Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"YES they deserved to die, and I hope they burn in hell!!!"

Some four years ago, my then-girlfriend Robin and I drove from Chicago to Ann Arbor to catch a football game at our alma mater. During a pre-game gathering of her sorority sisters at a residence close to the Big House, a raucous drunk cat walking up the street engaged us in smack talk that not only made them uncomfortable, but pissed them off as well.

As if through some weird twist of kismet, the dude ended up focusing much of his attention on Robin…of all the women there. And because I was basically the sole male representative there (There was another dude, but he was like 5’ 3” and I think he was gay. Not to say that short gay brothers can’t scrap, but…well…), surrounded by women who were yelling at him and basically provoking him, I was in the unenviable position of trying to diffuse the situation.

This cat ended up getting uncomfortably close to Robin with all his discursive bullshit, and though she was herself prepared to start throwing blows, he didn’t push any of us to the point where we had to lay our hands on him before he went about his business. He even got to the point where he was ready to square off directly with me, but I gave dude a lot of rope because he was drunk as fuck at two-something in the afternoon.

I haven’t been in a real fight in over a decade, and I do think that grown men fighting is a loser’s gambit. But that whole time the thought kept swirling in my head, “I’m really gonna have to earth this nigga!” If he’d laid so much as a thumbprint on Robin, for any reason, I would have done so with no compunction. Hell, she and I would have been pounding on him together.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the merits of the nonviolent mentality – the idea being that the total energy of the world is negatively affected for every person who commits themselves to even the desire of violence. The sheer number of people who carry around that baggage apparently help stimulate the abundance of conflict and human atrocity on the planet. (Yeah…blame this spiritual kick I’m on. Better yet, blame Thomas)

However, I think there’s something to be said for having it in you to be able to get down with your knuckles if necessary. However uncommon or unlikely it may be given one’s living situation, there could arise a need to defend at some point.

A fundamental tenet of martial arts is that one should only use their training if absolutely necessary. But the people that actually have said training sit a few echelons above the schlubs who would fold if they had to go head up and defend themselves or their loved ones.

I think one’s approach to fighting or conflict in general is a reflection of how they came up. Chances are, if you went to a nice artsy school in the suburbs where the students are on a first-name basis with the teachers and everyone participates in thrice-daily hand-holding “comfort circles,” you’ve never seen a fight in your life and wouldn’t know how to handle yourself if one came about.

I came up in Detroit, and went to public school K-12. I think my fellow natives of the D will agree that there’s a certain “edge” present in folks who grow up in or around the hood. I’m always tickled when I hear my city channeled as a noun of aggression: “I’m cool now, but they don’t wanna see me bring Detroit out!”

I grew up fighting, often because I had to. I was a short, skinny cat who would get trapped in school bathrooms by big motherfuckers who meant me harm, and I had to either throw them thangs (yes, I said thangs) or fall. Sometimes both happened. I won mine and I lost mine…but as an adult, I now know how to handle myself if someone decides to get brolic.

But that’s just one aspect of the whole violence piece: what about those situations where the average person would just feel inclined to commit violence as a result of the actions of others?

On occasion, I think about what it would take for me to truly harm another human being, and it always comes back to the rapists and murderers. If someone were to do something heinous enough like rape my hypothetical wife, daughter or another loved one, I would have a very, very hard time not going Samuel Jackson “A Time To Kill” on their ass instead of waiting for the law to take care of business.

I believe with every fiber of my being that the world is actually a better place if the truly malicious people aren’t allowed to continue living with the same privileges/faculties that they used to either violate or eliminate someone else’s life. Think about how many rapists have repeat victims because they were never reported – let alone punished – the first time around. Maybe if a sexual predator were violently castrated after his first victim, then he wouldn’t be able to potentially ruin other lives. I’m just saying…food for thought.

Many moons ago, I had a “requirement list” of things I expect from a woman I would wanna settle down with (I’ll post it someday if I can find it). While the very concept of the list is entirely obsolete, let alone the contents, I remember one of the requirements was a “ride-or-die chick:” a female who’s willing to battle – verbally and physically – for her man if necessary. A scrappy dame, if you will.

It’s not as prosaic as it reads, really: I feel more comfortable if I know a woman will be ready and willing to fight for both her life and the life of our children if need be. When the fit hits the shan, “survival of the fittest” doesn’t always allow for nonviolent conflict resolution. Unfortunately, that’s just not the fucking world we live in.

My questions to you all: is violence ever an answer? Should people have it in them to respond violently if NECESSARY, or is it better to grow up a complete pacifist? Is Dustin way off-base in his spiritual journey? Or is he justified? How would you respond if someone killed or heinously attacked a loved one? Would you just let the law take care of it or would you whip out the iron and go a-huntin’?

Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts…


Carla Ino said...

Ironic, I had this conversation (sort of) with the man I'm dating just last night. He is all about vengeance. He relayed a story to me about how his ex-girlfriend's belongings were stolen from her car, and they found out who it was and went over there ready to scrap. The perpetrator, however, lived in the WORST part of Tampa and once they got there, they had a change of heart. But, he said that in times past, he HAS forcibly gotten his things back, with the help of his gun.

Okay. To ME, that crime doesn't justify those means and I told him that. I said, "you're willing to take a life over some STUFF?" He said that it's the principle of being violated. No. If you violate my PERSON and/or the lives of my loved ones, THEN maybe it's justifiable. Maybe. I am a bit of a pacifist, and I admit that I've never had to deal with the murder/rape/molestation of a loved one (thank the Lord), but if I did, I could understand the desire to hurt someone. Badly. ESPECIALLY if you know who did it. However, I'd be afraid of being thrown into jail and what justice does that serve to the life that was lost or destroyed? For those reasons, I'd put my faith in the *gulp* "justice system". If the outcome was less than desirable, THEN I may call Ray-Ray 'nem to solve the matter once and for all....

ParisP said...

Dude, what's up with this spiritual lane your taking. You should have beat the drunk dude down(kidding). Nice short guy comment, that made me feel all warm and fuzzy, althought my mother always told me I was avergage at 5'6.