Tuesday, August 07, 2007

In a bus yesterday:

A group of four people, two men and two women with baby carriages. The first man came in without paying, said that the second man would pay for both. The second man came in with an open beer bottle, and started asking the driver to let them in for free, because they don't have money and only want to ride a few stops. The driver disapproved of the idea, but was rather outsized and outnumbered, so the guy went in.

The first man and the two women sat down, and the man with a beer bottle (a tall guy of about 25) decided to pick a fight with somebody. For a victim he chose a man of about 40 who had a 2-year-old child in his lap and was talking on his phone. The guy with a bottle started accusing the guy with the kid of all kinds of aggressive behavior ("are you trying to start a fight with me, asshole", etc.) and threatening him.

The rest of the group had the good grace to look embarassed, and the women in fact said so aloud, but their companion just waved them off.

In the end a fight did not happen. The guy with the kid apologized for all the things he didn't really do, and the guy with the bottle started "playing friends" with him in exactly the same way as schoolyard bullies sometimes do with their victims. ("Nice phone? How much did it cost?" in a fake-friendly robber tone of voice).

Made me feel dirty. Things like that shouldn't be happening, and they certainly should not be happening past seventh grade. Felt like doing something about it, but what could I do? I wish police had some good advice for citizens on what to do in such situations.

A few days ago HS had an article saying that the ethnic group to which the man with the bottle and his friends belonged is the most discriminated ethnic group, at least as far as being admitted into restaurants goes. I admit I had a few uncharitable thoughts of the "gee, why could that be?" variety.

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