Striking at the heart of hate

There are many stress based situations one can find oneself in. As we grow up we may have to deal with a lot of what I call ‘violent noise’, for example: the possibility of being bullied. Relationships can initially appear to be solid but can also crumble at the introduction of a feather-like subject. Crossing the road can be considered as a moral decision. Stress based situations can be worsened by life-threatening scenarios. I use the word scenario in the context of considering consequences of decisions.

The other day I was on an over-ground train platform. It was approximately 3.19pm and my train was due at 3.27pm. I’d returned to near the top of a set of rather steep stairs. Looking out across the display board, it announced an on time arrival and its many stops on route. I stood and contemplated random thoughts and ideas while I waited.

My peace was soon disturbed by the brashness of a clank. It had a repetitive nature and was getting louder. I soon located the sound and could see that it was coming from the bottom of the stairs. Plodding rather heavily I could see a man with wavy blonde and grey hair. His face was tanned but it had a mean harshness to it, almost as if he had just emerged from a violent struggle or fight. His eyes were piercing as he gazed up at me, situated at the top of his target location. The sound had been caused by the force he used to bash a thick twelve inch stick/branch against the metal staircase railing. Each separate slam was approximately 10inches apart, coincidently matching the pace and depth of each step. He continued to stare in my direction; his eyes appeared not to flicker. Within a few seconds he’d now reached half way up the stairs. His pace was still steady and the furiousness of his slamming motion was undeterred. I tried to read his face with my face showing no emotion or reaction. His face fed back a sense of blankness. He appeared to be lost to the world with only one thought – a strike of hate.

A debate in my mind then raged. Shall I move my hand or left him strike it? Would the strike on my hand cause a shriek of intenseness that would leave me unable to respond? Alternatively, I could move my hand away in an expression and concession of pity. I decided on the latter as ration appeared to be absent on the other party. Even though the platform wasn’t empty I still considered that no one would either be close enough or want to get close to help.

When eventually he came right up next to me on the platform, he slammed the stick very close to where my hand would have been hadn’t I removed it just seconds before. He saw his train the 3.21pm come in. Quickening his pace he climbed aboard as the doors quickly shunted backwards and forwards in a Star Trek-like motion. As the train moved out of the station he remained standing close to the door windows. Then using a two fingered projection proceeded to insult me from within his moving cocoon. My retaliation was a victory sign wishing him peace of mind.

I wanted to share this episode with you because there is something fundamental being demonstrated. It shows that although a decision was made not to provoke or invite his hate and if he had really been motivated, like so many other attackers, he could have inflicted a variety of tactics – The result was that no one was harmed. By chance my assessment or judgement was to ignore his potential violence on this occasion helped.However, what we don’t want is for people to get away with such behaviour. We need to be sure that administration of justice can prevail. I could have moved closer to a guard or reported him. Alternatively I could have ignored him and moved away earlier. Our victory against any possible hate attack can be through education but when that fails we need to be clear about our position in a situation, clearly documenting each event. Unprovoked attacks with no one watching can leave courts to imagine what really happened.Defending your dignity if it is under threat is essential. Projecting peace first may help to diffuse a situation. Unfortunately, self realisation of an attacker is often missing leaving you to make a judgement call on striking back at the particular flavour of hate presented.

Categories: 2004

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