2/27/2007

What Would You Do?

OK, I'm not going to ask you a question with every post, but how would you handle the following situation?

You come home from the grocery store at night. You're about to grab your groceries out of the car when you hear some commotion down the block. You notice a couple of people grappling with each other but can't tell if they're just kids having fun or what the story is. Then you hear a woman start to cry. "You hit me!" she yells. You realize the other person is a man.

What would you do?

Now, I suppose calling the police is an option, but good response times aren't guaranteed. I've had screamers in our apartment building before that I've just listened to and they've resolved things on their own. I've also had people scream all the way down the stairs and out into the courtyard. Those folks got the police called on them.

But in this situation, which happened just tonight, my protective instinct just kicked in. I left my groceries, grabbed a tool out of the car and followed the couple for three blocks as they walked, sometimes yelling at each other, other times just walking. My wife called in the middle of this. It's always fun to explain something like this. "Hi hon, I'm following a couple that seems to be having domestic problems. I may have to break up a fight." They eventually calmed down and also seemed to notice that they were being followed (I was wearing YakTrax--they're kinda' noisy on the concrete). I broke off my pursuit. After grabbing my groceries, I started to pray for them as I walked home.

Now, I was ready to physically intervene. Yes, I would've given the police a call, but I wasn't going to stand by and watch some guy beat up his girlfriend. Relieved as I was that it turned out OK, it got me thinking.

I am glad that my self-preservation instinct took a back seat to my desire for justice. This reversal of priorities has gotten me hurt before, but it's good that it remains. What I'd like, though, is for my first instinct to be prayer. I thought about that afterwards, but I should've sought guidance beforehand. Yes, it would've been chivalrous to protect the "damsel in distress," but what if God had wanted me to speak into both of their lives in some way? Hm. Still learning...

2 comments:

M. Cruz said...

Unfortunately, I have very mixed feelings about that kind of thing. So often, women choose to stay with jerky guys who treat them like crap. And when you try to help them, YOU'RE the bad person. That's a pet peeve of mine, and so I have very little patience for women in that sort of situation. (Even if it wasn't a sore topic for me, I don't know that I would've had he courage to do it, because I know I'm a coward. For guys it's a bit different, as I am not sure what I could've done being a wimpy girl.)

But I think you did the right thing. I would not have respect for a man who just turned away.

BSS said...

Interesting question. Can't say that I know what I would do in that situation. Although, walking around at night with a tool from your car while following people might be hard to explain if the cops saw you or the couple called the police first.

My former roommate & I have called the police and been ready to run upstairs if we continued to hear fighting and hitting, but that was at our old apartment and there was two of us.

Hopefully, it won't ever come to that for me, but it is something to think about.