Not for the first time, I found myself wishing that my video camera was in my coat pocket.
What began as a simple bus ride in Fayetteville yesterday turned into a debate on the ethics of pursuit and physically holding someone down until the police arrived. And for several on the bus, it was the first time they had ever seen a person being tasered - if indeed he was.
It began with raised voices near the back of the bus, and a woman claiming that a young man had pulled a knife on her - or at least perhaps had one in his hand.
What most people actually saw was the slightly built man move from his seat to stand near the doors near the center of the bus. When the driver called out and asked what was going on, he replied, “Nothing. I’m just waiting to be let off, sir,” in a plaintive voice.
Not so, claimed an angry voice from the area he had just left. He had pulled out a knife - or something that looked much very like a knife.
Denying it, he moved to stand next to the bus driver, who told him that he would have to call the police and they would have to investigate the matter. Stopping at the regular bus stop near Barnes and Noble, the young man became more agitated, saying that he would just wait outside the bus and wait for the police to arrive.
In a loud voice he began to give his name and Social Security number, so that the police dispatcher would hear him.
In the meantime, tensions were mounting in the bus, and a another young man moved closer to the driver and the now very upset man, who said that he just wanted to go outside and smoke a cigarette and wait for the police.
When the driver opened the door to let a new passenger on, he darted from the bus and began running down the hill, with the second young young man in pursuit, who evidently caught up with him and was physically holding him (some on the bus said he was sitting on his chest) until police cars arrived.
Inside the bus, a debate was taking shape over whether he had the right to lay hands on the young man.
“Is he a cop?” one person asked.
“Well, he’s training to be one, ” said his girl friend.
When the opinion was offered up that he had no right to arrest him, she suggested that it was a “citizen’s arrest.”
When the first police officer arrived on the scene some let out a gasp.. “He tasered him!”
For the next few minutes, while the police took statements from those involved in the incident - and searched for the knife - passengers talked about what they had seen and heard from their differing perspectives.
One guy said this young man had been seen around town before, holding a sign on the side of the road:
Hungry, homeless and traveling.
One passenger said that it sounded to him like the young man was being hassled before everything blew up in the back of the bus.
The fellow who questioned whether or not the pursuer had any right to chase him maintained that he could get in trouble since he really wasn’t a cop.
Sitting opposite him, another passenger vehemently disagreed. “I’ll stand up that for that guy,” he said. “That guy was drunk.”
“Have you ever taken a drink?” the first man asked, which just annoyed the other man a little more.
A little later we moved on, with one person going to jail, while others pondered matters that may never have crossed their minds until that day.
Curses! Foiled again!
I had this great blog (well, I thought it was great) all written about whiny members of the GOP and their frantic efforts to flee Washing, D.C. without dealing with unemployment and the payroll tax, dealing specifically with The Scowling One. My title?
Congressman Steve Womack: Retreating from “ The Front”
Ah well, I suppose I’ll still get a chance to use it before long.
Quote of the Day
Saying what we think gives a wider range of conversation than saying what we know. - Cullen Hightower