Violence, I think, is my greatest fear.  There is nothing at all that I like about it.

When I think of the power of my own punch, connecting with someone’s fragile face, I can only imagine its effect: broken bones, knocked out teeth.  When I imagine myself being hit in the face, and having my own bones broken and my own teeth knocked out, I can only imagine it to be horrible.  In the movies and on TV you see fight scenes every day.  It’s made to seem so trivial.  It’s insanity.

gun45The other day our neighbor invited Loveleen and I to a shooting range to fire his various guns.  We went for the experience.  I’ve shot BB guns before, but never anything real.  I was taken aback by the power of these guns.  We started with the .38s and 9 mm and moved to the .357 magnum, 45s, and rifles.  Holy crap.  How a person could ever hold one of these, aim it at another living being, and pull the trigger, just blows me away.  It’s violence on a whole other level.  The bullet blasts out with thunderous force at a lightning speed, blasting a hole into another person’s body.  Talk about insanity.

These days, people are sensitive to the lead in their paint or kid’s toys, etc.  Why shouldn’t they be?  Exposure can cause brain and blood disorders.  To add outrageous insult to radical injury, these unforgiving bullets are actually filled with lead!  How insane is this?  Before going to the range, I went to my local sports store, walked in, and bought a box of .38s and a box of .45s – just like that – as easy as buying chewing gum.

Sure, we had a lot of fun shooting the guns.  It was great.  But shooting at paper targets, and shooting at living things are very different matters.

Later that night, we went to Non-Stop Bhangra, one of San Francisco’s most happening dance events.  I don’t know if it was the gun firing or what, but that night, I felt particularly alpha.  On the dance floor, I had the thought that if ever I was to get into a fight, tonight would probably be the night.  Testosterone raging, I was feeling a lot more brazen and fearless than usual.

When we walked out of the club to leave, this guy gave Loveleen a lingering sleazy look and I stared him down as I sometimes do.  Generally, this is just a little game that goes on with guys.  Never before has it led to anything.  This night, however, was an exception.  I’m not sure if my look was a little more threatening than usual or just a case of bad timing, but the guy’s friend saw it and called me on it.  In a matter of seconds, three or four buddies were all ganging up for a fight.  This was not something new to these guys and they weren’t kidding around.  I sized up the situation.

In my life, I’ve been in fight scenarios on several occasions.  I’ve always drawn the same conclusion that there is no way to win.  If I win the fight, I do so by hurting another person.  To me, this is a loss.  If I lose the fight, I get hurt.  This is also a loss.  So a fight is a complete lose-lose.  There’s nothing at all to gain.  So I find these situations awkward because the only solution is to get out of it, which can appear weak, but so be it.

grenadeSo I walked away.  Loveleen and I walked to the car and the guys crossed the street following.  One of them opened my car door.  I closed it.  He opened it again, at which point Loveleen couldn’t believe the audacity of these fuckers and got out of the car and started barking at them like a vicious Chihuahua.  It was pretty cool to see the fight in her, but at the same time, though guys won’t usually touch a female, I couldn’t leave this up to chance, so I got out of the car to defend her.  The bouncer and others ran across the street when they saw the situation inflame and nothing happened, though it was a crazy little flare up that escalated from nothing to potentially much almost instantly.

Who knows what could have happened (to them of course).  You never know; they may have even pulled out a weapon.  I wouldn’t be surprised.  It’s amazing how stupid people can be.

I realized later my mistake.  It’s not that I backed down like many people might conclude.  It’s that I reduced the first guy to his sleazy stare, instead of seeing him as a good person with sleaze issues.  Had I connected with the good in him, the flare up never would have happened.  My bad.