11-9-05I like to think that if I walked past someone being assaulted, I would help out, I wouldn't just stand there and watch it like most people do. Recently, I've proved that not to be the case.
Back in May when I was in New York, it started with a sort of unrelated experience. I was staying with my sister in the Bowery, the little slum between Nolita and the East Village, right next to vagrant hostels and housing projects. I would walk around alone late at night because I'd have to move my fucking car in New York's ridiculous parking scheme. One time I walked past what I think was a drug deal. As I walked up on the sidewalk, there were two black guys talking, and two other guys standing to either side of them on the sidewalk. The closest one to me said "Just keep walking, keep walking", so I did; the two in the middle stopped talking and watched me pass, and as I passed the other guard he said "keep walking" too.
Recently, the weekend before Halloween when we went to Santa Barbara, we walked past some sort of gang violence. Walking out of downtown to our car, through a very nice neighborhood, around 2 AM with lots of other revelers stumbling out of the bars, we walked along a sidewalk through a group of perhaps ten Mexican boys. They looked about 16-20 years old, some on bicycles, again with lookouts or guards posted further away from the group. As we walked up they all became silent and we walked through the group. I would have avoided them but we were kind of drunk and it was very dark so I didn't really see them until we were suddenly in the group. It was then I noticed one of them was lying on the ground near the gutter with blood on his face, with another big guy who looked like the leader standing over him. We sort of noticed what was happening and just kept walking on through.
Now, jumping in here would have been incredibly foolish, there were 10 of them, I was with a girl, and I was drunk, so I would have been hurt badly. What I should have done was note the location and immediately call the cops, not that they would actually arrive soon enough to do anything, but at least it's an attempt.