Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jumped On the Red Line

From a reader who wishes to remain anonymous.

I’m a pretty big critic of agencies in DC, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever had a positive (albeit under bad circumstances) experience, and it happened on Metro of all places.

Saturday morning at about 1 a.m. on the Red Line between Metro Center and Union Station, I noticed a group of youths harassing a man. It started off innocuously enough, and the guy tried to ignore them at first. Then they started smacking him, acting crude and escalating the affair. As the man got up to leave, he tried to hold the door open to get police, but his assailants threw him back into the train and the train moved on.

I was shaking my head and muttering to my companion, and the thugs must have noticed. I became their new target. Words were exchanged, and at first I just laughed a bit and went along with the back and forth. Then one of them directed some comments at the girl I was with, and I stupidly took the bait.

At Takoma, most of them piled out of the car while one made his way toward me. I took a punch to the jaw and then things got crazy. I jumped up and the six guys dragged me off the train, and I took a bit of a stomping on the ground. It was over pretty quick, and they ran off.

I was in a haze, but a Metro employee told me to get on the call box to the station manager. The train was stopped for a bit and someone had notified the DC police. They were on the scene before I was at the escalator (working!) to talk to the station manager. Not that I had any real belief that these thugs would be caught, but I figured it didn’t hurt to try. The station manager kept the girl I was with occupied and was very comforting while DC police took my report.

I was pretty stupid to have gotten involved in this whole affair, but something else I took away from the attack was that Metro personnel and the DC police stepped up. The next night there was increased police presence at Takoma, and while I don't think they'll catch the people who attacked me, it was refreshing to see that they tried and were genuinely concerned with my well being.

Like many, I've complained a lot about Metro, but in this case, I'd like to thank them for their swift action.

add to del.icio.us Add to Blinkslist add to furl Digg it add to ma.gnolia Stumble It! add to simpy seed the vine TailRank post to facebook


general malaise said...

Um...you should have immediately used the emergency call box as soon as those kids started attacking the other guy. That's what it's for.

Sean Robertson said...

There are cameras in the station as well as some trains. Did they get any footage of the kids involved?

BTW, where the fuck do these kids come from and why is this shit happening so often on our metro? This is absolutely outrageous. I hope these kids fuck with the wrong person some day and get a taste of their own medicine.

Anonymous said...

Sean. Exactly right. The supine behavior of the subject in question who seemed to take his beat-down without either fighting back or expressing any angry or outrage at the system that let a horrific crime like this happen is the reason why it will happen again.

Anonymous said...

How much fighting back can one do against six guys? After taking a punch to the chops and jumping up I was swarmed and could only get a few piecemeal swings in before they had me on the ground. I'm more annoyed that more people didn't stand with me at first, but let's see you do better Anon. Was I supposed to chase them down in Takoma away from the lights and cameras instead? You do what you can, it was stupid of me to put my date in danger but at the same time I'm not ashamed I stood up to some thugs. It's a lose-lose scenario.

Anonymous said...

"a Metro employee told me to get on the call box to the station manager"

Uhm, what?

So you're telling me a metro employee witnessed at least some of what happened, and the best he/she could do was tell YOU to contact the station manager? They couldnt use whatever communication device (phone/walkie talkie/etc...) they must've surely had on them and be a little more proactive?

And you didn't really "stand up" to any one. You got beat the hell up. If you had used the call box on the train at the beginning of the incident, you might have still gotten your ass kicked, but they might have had at least metro security waiting for these losers at the next station. Instead, you got your ass beat anyway and these wastes of carbon got away.

Also, red line past Union Station might as well be downtown Baghdad some days. Bunch of no class, no future, wannabe thug bitches. Don't people RAISE their kids any more? It's not the easiest thing in the world, but it's not that hard to instill a bit of a respect and perspective and consideration for others

Anonymous said...

@Anon Apr. 20, 2009 10:05 AM:

Yeah, this is an old thread - but I felt compelled to reply to you're 'enlighted' reply.

Sure, the guy got beat up. BUT he DID stand up you blowhard! Yes, in hindsight he should have immediately used the on-train call box, but so should have each of the other passengers. Granted, it was at 1 am - at the same time, on a Sat. at that time there might have been a good amount of riders.

This is just another example of the 'bystander effect' where everyone thinks/hopes that someone ELSE will take initiative and lend a hand to those in need. Had I been there I would not have hesitated to jumped the thugs. Unfortunately, most of DC is now much too genteel for such a human reaction.

Anyway, at least he did something, actually he did one hell of an honorable thing even if delayed.

Even so, I must agree with a part of your post - that moving past Union Station (on towards Glenmont) translates into an exponential increase of the likelihood of violence to oneself.

Sharing time: I was confronted by three 'youths' that thought to 'pick' on me late one night (around midnight near the Brookland stop). While standing in the 'nook' area near the door at the end of the train they surrounded me. They asked me some jocular questions attempting to 'bait' me. I remained silent, but couldn't help smiling (not because of the questions, but because what they were attempting was obvious and, unfortunately, while I can keep my cool I have to admit that there are times that I invite or hope for conflict). Disappointed that I wouldn't play, they changed their tact when the apparent ringleader (mouth) told me that his friends were going to kick my ass.

At this point I put down my backpack and asked him when we should begin. I think that took him aback (as similar action does with most punks/bullies). He and his mates backed off, at least to regroup.

As fun as it might have been, my better judgment prevailed (seriously, I think I was more concerned for my textbooks and Mac) and I got off at the next stop (in this case Union Station).


Anyway, it's obvious we can't depend (fully) on Metro or the DC government. But, there is a social contract that we each should follow. I'm not saying we should do anything as foolish as I wanted to, but at least we can look after others who are in need.

Peace and ride safe.

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Site Meter