compared to my family’s St. Bernards they were puny and I asked him whether he wanted his dogs to have their noses kicked through thier brain and die on the spot, or whether he wanted to leave me alone. (A Bluff. I did not think that the dogs would have attacked me, they were sound and fury but not actually mean, I have spent enough time around dogs to know the difference, but in an emergency did at least know how to try to do what I said.) As I suspected, he cared a lot more for his dogs than for my wallet, which had maybe 3 dollars and my student bus card in it. And he never bothered students on that path near my school again because I called the police as soon as I got to the phone and they picked him up and explained how it was unwise to hang out near high schools with his dogs if he wanted to keep them.
So, back to my question. How many of you have been victims of some kind of threat of violence, with or without a weapon, and in what kind of situation? How did it affect you? Do you think you handled it well? In the armed robbery situation, I lived through it, hid my class ring, and did not lose it, and survived, so I guess I won. But missed an opportunity to call the police who were right around the corner. But that could have got me killed for trying.
One more story. Commuting home from high school in the late 70’s I am the only white kid on a bus moving from an african-american neighborhood to a mixed-raced but mostly white neigborhood. I do this every day and think nothing of it. One day teenage nut sits behind me and I hear a click. I can feel the blade of a switchblade knife at the back of my neck.
“Don’t move M-F or I’m a gonna cut you.” I got very still wondering if I could lurch forward and down out of the way. I sat that way, motionless for about two miles. Then I heard another click and the same guy said. “Man, you one cool dude. Not one word. Not one tear. Hm.” Then he slides out the door. I stop holding my breath.
Then I hear a guy behind me say, “Hey, you were never in any danger” as he and three of his friends displayed their knives, “that guy was insane, we had your back covered, there was no reason for that S, he made one real move on you we would have had him off this bus like that. And that’s a fact. Don’t you worry about taking this bus now. You’re a regular. We know you. You don’t cause no one no problems, likewise.”
I don’t know if at the time I was more scared by the guy with the first knife or by the other 3 who were willing to jump in and drag him off the bus. I didn’t stop riding it. And in 38 years of taking CTA that’s my only story like it.
So how did I handle these events? When I cowered on the floor with the other kids in the office was I sensible or foolish ? How did I handle the other events? No dogs were actually harmed.
So what are your stories? How did you feel about them. What do they say about are society?
Inquiring Peters want to know.