Tuesday, October 07, 2008

When the Hero needs saving

A stupid phone. That's all it takes sometimes for people to resort to violence. I have written before about my encounters with gang bangers and me either looking like one or looking like the type of person that can be easily robbed by one. Friday night I was on my way from Universal Studios with a friend from work. While waiting for the subway, sitting on a bench, a young man tries to snatch my Iphone. I take it back and confront the mocoso because I'm not going to take that kind of crap anymore. As I stare into his blood shot eyes I noticed the brass knuckles in his right hand. Knowing that the he wants to takes this up a notch I reconsider whether throwing fisty cuffs with this kid is worth it. When I refuse again out comes the butterfly knife. Talking in these kind of these situations will only get you in trouble, but I'm not a regular person and I have come to terms with that. Thus despite my futile efforts, I give and hand him my phone. A phone is not worth my life, even if that phone is literally my life line to the world. As sad as it is to say that, all of the emails and phone numbers I would have lost would put a serious hurt on my ability to stay connected with important people and stay informed in what's happening in the world. All of this happened within the span of three minutes with everyone on the plat form watching the drama unfold as it happens. Everyone saw that if this kid is willing to pull out a knife for a phone, they know he's capable of hurting someone if they got in the way. He soon walk to the end of the plat form to wait for the train to come and I stand there breathing trying to chill and to hold myself back from doing something stupid and reckless. That's when the people near me tell me that I made the right decision in giving him the phone. The man behind me is named George. He had his family with him and his baby in his arms while he saw everything happen. He told me that he would have helped me out but didn't want to put his family at risk. I thanked him and agreed that it's not worth it over a stupid phone. Five minutes pass and the train comes to the stop. The people going in that direction, including the mocoso, board and wait for it to leave. Funny thing is it never left. While filling in my friend on what happened after her called the cops, George calls me into the train car and tells me that he used the emergency call button to tell the conductor what happened and to call the jura. He suggest that I get on the train and trail the mocoso so I know where he's at when the cops come. I agree with him and jump in. This is where everything turns around so pay attention. As me and my friend are standing there joking about how the mocoso didn't take a $1,000 SLR camera the other passengers get to talking. A young lady sitting by the door tells me that she knows how I feel and reassures me that I made the right decision. She regales me with a story of one of her friends going through the same ordeal as me. Only difference is that her friend tried fighting the guy and ended up in critical condition from the stab wounds he received. To my other side there were two other younger ladies wanting to go home from a long day. One of them didn't know that I was the person that was robbed, "why doesn't the train driver just go. The guy got robbed and he can't do nothing about it, so why don't we just go ?" she said. "It's because the guy pulled a knife on me and he threaten to stab me," I replied. She was ashamed of what she said and sat back down quietly. As all of this was happening other people just kept staring at me giving me their pity eyes and thanking God that it wasn't them. George and another man talked backed and forth about what was going on and they were ready to go bust some heads, but they knew better. That's why they kept the doors from closing. It was the longest five to 10 minutes ever because the tension was so high and everyone was tired and just wanted to go home. That's when the mocoso took off running up the stairs. He must have figured that the cops were on their way and decided to cut his loses. George and the other man followed suit and in those two seconds I told myself that I would not let anything happen to those two men for something as stupid as a phone. Up the stairs I ran taking two/three steps at a time. By the time I reach the top an MTA sheriff officer has the suspect on the floor pointing a gun at him. All the while another officer dressed in civilian clothing is telling us to turn around and go back. I tell him I'm the "victim" and he tells me to stay put. More officers come as time passes and by the time the suspect is shackled, about 15 officers in total show up. Some get involved and other's keep a look out in the entrance of the station. During the ordeal, the mocosos friends decide to check up on their friend to see what's going on and they get caught up in the mess. Two teens and a young girl are commanded by the officers to lie face down on the floor all the while questioning them and asking them what did they do ? They still argue and the officers start becoming more adamant about lying down on the floor. They're questioned and eventually release, but they got caught up in something they shouldn't have just by checking up on their friend. The suspect is in a cruiser and I'm waiting with my friend and George for an officer to take our statements. I tell the officer my part in the story breaking everything down for him and showing him my I.D. from the Mexican Consulate. George does the same, but is more worried about his wife chewing him out for doing what he did, helping me. He said that a week ago someone stole his laptop from his home. Sympathizing with what happened to me and knowing what it's like to feel violated and powerless made him do what he did. He said that after what happened to him he would never stand idly by and let it happen to anyone else. As he left I thanked him once again for his helped and wished him the best. I asked La Virgen to watch over him and his family for helping out a random stranger like that. George went left and the officer gave me a note with a case number. I asked what's to become of the mocoso, whose 17, and he told me. He's on parole, he got caught with brass knucks, a felony and used a deadly weapon in the robbery. His life is over even if though I didn't want to press charges. I figured he needed a second chance to turn everything around, but he got caught while on his second chance. It's over for him. I'm partly responsible for helping institutionalize another kid into our prison system. I feel bad. He's only 17 and his life is gone. He's going to spend the better part of his life in prison. One of the reasons I am trying to better myself in school is to give back to my community, my people. If this kid had someone to talk to, someone to give him the time of day, to show him that there is more than one path in life no matter how bad a hand you get dealt, then maybe he wouldn't resort to doing what he did. Then again who's to say he didn't deserve what's coming to him ? Whatever the reasoning, it wasn't worth a stupid phone. I have newly revived respect for officers. Despite my past feelings and personal opinions about officers, they came through this time y le doy gracias a dios por eso. Gracias a dios por quidandome.   

5 comments:

soledadenmasa said...

Ech.... It's moments like these that I'm not sure what to do. Something inside me would have told me to kick the fucker to the ground and curb-stomp him (especially when I wear Timberlands), you never know if anyone else in the station is a buddy. George did the right thing with calling la jura.

Every time I'm in public transportation I worry about being robbed, which is why most of the time my watch is either in my pocket or at home. It's not as dangerous to carry an iPod now (especially because mine is about three years old), but still, any dumb little thing can be cause to be stolen. Can't go wrong with books, though. Who'd want to steal a book?

This is an example why Special Order 40 works. If someone were afraid of being deported for reporting a crime, the crime would be unsanctioned and this would just continue. He fucked up, was caught, and should be sanctioned. Shit like this can't be tolerated and should be punished.

Anonymous said...

While you may not want to press charges on this "kid" you don't know if he has robbed others without getting caught.

Or worse yet he could actually kill some one with his butterfly knife.

Don't forget he had brass knucles and a knife and robbed you in front of other people who knows what type of crime this foll would commit had he had a little more cocaine in his system.

barb said...

what a story! I'm glad you got your phone back and it's cool the solidarity that formed between you and George and some of the other people on the train. And it's extra cool your ambivalence about what was likely going to happen to the kid. It's very likely his life has not been the easiest one so far. Maybe it could still be turned around. Maybe you could somehow follow up and keep in touch with him? Some sort of personal reconciliation maybe? Good luck with it all. I'm glad you're okay.

JKB said...

This is horrible.... Trying to set the balance between...and feeling like you're failing. What problems this kid must have.

I feel for you.

Pork Chop said...

Don't feel guilty for putting another kid in the penal system. You and George might have saved someone elses life that day.