Sunday, December 28, 2008

For One Night - Dodging Disaster - What's Your Next Step?

Last night, I was headed to the Giant, a grocery store chain, to get a few grocery items when I witnessed a couple walking down the street arguing. I passed them, but pulled aside to look in my rear view mirror. I saw them going back in forth at each other with what seemed like verbal abuse. There were some jerks, pulls and the male actually raised his fist as if we was going to hit the female. That's when I turned around and headed back in my car.

I followed them safely at a distance. After watching the male continuously threaten the female, I stopped my vehicle and from a distance asked if the female was okay. She seemed afraid to answer so I called the police. After seeing two police cars about a block away, I decided to drive down to the police officers and bring them back to the altercation.

When we arrived, he was boarding a bus and she was outside the bus, dropping her coins on the ground -- mostly pennies.

The police officer stopped the bus and asked the female (probably 17 years of age) if she was okay. She said that she was alright and did not want to press charges. She seemed scared. The male even came to the front of the bus and asked me, "What are you? The good samaritan?"

Although I did not answer, I felt good in that one moment. His perception was on target. He could see in my actions that I was truly concerned about this young lady's welfare and safety.

The officer let the bus continue and asked the young lady if she needed a ride to the subway station. She declined. I then proceeded to tell her about my mother and brother and Tiffany Gates, my Godsister. She thanked me. I told her that somebody cares about you. I told her that there are signs in a relationship when someone loves you and does not love you. Giving you flowers and showing how much they care could be signs of love. But, walking down the street being threatened is not a sign of love. That is a sign that someone would hurt you. I told her that she deserves better than that. I told her that she has a choice. She should not be chosen. She has a choice. But, it is up to her to choose or be chosen. I wished her success. That was the end of our conversation.

The officer said that the community often sees the police as enemies. I agreed. I told the officer that I view him as a brother or father, etc. He has family too.

What frightened me about last night was what could have happened. All I could think about was my mother and brother being pulled down the street before she was killed in 1984. No one did anything. No one tried to help. The police were far behind in being contacted. At least that's what I thought. It was another day in the neighbourhood. "Just another walk in the park."

I was literally scared for the young lady's life last night. It is so hard to see that kind of violence and not help. I do realise that helping could certainly put me in harm's way, but saving someone is more important to me. For instance, several years ago there was an accident on my street.

A van crashed head-on into a lamp post leaving the vehicle smoking and fluid was everywhere. The van was severely mangled in the front. I heard children crying and screaming. No one would go near the van because they feared the van would blow up. Well, I ran instinctively to rescue the children I heard. I went to the driver's side and the woman driving was unconscious. I then went to the passenger side and the door was jammed and mangled. I then went to the rear doors and tried to get them open. Someone came over and helped by this time. We finally got the doors open and pulled the children and woman to safety, away from the van.

The little girl in my arms was in terrible shape. There was glass in her eye and her hip bone was outside of her skin. She was in shock. I could recognize it easily. I spoke to her calmly and she answered back. After going to the hospital with her and seeing her cared for, I felt good about the situation. Now, I do not consider myself a vigilante or good samaritan or anything, but there are these times in life we must act. A child screaming is a good reason to go to the rescue. With a bit of calculated risk about our own safety, we must act. But, in this case, it was either I wanted to save them and risk being blown up or not save them and risk being on earth in regret. I could not be left in fear. My concern was too deep.

We will not be able to save everyone, but if it is in your power, you must save someone given your experience and training. If you are a great swimmer and someone is drowning in a pool, you should jump in and save them provided you can get the victim to safety, circumstances may play a major role though, so evaluate first.

There are ways we can act in domestic violence cases. Go to Mildred Muhammad, the D.C. Sniper's ex-wife helps us with things that we can do to protect ourselves and deal with cases like the one above with the young lady needing help. One thing is true though, we have to want help.

Find that strength in you. Find that ounce of hope and cling to it. There is someone out there reading this post today that knows what I am talking about. Cling to that hope and work on that strength inside you. You will find it will grow. Even if it is a secret that you are strong inside, find that strength and do not tell anyone you do not trust completely. Go to Mildred's site and work your way to safety.

There are people out here who care. We are concerned for your welfare.

And if you are safe, God bless you. You are like me. Strong enough to be a survivor. I have found enough strength in me to help you in any way that I can.

According to the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, there were over 12,500 domestic related calls to 911 in the first half of 2007.

For the second half of 2008, last night, I made one of those calls.

I slept better last night. Thanks for reading.

Til next time...

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