Friday, June 25, 2010

making important decisions, quickly

I just went down the hill and had a very nice beer, at some random bar that was apparently one of the few things Pinochet didn't confiscate from one of his opposing political parties. Warmed up a bit, I walked for about 5 minutes, and then caught a colectivo--lucky me, it was empty and I got the front seat.

We got to the next major stop (Bella Vista), when the driver and I were both startled by someone opening the back door and hurtling themselves into the car. He was extremely distraught, shouting and upset, and seemed to be yelling at the driver to GO GO GO, like something out of a movie.

Then there's more shouting, the driver shouting at the guy to get out of the car, and then more guys coming up to the car and...dragging the first guy out of the car by his hair. And repeatedly punching him in the head in the process.

They got him out onto the street and kept beating on him. The driver got out of the car with a billy club; I got out of the car to try and assess what was happening, because my instinct was to stop them beating the crap out of the guy. There were three of them, they were angry, and no one in the crowd was stopping them. Those are bad signs for getting involved.

Then someone behind me shouted "Close the door!" and tried to close the colectivo door on me and get past the car. So, on top of being slightly tipsy, now we have:
  • A group of angry strong guys really intent on beating up this one guy.
  • A small crowd of onlookers letting it happen.
  • An unknown number of people behind me, willing to close a car door on me, pretty hard.
  • I cannot understand any of what people are shouting about the situation.
I got back in the car and closed the door.

I thought for a while about how that all went down. It was interesting to watch myself decide I'd done the right thing. That's always an awfully appealing conclusion for anything, and deserves a lot of scrutiny.

When we drove away, I looked back, and they'd stopped kicking the guy on the ground, and let him get up onto his knees--the beating part seemed to have stopped.

The driver described the situation to another driver at a stoplight, and they both laughed, which was a little puzzling.

So I asked the driver why they were beating the guy up, and he said the guy had been stealing.

1 comment:

  1. Google ate the comment I made last night... It sounds like you did make the right decision--with so many people involved and so much unknown, there was virtually no chance you were going to affect the outcome, and a good chance of becoming the target of some of the raised emotion. I'm SO glad you're okay. How disturbing! *hug*