Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Kindness of Strangers

Sorry for the lack of postage today, Slackers...in yet another episode of my surreal life, a mad Irishman who lives in Tokyo took me out to breakfast this morning to talk about why China shouldn't be the United States' biggest economic threat in East Asia, how we should be concentrating on breaking into the Japanese market and levying protective tariffs on the rest of the world's imports.

Um, I don't know what you heard, buddy, but I'm a 25-year-old stoner that majored in laziness and self-aggrandizement in college. I'm clearly not your guy. Sadly, I am his guy. Well, How did I get here?

Anyway, here are two stories I saw upon returning to my desk that scare the living bejesus out of me:

1. There's a new fad sweeping the British Empire, a youth craze straight out of Kubrik's Korova Milk Bar. "Happy slapping" refers the practice of London teenagers performing violent acts on random, unsuspecting innocents -- often adults, sometimes women -- while their friends capture the attacks on camera phones with video technology.

One clip described in the article shows a kid walking up to a woman at a bus stop and punching her right in the face. In another, a teen assaults a bank customer while his friend steals the money the man had just withdrawn. [More...]

In general, I've always subscribed to the idea that if we're all ridiculously kind to strangers and save our rudeness and intolerance for our friends and family the world would be a much better place to live. I truly believe this. I try to be a Good Samaritan in public because that goes a long way -- if you smile at someone, they'll smile at the next guy and so on. I've carried bags for old ladies, given street directions to tourists/immigrants with my knowledge of elementary Spanish, swiped my transit Metrocard for a lady with no money on her...ya know, good deeds and such. Now, if a friend needs a favor, they're on their own. You know I loves ya, I really don't need to help you move boxes, dude. Sorry, but I've got bingers to take and couches to sit on.

This new fad is the complete opposite of that Samaritan premise. They make people bitter at the world, they promote casual violence and they will mostly go unpunished. Such a shame. Would I watch these attacks if I saw them posted on the Internets? Most likely, yeah. Would I laugh? Sure, why not. But that's just human nature. What if that was your mother that got hit at the bus stop? Is is still funny? I say we all stand up today and agree to be nicer to strangers (and complete dicks to friends/family). After all, a little instant karma never hurt nobody.

2. Welcome to Florida, official state of the absurd. Brother-Gov. Jeb Bush today signed a new law that lets Floridians fire at will in self-defense, or as this article calls it, a return to the days of "shoot first and ask questions later."

According to the article, "The Florida measure says any person 'has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm.'

"Florida law already lets residents defend themselves against attackers if they can prove they could not have escaped. The new law would allow them to use deadly force even if they could have fled and says that prosecutors must automatically presume that would-be victims feared for their lives if attacked."

But Ace, people who are attacked should be able to defend themselves, right? In theory, sure, if someone comes at me I should be able to defend myself any way I see fit (my defense is usually soiling myself and hoping the stench will be unbearable enough to drive away would-be attackers).

What about the gray area, though? What if it's dark, I hear a loud pop, I see you in the distance with something in your hand and think you're coming at me with a gun? Instead of running, I sack up and shoot you with my concealed weapon, which is legal. You die. Sorry, dude, I feared for my life. I thought you fired your gun and started coming at me, so I shot you first in fear I'd be attacked too. Am I wrong in assuming that you're dead and I'm protected under law? 'Cuz if that's right, that's fuckingggg scary. That poor guy could have been coming towards me with a Pez dispenser and some sweet, sweet candy. Alas, I'll never get the Pez, but I'll always have my freedom.

Here's a top-notch idea: Let's give Panhandle rednecks and senile old bats the right to shoot first and ask questions later. I can't wait to see how this one turns out. Welcome to Deadwood, cocksuckers.

Oh, and one more thing...nobody is as psyched as I am to see the Steven Tobolowsky movie I posted yesterday? You people suck.

10 Comments:

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous lw said...

Choice excerpt from your Guardian link:

In a comment recently posted on a London community web forum, "Happyslapper2" described the craze as a "joke", writing: "If you feel bored wen ur about an u got a video phone den bitch slap sum norman, innit."

dats sum shit, I say.

 
At 1:38 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

That was my favorite part of the article...

--Norman

 
At 2:15 PM, Blogger Wooglin said...

Those damn brits just need a hobby. I like to occupy my time playing nontraditional sports such Beruit and Competition Level Rock Paper Scissor. Recently, I was direccted to activity which I am thinking about getting into and you all should too.

Competitive Air Guitar:

http://www.airguitarnation.com/

In fact, being New Yorkers, you can all get your chance right here in Gotham:

http://www.bbkingblues.com/schedule/moreinfo.cgi?id=2507

 
At 2:17 PM, Blogger Matty Mac said...

For that Florida article, it sounds eerily like an excerpt from Malcolm Gladwell's book "Blink", specifically the story about Amidou Diallo and those cops who shot him because they thought he had a gun, but it was just his wallet. When you think about the age demographic in Florida, it's even scarier to think that they can shoot whenever they feel threatened. My grandmother jumps when the bell on the microwave goes off. That microwave would be in pieces if she lived there. Scary shit.

I'll be in Tampa in 2 weeks, I'm bringing my tech-9 and a semi-auto uzi, just in case I feel like I am in danger.

 
At 2:29 PM, Blogger poophopanonymous22 said...

all this law talk made me think of this scenario that a friend of a friend told me a while back...

tim lobs a grenade into ace's living room, ace, being the quick-witted machine that he is, says, holy shit, that there is a live grenade, and tosses it back out the window before it explodes. it then explodes outside, killing little suzie and her mom.

now, this friend of a friend was in law school and claims that ace would be in serious dog poo legally, but common sense would say differently, so to all of u lawyer slackers out there, my question is, would ace really be in serious legal trouble instead of tim who threw the grenade into ace's window? do tell

 
At 2:39 PM, Blogger offpeak34 said...

That Florida law is absolutely outrageous and crazy, what are they thinking? As for the grenade question, the key would be whether or not Ace could convince the jury that he acted in such a way as a reasonable person would act. Either way the guy who threw it at first would be liable for something, but based on my knowledge of the law after nearly 2 semesters, I believe that Ace would have acted in accordance with the reasonable person standard. Hope that helps.

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

I'm not a reasonable anything. Leave me out of this.

Wooglin, we're still on for the RPS tourney I hope...I'm really lookin forward to it.

As for the Air Guitar champeenship, CNN's Jeannie Moos did a cool, short piece on it last year. Looks awesome, but that's a bit out of my league.

 
At 7:32 PM, Blogger Wooglin said...

Most definetly still on for the RPS Tourney Ace.

 
At 7:33 PM, Blogger ahren said...

anyone who advocates protective tarrifs should just have his throat slit

 
At 12:27 AM, Blogger Don Fiedler said...

Ace would not be in trouble unless it was clear that he through the grenade negligently in the direction of the mom. It probably wouldn't be, since time was of the essence.

Plus, he throws like a little girl

 

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