As many of you know, I'm on vacation this week. It's my birthday in a few days, so I always take some time off to relax. These days I'm big on the 'staycation', especially since I'm 'house-poor' and single, so I normally like to just explore the area. My goal today was to drink a few beers, have a burger and watch a movie. While I accomplished my mission, and it was a beautiful day, I had an unusual experience, and I thought I'd share it with you, as it's still stuck in my head and I'm a little bugged I didn't take the opportunity to speak up.
As a warning, this post might be more stream of consciousness than my normal reviews but I've had like 7 beers today and drinking a Guinness now.
If you're at all familiar with the Bay Area, are main public transportation out here is BART. It's expensive, dirty, and had it's share of controversy in recent months. However, if you want to drink and have a nice day trip to San Francisco or Berkeley, then it's the way to go.
Today, I took BART out to Downtown Berkeley to check out a movie and a few bars I've heard good things about. I was on BART around 1 PM.
Normally, I listen to podcasts while on BART, (Adam Carolla, Doug Benson, 10 Minute Podcast, WTF), but I could hear someone shouting over the sound of my earbuds. Some toothless guy (literally toothless) was shouting about kicking ass, selling crack and other random nonsense. I'm not even sure if he was directing it at anyone in particular, but he was going on for several minutes, and people started to clear his side of the train. It was clear he was freaking people out and they just wanted to put as much distance as they could from him. A few people were on their cell phones notifying the police and calling the BART driver over the intercom.
The crazy, toothless dude, noticed this and the fact that staying on the train meant sure arrest, got off at the next stop. The crisis was averted and you could see the tension on the train dissipate as soon as he got off. This isn't the part of the story that bugged me though. After he got off, the BART driver asked over the intercom for a description of the man. One of the guys got on the intercom and described him as a 'six foot, black man in a blue sweater'. A blonde, white girl who was maybe 18, if that, cries out, "Is there any other way you could describe him?" Huh? I'm sorry, when describing someone to the authorities, they will usually want to know his ethnicity. What else was he supposed to say?
"Um...he was a six foot, toothless man in a blue sweater."
"What ethnicity was he?"
"Sorry, I didn't bother to notice."
Yeah right. After he gets off the intercom, this stupid girl yells at him, "Do you know what BART police do to people around here? They shoot people!" The guy didn't know what to say, and was smart enough to not engage with her.
Yes, BART has had come controversy lately, but aren't you overstating the issue a bit? Do you really believe that if the police had shown up at that moment, they just would have shot him?
Grow up and get real little girl. This guy was being threatening to several people on the train, and they were complaining about it. Should we not report this to the authorities? I'm really interested as to what your reaction would have been if he had been directly threatening to you. What exactly would you have done? What if he had a knife, or a gun? I bet you wish the BART police would have been there ASAP, huh?
I'm also really curious if this girl would have shown the same outrage if the person in question was a white guy, and was described as a 'six foot, toothless white guy'. Would that have been any less offensive or inaccurate? It's a simple, physical description of the man. It doesn't matter if he was white, black, Asian or Hispanic. What's the most accurate description of the guy, right?
This is where I was mad at myself for not speaking up. Public safety is something that is a concern to everyone. Don't get me wrong, if this guy had started to physically threaten someone, I (and I'm hoping several others) would have stepped in to protect those that couldn't defend themselves, but not speaking up bugs me. It also bugs me that this girl lives in a fantasy world where her main issue was that he was described as a 'black man' instead of being more concerned about that fact that he was scaring the shit out of several people on public transportation. What's the bigger issue here? Do I need to point out that several of the people that moved away from this guy were also black? Being scared and threatened by a crazy person is not something that's specific to any ethnicity. This is stupid.
Anyway, I got off at the next stop, enjoyed a beautiful day in Berkeley, had several beers, a burger and a good movie. As far as Vader's day off, it was a success, but this one moment sticks out as something that could have ruined my (and many others) day.
Look, this is one buzzed guy's opinion. What would you have done in that situation? Leave your comments below...