Last night 5 of us were on our way back from dinner. It was my wife and I, another couple and another close friend of our who is pregnant. Let’s call her Beatrix. Very near where a few of us live, a mid-twenties middle-class-looking individual began swinging a grocery back with a bottle of vodka in it at us for no apparent reason. He ended up hitting our pregnant friend in the face causing considerable blood loss and trauma. While Jeff’s wife was taking her home, Jeff and I were making sure the individual wasn’t going to follow them or proceed with any further shenanigans.
He was obviously on some sort of drugs and acting unreasonably and unpredictably. ‘Jeff’ and I simply blocked the path as to not let him pass, as he was constantly attempting to approach the girls. After a bit of arguing and stuff, he began to threaten that he was going to “shoot us in the face and stab us” if we attempted to detain him, then spouted some racial slurs at Jeff and I. My wife called the police.
There were a few times when I thought he was going to get violent again, and I must admit that it crossed my mind more than once to simply beat the shit out of him. Jeff was thinking about somehow detaining him until the police arrived, but I thought it best to just diffuse the situation as quickly as possible.
He finally decided to leave, the opposite direction from us, and the police arrived about 10 minutes later at Beatrix’s house, where we were all taking care of her and preparing to take her to the ER. I went with the police to show them the crime scene and to drive around looking for him. We didn’t find him, but they did recover the top of him smashed vodka bottle which had fallen from the bag. The bottle had been opened and the police said they would be able to extract his DNA from it, but it would take 4-5 weeks to get back.
He was not found that night, but the police have a very clear description of him.
Ever since I began reading material from Shane Claiborn, author of The Irresistible Revolution, I have been challenged by his strict policy of ‘non-violence’. Being originally from East LA I have been in my share of fights, and have never thought twice about having to disable someone if the occasion called for it. Though I don’t think anyone likes fighting, you do actually get used to it if it’s a big feature of your neighbourhood, and for some it is a way of life.
The only Biblical occasion of Jesus being ‘violent’ I can recall is in Matthew 21:12 when Jesus overturned tables, but He didn’t hit anyone. Honestly, though it may be due to the country I was raised in, I don’t understand Shane’s validity of believing in non-violence. I understand the concept of trying to bring The Kingdom of God to Earth, but it’s not here yet, and we still live in a fallen world. Are we supposed to just stand there and let people walk all over us?
Thankfully, in this situation, Beatrix’s husband wasn’t with us, but it really made me think– what if it had been my wife, or Jeff’s? The situation would definitely have turned out differently. I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on this one.