Violence Run Amok

Is it my imagination, or are people quicker to get angry these days? I saw a story yesterday about an unbelievable incident in Brazil:

Enraged spectators invaded a football field, stoned the referee to death and quartered his body after he stabbed a player to death.

The Public Safety Department of the state of Maranhao, in Brazil, said in a statement that the horrific incident began when referee Otavio da Silva, 20, sent off 30-year-old Josenir Abreu.

The two got into a fist fight, during which Silva took out a knife and stabbed Abreu, who died on his way to the hospital.

The statement issued this week says Abreu’s friends and relatives immediately ‘rushed into the field, stoned the referee to death and quartered his body.

Local news media say the spectators also decapitated Silva and stuck his head on a stake in the middle of the field.

I can’t even imagine getting that pissed off about a game that you would kill and dismember someone over it, and what the hell was up with the referee that he stabbed a player?

Also yesterday, I stepped out on my stoop to water the plants and heard a hard, sharp bang. A man had just thrown a rock at the driver’s door on a pickup truck parked in the next lot (weekend customers at the restaurant across the street often park there). Meanwhile, his three friends were gathering more rocks from the base of the hedge that runs along the sidewalk next to the inclined ramp that leads to my door.

Without thinking, I said, “What are you doing?”

Given the climate these days, where people erupt for little or no reason, I should have ducked back inside and locked my door, but nope, I saw something bad happening and wanted to put a stop to it if I could. It never occurred to me they might have a gun and decide to shoot me. Or maybe run over and beat the shit out of me.

Instead of calling me names or flinging expletives at me, they stopped, ducked their heads, and left. Later, I realized this was to keep me from being able to identify them to the cops. Because yeah, three squads showed up, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

A couple guys and a woman exited the restaurant, and something about their stance told me to wait, see if they were the truck owners. Turns out they were. I told them what happened. That’s when the cops were called.

Side note: these people didn’t thank me. Didn’t their parents teach them manners? A stranger stops vandalism in progress and then stays to tell them what occurred, and no thanks? Uh-huh. I don’t think it’s my imagination that people are getting ruder, too.

The people involved in this incident were adults, not teens or young boys. I’m dismayed by the idea that they thought they had no other recourse than to pitch rocks at someone’s truck to indicate displeasure over something. What ever happened to talking to people? What ever happened to working things out through discussion?

Apparently, these days, violent recourse is the reaction of choice. Someone took that parking place you had your eye on? Whip out a gun and shoot them. You’re having a bad day at work? Run down to the local theater and blast everyone in sight.

I suspect part of the problem is that people are out of work or underemployed. They don’t have enough money to support themselves. They have too much time on their hands. Instead of kicking back with a six pack on Friday night, they’re roaming the streets looking for a reason to get crazy.

I only wish they’d direct that anger at the people who are causing their unhappiness, i.e., the politicians, the corporations that control them, and the wealthy “I don’t give a fuck about you” one percent instead of taking their frustration out on their own.

I think we are going to see a spike in crime as things worsen in this country. I think a lot of us are going to experience this firsthand by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I got lucky today. They weren’t packing and they had apparently been in enough trouble that they knew to walk the hell away immediately rather than stay and cause me grief.

But what about next time?


About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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21 Responses to Violence Run Amok

  1. And the incident in Brazil is precisely why I don’t play bridge. Have you seen how seriously bridge players take their “game”? But really, I do think people are more on edge these days, and as for why they don’t take their anger out on the ones actually causing the problems (like the U.S. Congress, for instance), I fear that many of these people are doing precisely that–at least they’re going after the scapegoats that our churches and faux news outlets are claiming to be the problem.

    • I don’t like what I see happening in the U.S. right now. The country seems filled with hate, and our media is only contributing to that perception by reporting every single bad thing that happens, ad nauseum. Instead of coming together to deal with climate change, lack of jobs, and low wages, it’s easier to go after minorities and strip them of their rights. The people are dividing into factions and attacking one another. It’s horrible.

      • You’re totally right about the media being nuts. My dad (who likes to go shooting, and I’ll be honest, it’s something I enjoy too) laments that he can’t get any .22 ammo because paranoid people are hoarding it. Oddly enough, it’s not enough to make him turn off Fox News.

        • I doubt most of those people would shoot another human being without strong cause. It’s simply not as easy as TV and movies make it appear.

          But then I’m a fairly non-violent type of person, so I don’t understand the mindset of those that don’t feel safe unless there are half a dozen loaded weapons close at hand.

  2. Dani says:

    first i am happy that you are ok theo
    thank god those people went away
    not thanking you Geezz that is rude!
    And yes the world is unfortunatly getting more fucked up every day more selfcentred focussed on each of their own
    It happens everywhere it seems …….:(
    x Dani

  3. Sarah_Madison says:

    We really are living in a climate where it isn’t safe to stand up and intervene on someone’s behalf. I think the climate of anger is so very strong because people are tired. They’re exhausted from working their asses off and still being in debt. They’re tired of being told that if you just work hard, you’ll get ahead and have a little something to look forward to someday. They’re angry because they’ve been lied to, because they can’t confront the people that are not fixing the problems–and, because you said, many have too much time on their hands because they can’t find work.

    I also see a large number of people who don’t want to work as hard as their parents did. Jobs are out there but they aren’t taking them because it is too damn much work for too little pay. But the alternative is to bang around slinging rocks at an expensive vehicle that your don’t own.

    I can’t believe the people whose truck it was never thanked you. That too, is a symptom of the problems I don’t think we’re going to solve.

    • Income inequality is a very real situation causing very real problems. With all the money going to the top and none to the rest of us, how long can the precarious balance last before someone middle class throws a very big rock at the one percent?

      It’s depressing, realizing that no matter how hard you work, you will never get ahead. Worse, you will not do as well as your parents did.

  4. I went to see an exhibit called “Strange Fruit” at the Warhol quite some time ago. Smiling families, kids on shoulders, posing with bloated dead bodies. The lynchings of the south were an ugly thing, but even uglier was the spectacle of it. People treated it like a Sunday picnic.
    I think the harsh truth is we’re animals pretending we’re not animals, and we’ve been that for a long time. Look at the Roman’s with their Bread and Circus, or the fact that executions were for a very very very long time a public spectacle. I think until the 1920s/1930s France used to hold public executions. Reading “When the Guillotine Fell” one thing that was impressed upon the reader was the fact that abolitionist activities were thwarted largely by public sentiment. Yeah, people were angry, and that’s why they kept beheading “criminals”. I’m against the death penalty, because honestly, innocent people do get executed, and justice isn’t supposed to be based on pure emotion.
    That this took place at a sporting event makes sense to me. Mob emotions are strong and stupid. I feel like the biggest change now is that we know about it. A hundred years ago, and we wouldn’t have.
    That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all stand around and be appalled. Society improves when we hold ourselves to higher standards. I guess I endorse the sentiment, but not the conclusion. I would love to, but history is often a strange and ugly thing.

    • I think the harsh truth is we’re animals pretending we’re not animals, and we’ve been that for a long time.

      I think you’re right. I think we are animals. The veneer of being civilized is very thin. Doesn’t seem to take much to punch holes in it, strip it away.

      I just read another gruesome story, about a 19-year-old boy in Chili who was attacked by gay haters with machetes. His foot has been amputated. Now the doctors are saying they have to take the right leg.

      AND WHY?

      I simply do not understand it, how someone can hate someone else so much they’d attack them in the most brutal fashion. That boy will live with this his entire life, after already experiencing a lifetime of being different, of feeling “less than,” of internalizing all the bad shit that goes along with being gay.

      Those idiots who say gay is a choice? They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Why would anyone choose to walk that path?

      • I think this ties in nicely with your comment about people not feeling safe without a gazillion loaded guns around.
        Let’s pretend for 20 seconds being gay is a choice (it’s not). How does it affect these people’s lives? I’ve yet to hear a cogent argument against gay marriage. The reality is, it doesn’t affect anyone except the people getting their panties in a knot.
        This brings us back to gun nuts. People are dumb. Like, intelligent as individuals, in different ways, but with societal mores, ethnocentrism, being human, etc. bearing down on them, dumb.

        • A lot of this bigotry is based in religion, which I find amazing because doesn’t religion teach turning the other cheek and putting kindness out there? Instead we’re getting a lot of loud, uneducated, virulent assholes trying to tell everyone how to live their lives when they can barely manage their own.

          I don’t understand the “gay hysteria” either. What LGBT people do doesn’t affect them directly. If they’d just carry on with their lives, everything would be fine. Instead, they stick their politics and beliefs in everyone else’s business. It’s really wearing thin.

  5. diannegray says:

    There are appalling things happening all over the world at the moment, but it’s no different than any other time in history, Theo. We’re just more aware of it because the dead-head TV executives decide that we should sensationalize every horrible thing. I know it’s disgusting what happened in Brazil and Chili, but for those horrific things there were probably a million beautiful things that happened across the world. I’m not trying to sound airy-fairy or take away from the horror of these two incidents, but news broadcasts are more about catching and keeping our attention than reporting what’s really happening. News is becoming a spectator sport and as antoinettemsmut said, “The lynchings of the south were an ugly thing, but even uglier was the spectacle of it”. Now we’re faced with the problem of people watching these things and becoming desensitized to violence and (worse still) copy-cats so they can get their ugly mugs on TV. Anyway I’m rambling on – I think those people were rude for not thanking you regarding their truck. …and I’m glad you’re okay…

    • I spent many years not watching the news, and I believe I was happier for it. In some ways, ignorance really is bliss.

      I still don’t watch the news, but I’m on G+, which is full of people happy to report it. I am now fully aware of what’s happening and where, and I am no longer happy. I’m upset, I’m pissed off, I’m incredulous.

      Studies have been done that reveal people really are happier if they don’t watch the news. They’re less nervous, less paranoid, more trusting.

      I’m considering returning to a state of “news ignorance.”

  6. Valerie says:

    I haven’t watched the news or read a newspaper in years and I know I am happier for it. Most people are more then happy to tell you all the horrible things humans do to each other anyway…..and I know there are people out there who don’t understand how anyone lives under the premise that “ignorance is bliss”…..they seem to find it insulting that I don’t want to know all the bad stuff, because how can you change the world if you don’t know? But you can’t change the world anyway and the bad stuff already happened and if I listen or read the news I get overwhelmed, frustrated, angry and unhappy. I just figure if I don’t shoot the asshole who just cut me off on the highway or slap my coworker upside the head for being stupid again I am doing good…….

    • Yup. Pretty much how I felt.

      Now that I’m following the news again, I get pissed off, upset, and worried about all the horrors in the world. How healthy can that be?

      • It’s not healthy at all. And carrying that anger around just hurts the bearer, and doesn’t do anything to change matters in the world. I scan the paper for death notices/obituaries just so that I don’t run into friends at the grocery store and ask about their mother, who, because I didn’t see the paper, I didn’t know had died last week. Not following the news also leaves me in a much better space to share positive energy, which, I feel, is more likely to benefit my friends, neighbors, and by extension, the rest of the world.

        • Good attitude! Lately, I’m really starting to think I need to back off social media a bit. I’m hearing too much that I internalize, and that adversely affects the way I look at the world. So many awful things are always happening!

  7. Valerie says:

    So not healthy….I don’t understand how people can read newspapers or watch the news daily and still be healthy. I had a coworker who did both and as soon as I walked into the room at work I felt bludgeoned by everything bad in the world that she just HAD to share. I got depressed just knowing I had to change shifts with her.

  8. Valerie says:

    It didn’t make her any happier to “share it”….she was one of the angriest people I had ever met, sometimes I would just sit very quietly hoping she would forget I was there. Explosive describes her.

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