1.05.2007

Suicide Bomber

The drama yesterday took place before I even got in the cab.

I'd just paid my lease, and belatedly noticed that the superintendent had accidentally given me the wrong cab, the one I usually drive on Friday. Walking over to his office, I was almost hit by the door swinging open and a huge black man, maybe 6'4" and 260 pounds storming out, followed swiftly by the supe (not a small guy, but not nearly as big as this fellow).

My superintendent was evenly telling him to leave the premises, which he wasn't doing. Instead, he'd walk away, shouting nonsense things about how we needed to step off him. Then occasionally he'd walk up to the superintendent, who was standing in one spot, get his mouth within inches of the supe's face, and start snarling about how the superintendent had to get out of his face. The supe stood his ground and met the guy's gaze when he'd do this, and keep talking to him in a calm and even tone.

I just kind of stood behind my superintendent while this went on, arms folded and staring at the guy, with an eye on a nearby folding chair. I didn't have a chance in hell against the dude in any kind of one on one situation, but if something happened I was ready to try and gouge an eye or pull some WWF style sneak attack anyway. The thing about cabbies is that we pretty much have each other's back in situations like this, regardless even of company ties. I've pulled over to help a competitor with a violent fare, and have heard stories of them doing the same with us.

But the thing about the super is that I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that he's got my back. Which means that I'm willing to take a couple of cracked teeth or a broken bone if it means helping him out with a massive guy who's menacing him.

Eventually, a crowd of cabbies and a mechanic or two began to gather at the noise, and the superintendent was ringed by about fifteen more people adopting the same stance and thinking the same way as me. Only these people were much stronger and wider than me, and one or two of them had handguns.

The guy kept ranting and menacing, and the supe told someone to call the cops. The cops were called.

The guy kept stomping around yelling about how we were the ones who needed to leave the property, and would run up to people and yell "I'm a suicide bomber." Or about how we needed to go get our guns if we were going to come at him, because he'd whup all our asses (is he starting to sound
familiar yet? great minds, I guess).

A cop car showed up, and the guy stormed out into the street and the cop was yelling at him to take his hand out of his pocket NOW.

He was not taking the hand out of the pocket, and the cop was yelling much louder with the NOWS, and he turned to walk away from her, down the tunnel and into the heart of the building. At this point, I ducked up some stairs. Not complying with police orders is often a bad idea. Especially if they involve taking hands out of pockets. Even more especially if the cop sounds scared. Even more especially if you're in Portland and you're black. He's probably not the kind of guy who reads the news, but a lot of people have been murdered by cops in the last few years for similar offenses. I didn't want to be caught in the cross-fire.

Anyway, the cop, who was this tiny (maybe 5'5") white lady, charged after him while calling for back-up, taser drawn. Two other big strong white guys showed up literally within seconds, and the tough guy was ushered out in hand-cuffs with his pants around his ankles. As they passed me, I heard one cop hiss in his ear, "no, I wouldn't hit you. I'd just break your finger first." Portland's finest.

I've turned comment moderation on for a while, until everyone (including me) can chill out a little bit. I hate feeling like (well, being) a censor, but am trying to figure out how to deal with a site that seems to be falling to the internet's typical level of discourse (anonymous, ad hominem attacks), and to be attracting readership I hadn't anticipated.

3 Comments:

Blogger wil said...

"no, I wouldn't hit you. I'd just break your finger first."

That is exactly the proper procedure. I have broken many a finger on people who just didn't want to "go peacefully".

Perfectly legal and acceptable by supervisors and courts. The pain is excruciating but is less traumatic than a broken arm, leg or skull.

SUGGESTION
If you don't feel comfortable with the "moderation" feature, you also have the option of restricting comments to only those people who have signed up with blogger. That means that you'll have no anonymous comments.

Just a second option.

January 05, 2007 10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dpn't worry about me. I won't post again. I said what I had to. Hopefully you will carry on and no hard feelings by me.

January 05, 2007 10:14 PM  
Blogger Crabbie said...

I'm sorry that we found it so difficult to be polite to one another.

You did raise some very valid concerns about some things I'd never bothered to think about (privacy, company image, the fact that other people actually read this). I've tried to address those concerns that I felt had merit and that you bothered to explain.

I hope you don't feel scared off of commenting, or even being (constructively) critical. I truly am glad that you pointed out instances of how my thoughtlessness could potentially effect others - I really am a perfectly sane and considerate person most of the time.

Just if you do comment again, please try to be more polite. It was your tone more than anything that set me off. That doesn't excuse my responding in tones that were just as harsh and rude (if not worse), but politeness always helps (on both of our ends).

January 06, 2007 6:25 AM  

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