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August 01, 2002 20:16

This might be a tad disturbing. You've been warned.

When I was 18, I came home one day and my mom told me that she had bad news. She then asked if I knew Justin Marquart, someone I knew from high school. Then she told me why she had asked. Turned out he'd been murdered the night before at the place he worked, along with his best friend. The manager had been seriously injured, but she survived by playing dead and managed to call 911 and identify one of the robbers/killers. Three men, one who had a key, entered shortly after closing, armed. They ordered everyone to lie down, and proceeded to tie them up with duct tape. They didn't put up a fight at all. Then the men slit their throats and knocked in the back of their skulls with a hammer.

I've never been a fighter, but ever since that day I've noticed a trend. People are encouraged not to be heros. When confronted by an armed assaliant, simply do whatever they tell you to do, and worry about the consequences later. Schools enforce this. They allow those who harrass others to get away with slaps on the wrist, but the few times someone stands up and defends themselves, they get severely disciplined. So the police are no different. Don't try to defend yourself. Don't try to stop your attacker/robber. Let them walk all over you, its better than dying.

The strange thing is, this attitude is beneficial in the short term, but creates serious problems in the long term. Yes indeed, you might survive a robbery/rape, but your assailant gets away. He'll be able to strike again. IF you stood up to him, yes you might have been injured or killed, but chances are good it would have been the last time. These are not odds people like to play, because its their life on the line, but in the long run, it works out much better for everyone. If an armed robber knows that there's a 100% possibility that he'll meet resistance, there will be a lot less armed robbers. As it stands, the odds are in their favor. They have practically nothing to lose just so long as there's not a police presence nearby.

I thought about this again after Columbine. Two kids with shotguns walked around shooting at fleeing people. Its easy to hit a moving target that doesn't fight back. If instead of running, everyone had jumped the gunmen, there might have been 2-4 people wounded/killed instead of 15 dead, and countless others wounded, not to mention extensive psychological issues with an entire student body. But had this happened, had they been able to stop them before they killed too many people, there would have been half a nation congradulating them on their heroism, and the other half complaining about how stupid they were.

To some extent, this has changed. On September 11, those that chose not to be taken hostage managed to thwart the plans of a group of deranged madmen who planned to use their plane as a weapon to kill many people. They all died in the process, but their deaths saved countless others, and although they were not victorious in saving the plane, fighting back was their only option to survive. Since that fateful day, there has not been a successful hijacking of an American plane. I doubt there will be one for the next 50 years. I can't imagine anyone standing up, saying he's hijacking the plane, without 50 passengers immediately jumping on top of him, armed or otherwise. Ever since 9/11, passengers have taken the inititave responding to any threat, any disgruntled passenger, any attempt to create trouble. There won't be anymore. They refuse to take it. The days of sitting down and shutting up when someone tries to take over the plane are over. The plane might go down in a blaze of glory, but the hijackers WILL NOT WIN. EVER.

Which brings me to a current event. Early this morning, four people were assaulted by a single armed man. At gunpoint, two abled bodied men allowed themselves to be tied up and allowed their girlfriends to be kidnapped. People, this is not about defending the honor of your girlfriend by beating up the guy that called her ugly. This is about saving someone's life. These TWO men were too coward to take on one man with a gun, because THEY might have died in the process. Did you see them on camera? were they crying? Were they heartbroken? Were they even worried? The girls they cared about the most (supposively) were currently being held against their will by a dangerous armed rapist. To you two girls, I think you can do better.

Yes, I know they're probably the same age. They're just kids. They're too scared to take a stand. But we've trained them to be that way. We've all grown up taking a lot for granted. We've allowed people to think that its ok to beat someone up because they're not part of the popular crowd, but when its serious, the solution is to cower up in a ball and just hope everything will go away. Am I too harsh? Maybe. Would I be any different in that situation? I don't know. But I know this. When someone's pointing a gun at me, coming at me with a roll of duct tape, I'll remember Justin. I'll remember how that turned out.

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