It seems to get easier, figuring out when to act and whether or not to act. Now the question is, how
to act. There is a riot going on over alleged Police brutality and people could get hurt. I am
My attempt not to take sides and act as a neutral peace-maker lasted several seconds, then someone with a shotgun attempted to kill me. I didn't think it was amusing. Tensions were already high and the sound of a gunshot made a bad situation impossible. More firearms materialized and the police wisely retreated behind their vehicles. I opted to remain in the middle of the street and became a target, which was what I hoped; if the gangs were shooting at me, they would not kill Police.
I projected my shield immediately since even my armor must have limits to what it can take, but that turned out to be counter-productive, at least initially. Like bulls spying a red cape, the gangs opened fire on my shield, pouring ammunition at me as fast as they could; the result was that they ran out of bullets in a few moments. I hadn't planned that, but I was glad for it. Only one or two of the offenders had any reloads and once they were done shooting, I dropped my shield.
That was another tactical error. While my shield was up, those with no ammunition looked stymied, as if they didn't see anything they could do. They might even have left if I had kept my shield up, but they saw their opening and charged en-masse.
This is not good, I am alone against 50 or so angry gang members. The police are some 20 yards away behind their vehicles, as they should be. I have 2 options, I can fly out of here and let the police deal with a mob I have riled up, or stand and fight.
I am ill equipped for this sort of fight. My primary attack is a blast that could level any structure
in the city with one shot, clearly too much for here. If I attempt hand-to-hand, I will quickly be overwhelmed by sheer numbers. I have an energy blade that easily cuts several feet of concrete or steel, but my goal is not to kill anyone. That leaves me with only one option.
My pistol has several modes, including stun. The instant I analyze my situation, I drain the battery with four quick hip-shots at the four biggest targets who happen to be up front. They collapse as if their spines were removed. Both the police and the gangsters raise shouts of alarm. Some of the gangsters are panicked, some are angry, and the police seem to be unified in horror as though I had killed my targets. They'll live, but they'll sleep for a long time.
I quickly change my battery-clip and brandish my weapon actively at the advancing gangsters. They begin to analyze the situation; the police are advancing quickly behind me with weapons drawn, I show no qualms about shooting any of them, they have no ammunition left, and if bullets won't hurt me, clubs and knives are not likely to either.
The police are forced to divide their attention, they have an angry but somewhat cowed mob before them, and a pistol wielding costumed crusader who has just shot four people to deal with. I simplify the issue for them by handing my weapon to one of them. I raise my hands and begin walking backward slowly, two officers following me with pistols on me, telling me to stop and get on the ground.
I am too close to the gangsters. If I get on the ground now, they will try to attack me. I back slowly another ten yards or so and then kneel on the ground.
The gangs are in an uproar and the situation is tenuous at best. I finally succeed in getting the two officers concerned with me to recognize what the rest of them have already found out, my victims are unconscious, but uninjured. I reassure them that my intention is to prevent injuries on both sides. They are not to happy about it, but when I stand up again, they let me. I continue to assure them that if I am on anyone's side, it is theirs, and that I have hurt no one. I return to the line of scrimmage and become the immediate center of the gangs attention as I approach. The police line realizes that I am returning only after I reclaim my pistol step through their line into the no-man's land between the two groups.
I have a mess, but not anything I can't deal with. First I have to stop acting in my own wisdom. I am not here to be a big deal, I am here to save lives. I appeal to the remaining leadership apparent among the gangs to listen to me. They are coiled springs, waiting for a chance to pounce on me. I point out that I do not wish to be hurt anymore than I want to hurt anyone. The remark gets me absolutely nowhere. I knew that. I have a mob trying to prove its strength despite the fact that I dropped 4 of them in nothing flat and am impervious to their attacks. Not good as long as they think they can still hurt the police who are vulnerable. That was their intent in the first place.
A leader steps forward and tells me to leave if I really don't want to hurt nobody. I tell him I can't do that as long as they mean to riot. He says that the riot is on and it ain't gonna go away. I remind him that his people lack the ability to hurt me. Another tactical mistake.
He whips a pistol out, aimed directly at my head and asks, "Is that a fact?" At this range the aim is unquestionable, the look in his eyes unmistakable, and the situation unnerving. The police react as I expected, and I gently wave them off.
Once they cease demanding the gangster drop his weapon, I tell him, "Shoot me."
He considers it for a moment and then grins, "I got a better idea, how about I shoot one of them?" As he begins to track his weapon toward the police, I step forward and grab his gun arm with my left hand. He tries to aim back at me, but I have greater strength. I take another step so that I am at his right side, and turn him and his gun hand so that he is facing the crowded gangs with his weapon pointing into them.
"Go ahead, shoot!"
He struggles to free himself to no avail. One of the gangsters starts for me and I hip-shoot him. General unrest spreads throughout the gangs. "Drop the weapon," I order. He refuses. I squeeze his wrist harder, he complains. "Drop the weapon," I repeat. He refuses, adding language I don't think I would like if I understood him. I continue to increase the grip on his arm. He surprises me, taking the gun in his his left hand and shooting me in the side of the head, twice. Suddenly there is intense silence.
Reeling, I force myself to maintain control and posture. I am still uninjured, but I nearly lost consciousness. If I had not reflexively griped his arm so tightly, he might have continued firing and I might have passed out. It is time to give up on communication. My role as peace-maker is done, I no longer have a chance to make that work. I must publicly declare a side. I have tried to be nice. I have tried to reason with him. I have tried not to hurt him. But that, as the man said in "Cool Hand Luke," is the way he wants it. Still, I am not the Bat, I take no pleasure in cruelty to anyone. I disarm him with my free hand, turn him toward me, and smack him on top of the head with the handle of his own pistol.
He yelps loudly and starts telling me how he feels about me in rapid Spanish. I don't think he likes me. I quickly grab his throat in my left hand, he uses both hands struggling to break free. I am inspired. As a stall to give myself time to recover, I hold his weapon out behind me and ask, "Someone please take this?" One of the officers obliges. Then I walk toward the gangs with the leader's throat in my hand. They part, letting me through but only grudgingly. They saw me hurt by the close-range pistol shot. They know I am not invulnerable. I keep my other hand on my weapon.
Once I am through them, I turn around again and tell them, "You can all go home! All you have to do is come to me, one at a time, and give me your weapons!" They look around at each other, generally not believing that I am seriously asking for their weapons. I drop the now unconscious leader in a heap and take a step toward them.
"You can give me your weapons, one at a time, or you can make me take them!" Laughing at me, one of them flips open his knife. I flip a shot at him. He slumps. An elephant would slump if I shot it. At times like this, I wish I had that stark terror ability of the Bat. I'll make do with what I have.
After a moment, I point at the closest one of them. "You! Come here," I demand, beckoning. Already shaky with fear, he yields, stepping toward me. I snatch the weapon from his hand and shove him behind me, yelling, "Next!" I single them out, beckoning them one at a time. Sometimes more than one starts toward me or one of the braver ones will think to rush me. A quick flash of my pistol and self-control prevails again. At one point the pile of weapons accumulating to my right proves to be too big a temptation and one of the braver ones tries to grab one. I shoot him and he crashes headlong into the pile, unconscious.
The process is over in a few minutes and the police and I are left facing each other over several yards of ground, 8 unconscious bodies, and a pile of confiscated weapons.
"Sergeant?!" What do you say? Looks to me like a citizen stood up and lent a hand. You guys look ok, no one got hurt, and the gangs are mad at me now instead of the police. Still want to arrest me for shooting these guys?"
The sergeant looked at his men and back at me. "We don't arrest law abiding citizens who help restore civil order."
To make sure that all the gangsters remember that I am the guy they are mad at, I take a long walk through the neighborhood, and I make a point of getting in their space when I see anyone trying to look tough. After an hour, I leave. They are still mad and still want to get even, but now they have to wait until they see me to do anything about it.
San Diego is an hour and a half drive, one way. If they do come looking for me, they will have no idea where to start. It will cost them time and money, and they will have to leave their turf unprotected to try.
How do you deal with a situation like this? How do you help an entire culture that is constantly encouraged to behave badly by supposed social experts who tell them they are 'disenfranchised' and 'underprivileged.'
I was wrong. It doesn't get easier deciding when to act, and deciding how to act is far from the only question I face. All I am certain of is that Man was put here to dress it and keep it, not to act like rabble and be self-serving. To be disenfranchised, someone has to take your rightful entitlement away from you. No one has taken anything from these people, they have surrendered it, given up their 'franchise,' their place in the world by not assuming their responsibilities. Adam did it too, he gave up rulership of the earth when he failed to protect Eve from the serpent.
With citizenship comes an obligation to contribute to the common good. The government cannot be a source of anything to anyone without first taking from someone else. That is how it works. The idea of being underprivileged is irrelevant regarding anyone who doesn't contribute to the common good. It is in the definition: a privilege is something you have to earn. When our society tells them they are disenfranchised and underprivileged, we invite civil unrest.
We bring it on ourselves, alright.