I spent several hours today at a local coffee shop writing my talk for this weekend… pretty normal Wednesday. Except that across the coffee shop parking lot, a man walked with a young boy. As I watched, the boy dropped a package he had obviously been entrusted to carry – right in a snow bank. The man exploded in a tirade at this 10-12 year old boy… yelling at him in what was, from my vantage point, the ugliest silent-move I have ever seen. Then he slapped this kid upside the head. I watched, from about 100 feet away, as several men walked by this scene…watching but doing nothing. The boy started to cry and something inside me broke. I got up, closed my mac, and walked across the parking lot. I walked up to the bully and told him to step away, that he was not to touch this kid again, and then I called the police. I stood there between the man and the boy until the police came and handled the situation. Then I returned inside. I heard from several men as I retook my seat, "I was going to go out there…", and "I am glad you went, because I was about to…". Yeah, right.
I am not a hero. I am not even particularly brave. But I have to ask – why are most people are afraid to interact? The guys in the parking lot were all at least as big as the bully. Why did all those men walk by a young boy who was obviously being victimized? Because they didn’t want to get involved… fear of lawsuit, fear of confrontation, fear… Are we are so afraid of being accused of doing wrong, of "getting involved" or confrontation, that we don’t DO anything? Maybe we all need to get a little less civilized, and a little more righteously indignant. I agree with Edmund Burke – The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good [people] to do nothing.
Sorry for the rant…I’ll put my pastor hat back on now. G’nite.