Same freakin' location, again.
Here's a story: I had a flight to catch last Saturday morning. So, I walk to the corner of Halsted & Buckingham to hail a cab. It's 7:30am. I'm about a 100 feet from the intersection but still east on Buckingham. I see a young black male walking north on Halsted by himself. Probably in his teens/early 20s. His black shirt is halfway open and he's wearing black baggy jeans. He's walking north but keeps scanning behind him and momentarily pausing, and then turning around, and backtracking a couple steps. It's as if he's seeing something or someone behind him that he's contemplating if that's where he's going to change his mind to go now. After a brief pause, it appears he's decided to continues to walking north again, but still he's turning his head around every few steps. He's on the west side of Halsted. So, keep in mind, if he was looking out for the bus, he was on the wrong side of the street to catch the north bound. So because I read this blog regularly (okay, obsessively), I'm already nervous about being on the street by myself without any other people or cars around that I can see. I'm pulling my wheeled luggage behind me and the noise must have caught the guy's attention at this moment. He sees me approaching the corner, he stops in front of Nookies, and stares at me and then scans up and down Halsted again but not letting me falls from his attention. So, I stop (actually more like "freeze") as if I'm a deer caught in headlights and I just stare back. We stare at each other for probably no more than 5 seconds. My heart is about to jump out of my chest and I'm thinking about turning around and walking/running back towards where I live. But, I nix that idea because there's less likely to be other people there versus Halsted. While we're still continuing to look at each other, I pull out my cell phone and dial 911 but I'm thinking "Why am I calling them?This won't do me any immediate good, why am I bothering?" I get an operator and she asks what's my emergency. I tell her I'm at Halsted/Buckingham and I see someone acting suspiciously. The guy and I are still intently looking at each other. He still hasn't moved from his spot in front of Nookies, while I'm east of Halsted back behind the wine store that used to be Kafka. The operator asks me if I want police assistance. Just as she's asking me this, the guy breaks eye contact and continues walking up Halsted. I tell the operator that I'm okay now and there's no need for a police response. I wait long enough to give the guy enough time to get up the block and I walk to the corner. The guy is up the block and I wait at the corner for what seems like an eternity to get a cab.So what's the point of story? Well, it's with some self-hate that I admit that I racially profiled this guy. Could he have been lost and needing directions? Or, was he homeless and hoping to find someone who could give him some bus fare or money to get a meal? Maybe. Or, maybe he was going to jog over to my side of the street and ask me for a cigarette or the time and then sucker punch me in the face, helping himself to my wallet. I chose to assume the latter. I feel like a dick for assuming the worse. But I also feel good for possibly avoiding a potential robbery. I know this story is pretty much a non-story. But, I thought I'd share it in hopes that someone else might have had the same experience and feel some comfort that they're not the only one feeling like a dick.
Get back to us after you HAVE been mugged and tell us how full of "self hate" you are. In the meantime, try growing a pair so at least you can rationally be on the defensive without "feeling like a dick." The muggers are COUNTING on neighborhood residents being submissive and unwilling to fight back.
I must say, too, that you making eye contact with him most likely helped the situation. Let them know that you noticed them acting suspicious. I do it all the time. They're not anticipating it. Recently I had to run in the store quickly and put my computer bag on the passenger side floor. I opened that door again to put my parking sticker on the dash and this guy walking with another almost stopped to ensure what he saw might be a computer or something worth stealing. We made fierce eye contact and it didnt break. I let him know he'll be watched from the window of that store throughout my brief 120 seconds in there. They continued on their way.
Well just after posting above a friend I was chatting with told me he was "in the suburbs for a few days". I asked why. He said he was mugged in Lakeview, in the hospital, and his parents are taking care of him. He sent a pic of his face too. NO LIE!I haven't been to Boystown in well over a year and really was considering it tonight. Never mind.
The area is totally fucked and out of control. On a Wednesday night too? No he wasn't "stumbling home from the bar at 4am in an alley" either.
"So what's the point of story? Well, it's with some self-hate that I admit that I racially profiled this guy. Could he have been lost and needing directions? Or, was he homeless and hoping to find someone who could give him some bus fare or money to get a meal? Maybe. Or, maybe he was going to jog over to my side of the street and ask me for a cigarette or the time and then sucker punch me in the face, helping himself to my wallet. I chose to assume the latter. I feel like a dick for assuming the worse. But I also feel good for possibly avoiding a potential robbery. I know this story is pretty much a non-story. But, I thought I'd share it in hopes that someone else might have had the same experience and feel some comfort that they're not the only one feeling like a dick." You have every right to feel like that, given the level of criminal activity as chronicled by CWB. Better safe than sorry. Get some kick ass pepper spray and be prepared to use it if you feel like you are in danger. Always err on the side of caution. Post here if you want pepper spray info, and I will reply if CWB approves.
muggers are COUNTING on neighborhood residents being submissive and unwilling to fight back. Thursday, 17 October, 2013Bingo! The beating is done to soften up the prey and induce compliance so he can pat down/rob the person with no resistance. When you deflect the initial hit by using your means of choice, (pepper spray or whatever), you have thrown the bad guy so far off balance that he cant recover and trucks off to find a softer target.
It's not easy or natural for most of us to "be a dick," Jeff. We remember that it appeared that it was a resident of your building who was beaten to the point of needing ER treatment during a robbery outside of your building a couple of weeks ago. Your gut, based on behaviors you saw, told you something isn't right.In a similar vein,one of CWB's standard recommendations is to never stop on the street for ~anyone~ who has a sob story, needs a dollar, wants a light or a smoke, needs to use your phone, has a question for you in the middle of a dark side street, or anything else. We sort of feel like dicks, too, when we follow our own advice.
Jeff - ask yourself this - had it been a young white guy, dressed the same way, acting in the same way, would you have done the same thing? I would have.