What do you do to end evil?

  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Aug 03, 2007 9:17 PM GMT
    Within this past hour, I fear that I witnessed two men car-jack three young women on 77th Street, between Columbus Ave. and Central Park West (Manhattan, NY). With cowardice and caution, I chose to not intervene during the initial confrontation, yet returned to them after feeling anxious about what I witnessed. At that point, the two men had forced their way into the car with the three women and soon drove off. I saw the women looking out the windows with what could only have been fear.

    I called 911 and failed; the police officer on the other end required for there to be a complainant, someone wronged. I failed the women, not seeing anything I could do other than provide the details of what I saw to the officer on the phone.

    In response to this, I have much that I need to do; I do not want to fail someone in such a manner ever again.

    Yet, one of the things I want to do is to ask you all: what do you do to end the evil that permeates through our species? What actions do you do? How do you respond to these horrors?

    And please, no irreverent humor in this thread; irreverence has its places, and the strife against evil among us is not one of them.
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    Aug 03, 2007 9:34 PM GMT
    Nick. First don't beat yourself up over it. Realistically what could you by yourself have done.

    I will share an experience with you that has lead me to where I am in life right now.

    On August 28th, 1988 I witnessed the worst military aviation airshow disaster in history at Ramstein Air Base Germany. Nothing I had been trained to do prepared me for the horror of watching a jet three jet fighters collide together and then plummet into the crowd below. I ended up getting wrapped up in the rescue and recovery effort. I remember sitting up in the cab of our crash recover trucks (tractor/trailor) and looking out at the chaos and wondering "what do I do?" I then saw the squadron idiot, the guy we made fun of because he did not have a lick of common sense out there going from victim to victim providing basic first aid and comfort. I drove burn victims that were loaded onto a bus to local German hospitals. I spent eight hours driving that bus, sometimes running blood donors to the clinics and victims to hospitals.

    In the 90's I ended up getting involved with the Civil Air Patrol doing search and rescue. Still wanting to do more I became an EMT and volunteer firefighter. That volunteerism lead me to change careers and consider nursing. While I did not stay with nursing I do work in Emergency Medicine managing a trauma emergency department.

    The point of my story is that there is nothing you can do for them now, however there is something you can probably do in the future. You will find a way to help fight evil.
    Trust me, I found a way to help my fellow man.

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    Aug 04, 2007 12:16 AM GMT
    I live in Manhattan. That area youare talking aboutis actually considered a well to do and safe area... Are you sure it was a car jack...? Did you see weapons...? I am sure if you told the police that you saw either violence or weapons, you would have not needed a complaint...

    It might have been the way you reported this event othe police.. I am not sure if you spoke "New York English", being that you are not from this country... The police, unfortuantely, cannot do anything if there was no violence witnessed. Harrasing is not a crime. Did anyone else see this and report this..?

    You might have done what you could have done at the time. This is a city where people carry guns... One wrong word, you get a bullet in your body... However, I am a bit shocked the police did not take your complaint if it was indeed a car jack and reported properly...
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    Aug 04, 2007 1:12 AM GMT
    Nick, in the realm that we live in, the behavior we term "evil" exists and you can't change that. The only way it will ever change is if we all start chosing from our heart and soul instead of what our conditioned mind tells us we should do. The mind is too influenced by what's "out there" and is easily convinced to make poor choices. Most of us don't, but those that do are disconnected from who they really are and the source of all things. That is why they choose as they do.

    Focus on yourself, the past is the past, you can't change it. Take Chuckmeisters suggestion and find a way to help. If you want to be prepared to jump in in an emergency should you see one, get trained in first aid and CPR. If you want to make a difference in someones life, volunteer at a homeless shelter or deliver meals for and AIDS organization in New York. There are lots of ways to help but help from your heart and your desire to make a difference, not out of obligation or some sense of self importance (not that you would do that but if it doesn't come from the right place then even though the job might get done, the meaning of it and the importance of it is lost).

    I can do a better job of this too and your posting has inspired me to look for a way to make a difference here in LA. Thank you.
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    Aug 04, 2007 1:37 AM GMT
    Honestly there isnt much you could have done other than call for help from the police so I think that should be said there. You are not required to put your life on the line to help another I mean one that isnt law and honestly not many people would do it. Don't feel bad. Hopefully it was nothing. Only time will tell.
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    Aug 04, 2007 2:17 AM GMT
    NYCmuscle has a good point, and sometimes we see something and think something is happening, but really something else is happeneing -- that's a lot of somethings. The police's response does seem surprising. Were you able to give them a license plate and they could have at least looked for the care; stopped the care and asked if everything is all right.

    As for what it does to you that is a whole different issue. Whether or not it was a car-jacking how you process and what you do with the experience is yours and could change your life. And yes, no one would expect you to spare your life, or risk being injured, but you have to decide for yourself what it means to risk it or not risk it, and what where you stand on such things, and if you want to be classified with what everyoen expects. Anyway sounds like a time for a little self reflection which is never a bad thing.

    Anyway here's some books on the topic -- well maybe not all directly on the topic -- that have helped form me. And I've someone who much prefers the mind to the heart, though I agree with shortandsexystud, I'm one who doesn't make decisions from the heart -- I'm and I/ENTP, and when you start talking about the heart my eyes glaze over.

    Well after that verbosity here they are:

    Conscience of Courage: Eva Fogelmand, and about rescuers of Jews during WWII

    The Call of Service: Robert Coles, a psychiatrist who struggles with idealism

    Shantung Compound: Langdon Gilkey, religious I admit, but from someone who tries to make the right decision when the rules change and suddently there are no rules.

    Anyway whatever the outcome, a traumatic experience, but one full of possibility.
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    Aug 04, 2007 3:15 AM GMT
    That is a terrible thing to witness. I would be, as I'm sure you are, unable to think of anything else for a long time.

    One thing you might do is call the precinct station where this happened (I don't know how NYC does it, but DC is divided into police districts, each with a commander whom anyone can call and speak to). Ask if there was a carjacking or if three women were reported missing or as victimes of some crime.

    If there was a crime report, you were a witness and can be of great help in identifying the attackers.

    If not, you did what you could and should stop worrying about it.

    Sadly, sometimes indiviual police are not very helpful and even damned rude.
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    Aug 04, 2007 3:27 AM GMT
    This is a tough one. I, too, think that NYC might be on the right track.

    Choice of words is very important when dealing with the authorities. Hesitancy or being indefinite is not helpful.

    Should anything unfortunate like this happen again, concentrate on details, and report them as quickly and accurately as possible.

    If the police choose not to become involved, that is their decision - you have discharged your responsibility.
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    Aug 04, 2007 3:53 AM GMT
    I was just thinking... You said the 2 guys forced their way into car with 3 women... So I assume the women were all inside the care and the men outside. For a car jack in this case to happen, no one will be able to force their way into a closed car unless there is a GUN used as a threat... You do not open the door for strangers when they threatens you with a knife... It had to be a gun... And Upper West Side is where a lot of the resturants and expensive condos are and where many wealthy and some celebrities live, are you sure these men pull out a gun and car jacked these women....? In Harlem or the Bronx maybe, but Upper West Side near Central Park West...??

    I am not saying domestic violence is not a crime, but it is often a lot more difficult to tell if what you witness were men arguing with women they knew...
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Aug 04, 2007 4:00 AM GMT
    Thanks for the good responses!

    I am still convinced that it was a car-jacking based on the initial confrontation I witnessed, where the two men went up to the car to (visibly aggressive) confront the driver because she had apparently driven over the bag of one of them (which struck me as extremely odd and I suspect that it was a trick to get the driver to stop).

    That the two men who aggressively went up to confront the women then later entered the car, with one of them entering the driver's seat pressed the point further. I also stand by my understanding of the two girls' expressions in the windows as I got back to the place as fear and helplessness.

    I have heard also from my mother, who has been frequently to Manhattan, that that area of town is supposed to be a comparably safe area of the city. The real or imagined safety of an area does not guarantee any kind of safety; it just means that crimes are not common to occur there.

    I do hope, as my mother suggested, that the purpose was car theft and not further cruelty against the women. Even then, it is still a horrific trauma for those men to inflict upon them.

    I do not know if I reported it properly; this was the second time I have called the police (the first was over concern over smoke from Everglades wildfires that entered into dorm housing complexes and was significantly different) and I was partly panicked. I failed to provide the street area immediately in the reporting and I described what I thought were the crucial details (the term car-jack first came to mind afterwards). The officer asked if any of the girls were there (they were taken with the car) in order to get a complainant. I do not know if calling from an international phone had any influence on the matter.

    There were probably numerous reasons for the police to not respond (amount of calls, lack of a report from a directly injured party), included my disjointed reporting. I now want to practice and learn how to properly report; my inexperience bred uncertainty and nervousness. I gave the three first letters of the license plate number as I recalled them.

    There were few other people there at the time and no one else seemed to take notice (which I looked for because I wanted guidance, someone else who could give orders and take charge; it's making me realize that that kind of leadership is not guaranteed or necessarily even likely in such a situation).

    I will check the newspaper tomorrow if there is any news or reporting that could relate to what happened (I leave for Miami during tomorrow afternoon, so my access diminshes then).

    I have thought about CPR lessons as well as improving my martial arts; not to be a vain-glorious would-be hero, but to have some preparation shoud a situation call for it.

    Regardless of the past being past, it is still what brings us to where we are and has continued influence (I know not to dwell on it with what I could have or should have done; such fantasies serve no purpose other than hollow relief).

    This wasn't as traumatic for me as it seems to come across; I was raped a couple of years ago and worked through it on my own (still working on it), so I have gotten "used to" the potential cruelties of people. And on the way back to the hotel I saw good (a gay couple holding hands, families enjoying their time in Central Park); yet, seeing them reminded me that good does not make for evil. There is no equation for me where x amount of good makes up for y amount of evil. Good can only alleviate effects of evil, not erase them.
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    Aug 04, 2007 4:01 AM GMT
    And the traffic in that area is often very bad... It is actually DIFFICULT to get away with a care in that area of Manhattan.. That is why we do not hear much of car jacking in New York City... It is much easier to rub a gypsy cab driver then shot him dead and then jump off the car to make your escape on the many crowded streets or get lost inthe subway.. This is New York City, you can sometimes walk faster than driving....
  • NickoftheNort...

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    Aug 04, 2007 4:06 AM GMT
    No, the women went out of the car during the initial confrontation (which struck me as immensely dangerous; if one has a situation like what occurred here and stops, one better damn well roll up the windows and lock the doors). I did not see any weapons, neither could I be certain that there weren't any involved.
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    Aug 04, 2007 4:09 AM GMT
    I somehow dont think this was a car jacking at all....

    New Yorkers do not stop their cars just because they drove over a bag! Confrontation over this? No, most people would not even botehr with a conversation of acknowledgement! New Yorkers will just leave your flatted bag behind in the dust..! I lived here for 27 years, I know!

    There must be things you do not know about... It sounds less and less like a car jack but rather some sort of arguement between parties who knew eachother..
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    Aug 04, 2007 4:13 AM GMT
    The police of New York City are trained to ask a serie of questions to determine if there is indeed a car jack involved, and you may not remember how you answereed them during your moment of panick, but maybe they got enough information to conclude that this was not a car jacking... Police will not leave something that may endu with murder unanswered, international phone or not.. And car jacks are almost never heard of in New York City because of the reasons I mentioned above.... You cannot get away with a car... There is a reason the I am 40 and I still do not know how to drive and I am not alone (my secretary also does not know gas from break peddles..)
  • NickoftheNort...

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    Aug 04, 2007 4:19 AM GMT
    The traffic was bad on the avenue to the west (Columbus Ave.), but this street (77th) had almost no traffic at the time (the phone recorded my 911-call at 3:56PM; again, the lack of traffc was something that felt uneerie). The avenue to the east (Central Park West) had little traffic in comparison to Columbus, and 77th is one-way westward.

    It will stay in my mind, yes, particularly until I've found out of what happened to the women (I am convinced that it was something foul because of what I saw at the time; I am aware of my inclination toward jumping to conclusions and making rash judgments of a situation, particularly paniced ones; yet, here I believe in my conclusions more than I doubt them and if proven wrong, then I will have to have a professional look into my imagination and how I can prevent such from happening).
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    Aug 04, 2007 4:27 AM GMT
    You just made my point...

    77th street is short... It is cut off by Central Park on one end and the other end by Columbus Ave.. The car will hit Central Park or traffic within 1 block... Even if it made it all the way past columbus Ave to West Side High Way, there is a lot of traffic there too... You are talking about not much traffic only within like 1 city block, which you and I can walk by within 2 min..., that is basically being cornered...

    They can't get away with a car in that area..
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    Aug 04, 2007 4:37 AM GMT
    You know that Madonna, Trump, and thelikes ALL have condos on Central Park West, right..? Tiny one bedroom condos there start at least 1 million and most often way above that..
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    Aug 04, 2007 4:39 AM GMT
    You know, and maybe this doesn't relate, but the time I was most panicked or scared in my life was running in the hills behind my house. Now I run there often -- probably three to four times a week. Most of the trails are fire brakes and graded from time to time. Anyway there are walkers, runners, and bikers and at times even cars in those hills, and usually you meet someone there. One time a friend and I were running in the hills. He was ahead of me -- he ran track in college -- and I came by a guy sitting in a truck -- white and clean shaven -- and I looked at him and immediately felt like he was going to hurt me. I can't say why or give you a good reason, but I ran from there as fast as I could. Anyway afterwards when I asked my friend he had had the same feeling, and had come back looking for me. I have no evidence that this person would hurt me, but I felt something there that I cannot deny, and have never felt before.
    Now to me today. I will go anywhere in my town at any time of the night -- and often do and have encountered skate boarders at odd hours in the summer. And while it ma not be 100% safe there is very little that happens and I 'feel' compleltely safe. Would I walk around North of the 10 freeway that passes about 3 miles or probably 5 km from my house. No, but it is a different world, different town and things completely change from where I live.
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    Aug 04, 2007 4:39 AM GMT
    You re a good kind hearted man..

    Maybe the aggressiveness of New Yorkers horrfied you... You have been here long enough, so I do not ned to tell you taht we have some of the most rude and aggressive people in NYC... They would trample you over just becasue you dont walk fast enough during rush hours...
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    Aug 04, 2007 4:57 AM GMT
    Yes, but recently they said the fastest walkers live in: Singapore, Madrid, and third, drumroll, Copenhagen. New York was in the top 10 -- London somehwere lower down -- and don't remember after those three where things fell. Does pace correlate with rudeness, don't know, but would be interestnig. Do you consider Californians, supposedely slow paced, rude -- just a question and you can answer how you like.
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    Aug 04, 2007 10:39 AM GMT
    Californians are so nice!!!

    I have families in Palo Alto, Fullerton (OC), and an ex in SD, so I visit at least 2 to 4 times a year. I have to get used to have strangers say "Hi" to me here and there on line at the cashier... Because when a stranger says "Hi" to you in NYC, he or she wants something (and that is always BAD from a stranger.) Evertime I come back home, I always will run into some incident that makes me think "Sheesh!" One example is when I got out of the subway and had to stop to open my umbralla before I got out to the rainy streets, then this woman in power suit walked from behind me and then pushed/aggressively bumped right into me with her wet umbralla, opend it, got me wet, and her parting words were: "Geesh, don't you know how to get out of f^cking way?!" and then gave me a dirty look and walked away.

    That is a New York Bit*! during rush hours...
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    Aug 04, 2007 10:41 AM GMT
    I think pace AND space corrolates with rudeness and aggressiveness... You got a lot of people moving fast in all directions all together, figure it out...
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    Aug 04, 2007 11:11 AM GMT
    A sidebar on the whole fighting evil thing. Is it better to fight evil, even if the exercise is futile, and the fitility of the outcome is known, or should one only fight evil if victory is assured?
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    Aug 04, 2007 8:23 PM GMT
    Do you mean "ending evil" in an abstract sense?

    That's a bit like ending entropy.

    The fact is, NYC is already almost eerily safe, if you consider how many millions of people live there and how rare serious crime is, compared to any other point in human history. It's important to keep perspective.
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    Aug 04, 2007 8:30 PM GMT
    Okay - I do need to comment further

    "This is a city where people carry guns... One wrong word, you get a bullet in your body.."

    This is a bit alarmist, don't you think? It's not Dodge City.

    People love to beat down Americans, as if crossing every street corner carries some real chance of being gunned down, just because we theoretically have the right to bear arms, where in other countries arms sales are either regulated and/or relegated to the black market. The fact is, the US remains, all in all, one of the safest countries in the world.

    It is always good to be prepared to defend yourself, but it's also important to keep things in perspective. It simply isn't possible, practical, or even sane to expect a guarantee of absolute safety. We do the best we can. Sometimes things happen. You could spend eternity trying to wipe out crime, but you would never be able to wipe out accidents, etc. Accepting acceptable risks is part of life.