Darryl Watson wrote in with something that is indeed a topic worthy of pondering…
I am not sure if this is a worthy topic of discussion, but the issue is gnawing at me right now, and thought I would share:
I have a ten-minute walk to my preferred parking spot, from where I work in downtown Denver. The parking lot is in a less savoury neighbourhood. While I was on my way to my vehicle, half a block away, I saw a man come around a corner quickly, pushing a bicycle. He was moving too quick to simply be going from point A to B, and I immediately knew something was wrong. As he hopped on the bike and started pedalling toward me, another man came around the corner, grizzled, a biker type, with a big beard and leather hat. He was shouting, ‘Hey! Hey!’ at the man on the bike, who started to increase his speed.
It was clear that the man on foot wanted the man on the bike to stop, and that the man on the bike was fleeing. And both were approaching me quickly.
I was immediately conscious of the motorcycle helmet in one hand, my bag of work sundries in the other, and the distance between us. There was no one else anyone else within a block. I immediately moved to block the fleeing man’s path on the sidewalk; he saw me and swerved sharply out into the street, trying to stay out of my reach.
This is the instant where I disappointed myself. If I had not hesitated, I would have been able to clothesline him and bring him to a stop, but instead I was thinking:
- This situation might not be what it looks like… a bicycle theft
- I knew without a doubt the fleeing man would have to be knocked off the bike to get him to stop
- I had my cowboy boots on (yes, I work in an office in cowboy boots… it is Denver) and they were terrible for running
- If I injured the guy, I could get charged with battery
It was option ‘4’ which caused me to hesitate and let the thief slip by. He got away, and the man on foot ran after, calling for police to no avail.
I imagine the threat of criminal charges for being decent and willing to apply a little violence to better one’s neighbourhood is a sore topic in this blog. We in Colorado have not quite gotten as bad as England, but, I fear it will come to that as people increasingly rely on authorities to rescue them when there is trouble. I would be interested in reading commentary on the issue.