The last few nights putting out the Nation have been late ones. As a result I was walking home at about one in the morning on a Wednesday night. I was feeling good as I had most of the paper ready to go.
That feeling wouldn’t last. About five blocks from my home I came across a man getting beaten up. I didn’t consider this a fight because the man on the ground wasn’t fighting back. I was going to say something because there was only one other person nearby, but then I noticed two other people in the doorway of the bar.
At that point I did the only thing possible: feeling bad, I walked on by. I felt bad about myself for not stopping the fight and I felt bad for the person on the ground. He wasn’t moving at this point. He was getting kicked in the head and stomped in the ribs and abdomen.
As I looked back the onlooker attempted to, drag his friend away. I think he was saying he had enough. The attacker would leave for a second or two and then return.
About half a block away I dropped a quarter in the phone and called 911. After explaining the situation I was connected to the police and gave them the story of what had happened I gave clear directions to the site of the attack.
By that time the attacker had gotten on a bicycle and left.
I asked the police if they wanted me to stick around. They said no and someone would be sent to check it out.
I left feeling guilty that I should perhaps have done more.
I wondered how the situation had escalated to the point where senseless violence was the only option.
As I thought about it I could see it. A difference of opinion with each person taking a side but not willing to listen to the words spoken by the other. Neither backing down and each getting a little more territorial. Each thinking that they are right and the other isn’t. Compromise and understanding fading with each new stance. A desire not to lose face in front of others and look weak. Pride prepping the inevitable battlefield
Finally it is the point of no return and then it happens.
In reality it isn’t the point of no return, an intervener or another person can step in and stop the fight. With the right words balance can be restored before it goes too far.
As I was musing about this, I suddenly thought about how it applied to Burnt Church. The feds on one side and Burnt Church on the other. At first it’s the war of words. Then it’s followed by actions, each escalating a little bit until the situation is volatile. And that’s where we are right now, before the savage beating phase, which benefits no one in the long run. Newly elected National Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come is on the scene. Hopefully he’ll bring a sense of balance to the situation and we’ll see resolution that is satisfactory to everyone. This will be the first real test of Coon Come’s clout as National Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.