It was my day off yesterday. First I went about 80 miles one way to a rehab to give sacraments to a parishioner. Then on my way back to highway 74/40 just off parallel 19/23 East of Canton (coming from the far road next to the Exxon), I stopped to the side of the entrance to the eastward on-ramp to see if this damsel in distress needed some timely assistance. I had seen him wildly slugging at her as I came around the corner. She had her hands up in a defensive position. I think he did make contact with her forearms.
In the picture above from the rear-window digital recorder, you can see him rolling up his sleeve to get in some better slugging with his arm and fist ready for action, walking toward her. You can see her quickly backing away again with hands up in a defensive position. The white truck to your left had stopped. He kept honking his air horns at the aggressor and just let traffic pile up behind him. Another car had stopped on the ramp just ahead of me as well. It was quite the wild scene.
I tried to call 911 dispatch. The phone got the signal but 911 was not to be had:
” ♮ ♪ beep ♮ ♪ Beep ♮ ♪ BEEP: This number has been disconnected or is no longer in service. If you think you have received this recording in error, please try your number again.”
I tried again. Once again, the same recording played. Perhaps that happens when a number is overwhelmed with calls. I’m guessing that’s the case here. But I didn’t know that. As far as I knew, I was on my own unless the trucker and the other guy would come to my assistance if need be. They were watching inside their vehicles to see what would happen next.
Here she is bawling her eyes out walking away from him. Or is she cradling facial injuries? Or both? He hesitated, but is now chasing after her.
In just another moment a couple of firemen in a red pickup with roof lights showed up and firstly, smartly, did a perimeter check. “You O.K.?” they asked me, seeing if they could find out if I had any connection with these two. I told them I was trying to call 911 but couldn’t get through. They said they had been watching this scene unfold as well. I think they then used their radio to get another fireman in a more official vehicle with an array of white and red lights flashing to come. They then ran away, well, perhaps they were going to another call. The other vehicle did come all lit up. Then two law enforcement cruisers with lights flashing and sirens blaring showed up. So, O.K.
For myself, I had been standing next to my car, making it obvious that I was a witness and was getting pictures on my phone. He was not impressed. He was only three lanes away (just over ten yards or so) and I’m sure deciding whether he should rush me or not, just a few second sprint. Staring me down, he then turned to his car and looked like he was madly searching for something in his car, rifling through a mountain of rubbish. A gun? Dunno.
But this was my way of attempting deescalation. And it did work.
After this, he just argued with her, really ferociously, and chased her repeatedly, but I didn’t see any more wild swinging with fists that would have made any connection. You have to know that not all people taking pictures are simply letting bad stuff happen, or getting pictures for social media. Sometimes they are. But sometimes this is done as an indirect threat with the aim of deescalation. I mean, pictures can be used to help throw this guy into prison for years, right? Criminals know that and sometimes back down. Sometimes not, but it’s worth a try. Deescalation is important, necessary when possible. It was possible in this instance.
For the record, I never brandished. I never open-carried. But – I will be honest about this – I was happy to have my Glock 19 with me. And – I will be honest about this – if he had smacked her to the ground and started smashing the life out of her, or started to rape her in front of God and everyone (some people are just that arrogant), I would have done something about it, not hesitating to save her life by stopping the threat against her, he being much, much stronger than her. Bullies like this, by the way, are always cowards. They will almost always back down from someone at least as capable as them.
Some are saying, I’m sure: “Priests should just be nice! Don’t be such a meanie!”
No. Not nice. Priests should act in God’s own charity. Deus caritas est.
Meanwhile, I recommend to women in an abusive relationship, ditch the cosmetic cover-up of wounds and black-eyes. Just get out. Do it. And don’t go back. You will die if you go back. That’s how it works. It’s a progression. Get out and stay out.