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Tony Grist

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Analysis [Apr. 29th, 2007|09:12 am]
Tony Grist
I'm not brave. Not constitutionally brave. Give me time to consider the perils of a given situation and I'll usually do the sensible- cowardly- thing. But once in a while I get caught out. Events move too fast and there I suddenly am, in the thick of it, with a gang of kids waving burning sticks in my face and instead of turning away I keep ploughing on.

I remember the incident as a series of stills. The bits in between- the connections between image A and image B- have disappeared.  A kid is blocking the gate into the alley. I know I got past him- but how exactly did I do it? Did I push him aside, or dodge him or did he retreat before me? I really don't know.

I was clearly in some sort of altered state of consciousness. How interesting!

And the altered state carried me through until the task I'd set myself was completed. In all I made three trips from the kitchen to the fire.  The stick waving and the verbals got worse and worse, but my nerve held. Then I stepped back onto my property, shut the gate- and started to shake. 

I'm tempted to say I did a stupid thing, but, then again I'm convinced that- risky or not- it was the right thing. I may have been in an altered state, but I was also completely under control. I didn't offer violence and I didn't say anything abusive. I gave them as little provocation as possible and just slid between them and did what I had to do. 

Could I do it again? Probably not.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-04-29 09:24 pm (UTC)
It fascinates me how- in times of stress or crisis- we manage almost effortlessly to transcend ourselves. Courage, it seems to me, is not so much a quality we possess or don't possess as a dimension we enter when conditions are right.

It's amazing what you did that night. You are amazing. The human spirit is amazing.
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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2007-04-29 11:46 pm (UTC)
The human spirit is really amazing, isn't it? And you're right, it is almost like a dimension we enter in the moment. It's so awe-inspiring--all our acts in the dimension show the strength of humanity. And it's beautiful.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-04-30 08:34 am (UTC)
There's a line from Wordsworth (I think) that keeps popping into my head-

"We feel that we are greater than we know."
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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2007-04-30 07:43 pm (UTC)
Mmm, that's just right. Thank you for sharing that.
I really hope the kids don't come back.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-04-30 09:38 pm (UTC)
Me too....
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[User Picture]From: aellia
2007-04-29 09:33 am (UTC)
My daughter did a similar thing yesterday.
They were all on her drive when she came home. she asked them to go,and can you believe that one of them accused her of being rascist,because she had looked at him when she said it.
I cannot repeat the words that were said to her and the obscene gestures that luckily enough her two babes did not witness.
I am so angry!
She feels bad because she lost her temper and shouted.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-04-29 09:30 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a horrible experience.

Accusing her of racism was a really cheap shot.

But the main thing is she won!

Hugs returned....
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2007-04-29 11:59 am (UTC)
But bravery isn't absence of fear. It's doing what needs to be done WHEN it needs to be done, and it sounds like you did that, and did it quite well.

I would hope that I would respond similarly.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-04-29 09:33 pm (UTC)
It isn't absence of fear, but it does involve discounting fear. It's as if you put it to one side for the time being.

And afterwards you think, sheesh; did I really do that?
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[User Picture]From: greybeta
2007-04-29 12:21 pm (UTC)
Indiscretion is the worst part of courage.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2007-04-29 12:39 pm (UTC)
Is this the third incident of fire-setting? It might be time to call in the law.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-04-29 09:42 pm (UTC)
Only the second.

Things have been quiet for two nights now. We'll see how things go.
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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2007-04-29 11:48 pm (UTC)
You should report it anyway so there is a record that it occurred.
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2007-04-29 05:21 pm (UTC)
I'm tempted to say I did a stupid thing, but, then again I'm convinced that- risky or not- it was the right thing.

They are often not mutually exclusive.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-04-29 09:44 pm (UTC)
I agree.
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[User Picture]From: four_thorns
2007-04-29 06:26 pm (UTC)
where is the owner of the property on which they're setting the fires? isn't he or she at all concerned?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-04-29 09:47 pm (UTC)
It's the back yard of an apartment building. The two apartments directly over the area where the kids have been having their bonfires seem to be empty at present. I'm not sure who owns the property- some housing association I think.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2007-04-29 09:49 pm (UTC)
A kid is blocking the gate into the alley. I know I got past him- but how exactly did I do it? Did I push him aside, or dodge him or did he retreat before me? I really don't know.

I once physically threw someone out of a room—or at least that is what was afterward reported to me, because I have no memory of the act at all. I remember saying "Get out." I remember the person not being in the room a moment later. My sources are reliable. But I don't remember it.
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[User Picture]From: methodius
2007-04-30 04:22 am (UTC)
What were they doing? What were you doing that you had to do?

I gather that they were between you and your objective, but what was your objective and why were they trying to stop you?

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-04-30 08:39 am (UTC)
They had set a fire that was threatening to burn down a fence on the far side of the back alley- and my objective was to put it out.

So I was going between my kitchen and the fire with bowls of water.
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From: manfalling
2007-05-01 03:59 am (UTC)
Kids can definitely be horrible little things. In packs, with anonymity, and bored, they can do all kinds of bad stuff.

I think a camera might be a good idea. They won't like that. Of course, not enough to let them catch you and break the camera. But enough to get some images. It's mostly their anonymity I think that lets them be bold and get away with that stuff. You don't know who they are or where they come from, and they know it. You can't hurt them at all, and they know it. While on the contrary, they know exactly where YOU live, and they CAN defy you, and even hurt you, and get away with it. They've got you pinned down and on the defensive, as it were.

Times I've been faced with packs of kids- in particular when I was teaching them over here- it was their anonymity that let them get away with stuff. I couldn't stamp out bad behaviour because I didn't know who did it, and had no record of it. Take photos, tell them you'll hand them off to the police if their bad behaviour continues, and see what happens.

My buddy Mike is a cop. One day coming back from work in his car, out of uniform, he came across a pile of stones in the middle of the road. He got out of the car and moved them. Straight after, a gand of kids came out of the bushes and replaced them. Mike moved them again. The kids replaced them, and started mouthing off, trying to intimidate him. He said- "listen, I'm a cop, do you want me to bring all my mates down from the station and nick you?"

They immediately got apologetic and respectful and cleared out. Because they knew he could have power over them, and had the resources to take away their anonymity and hit them where it would hurt.

The kids know you don't have those resources or that power, so are exploiting the holes in the system. Photos and a record of their behaviour might help.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-05-01 08:56 am (UTC)
That's right about anonymity. if I met those kids on the street tomorrow I wouldn't be able to identify them.

It's disconcerting to be faced by gang of little poersons and not automatically have the whip hand. In the world I grew up in Adults Ruled OK!And, of course, if I'd laid so much as a finger on them I'd have been in deep trouble. Mind you, I'm not sure that's altogether a bad thing.

Ihe camera is a good idea. Or maybe I could pretend I was a cop. After all the kids would have no way of knowing I was bluffing.

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