Being Involved in the World

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Imported, Mar 7, 2004.

  1. Imported

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    Doubtless_Mouse: Something happened today that makes me wonder if something I did was good enough. As most of you know by reading my postings, I live in Japan. Well, today my family and I went shopping for an outfit for my wife (she is going to a friends wedding). Anyway, after we had spent the day shopping, we decided to grab a bite to eat in the mall we were at. We sat down and at a table behind us, a middle aged man started yelling at an older man. Then the younger (40ish) guy started kicking the older guy (50ish). Everybody is looking on in shock and horror as the younger guy then pyshically grabs the older guy and throws him to the ground. Nobody is doing anything not even me. When the younger guy elevated his level of violense my 2 1/2 year old daughter screamed and started crying. I jumped up and broke the fight up and explained to the younger one that he was upsetting my children. He looked at me for a minute then backed down and went back to his table and left the old man alone (I am just at 6 ft tall and weight about 220, so I am fairly intimidating to most Japanese people).

    So far it sounds like a good samaritain thing huh? The only thing that bothers me now is I wonder what I would have done had my daughter not been upset. Would I have sat there like a sheep watching like the rest of the people in the cafeteria? Would I have still intervened on behalf of the older man? I don't think so. And that is what is bothering me. I stopped the voilence because it distressed my daughter, not because I was concerned about some stranger. I wasn't afraid for myself, as I study martial arts I wasn't worried that I would get a beating, shit I teach cops self-defense techniques, so it wasn't an issue of fear. Instead, I really think I didn't want to be bothered by it. Many times in the US you hear of people being raped, murdered, beatedn etc while others watch and do nothing. Is this the world we live in today? Should we be more involved? Give me your thoughts if you don't mind. Voilence in Japan in not very common, at least not at a public place like a mall. The old man turned out to be ok, but that isn't the point is it? Should I have stepped up sooner to stop something like this? What would most people do (in Japan it is obvious that most would do nothing as no one tried to stop this until I stood up and started speaking to the younger guy, a few Japanese men stood up after I did and walked over to the scene but none of them got involved). Anyway just wondering if I should have done something sooner. Again, your thougths are welcome and encouraged.

    Mouse
     
  2. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
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    Congratulations, Mouse, you've learned a valuable lesson that most of us never get the chance to experience: that of the Samaritan. Granted, you didn't take action until your daughter became involved, but don't sell yourself short - you may very well have intervened anyway.

    The lesson you've learned is that you can become involved in the world around you. You can make a difference. It just takes the willingness to participate.

    Even the original Samaritan of biblical legend probably had concerns about what he did to help (Did I do the right thing? Did I do enough to help? Should I have stayed with him instead of leaving him with the innkeeper?)

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Mouse. Maybe it will make more of us act the next time we are confronted with such a challenge.

    Then, perhaps, we will be heroes like you surely are in the eyes of your daughter and wife.
     
  3. Imported

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    Doubtless_Mouse: For a Pecker you say the nicest things... :D. I appreciate the comments. I am one of those lucky people that has to take the high road through life. It is funny my wife and I were discussing the other day that nothing is ever easy when I am involved. Anyway apprciate the comments.

    Mouse
     
  4. Imported

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    Javierdude22: Yeah this is a grave discussion in Holland as well.

    Lately the country has been shocked by several, and I do mean several, severe public beatings.

    The things is, that man y of the times people stepped in, they got killed. Killed. The person initially harassed walks away with bruises, the pèrson that stepped in got killed. And we have about a dozen of these examples now.

    So now, hardly anyone dares to do anything when they see something happen. WE actually had a campaign that said that if you are scared to step in, try to punch three times (they meant dial 112, the European 911).

    But oftentimes that will be too late ya know. It sucks.
     
  5. Imported

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    grantstephens: I don't think you should question yourself so mouse. Many times when a confrontation happens, it excalates so fast that we barely have time to think and make rational choices.

    When I was in Rome about 10 years ago, an older man on a wheelchair was knocked over by a younger man on a bike. It was the bikers fault. Instead of the young man helping up the older man, he bent over and started yelling at him and all the while the older man was yelling back. Being a young strapping lad back then (6 feet and about 210 lean and strong then), I decided to kick the young guys butt, however right before I showed up on the scene, the young man helped the old guy back on his chair, they shook hands Italian style, laughed and went their separate ways. Just letting off steam? Maybe they knew eachother? Anyways, what if I did get involved sooner, I may have prevented the younger man from assisting the older guy.

    No moral here, just a similar situation that ended differently.
     
  6. jay_too

    jay_too New Member

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    Doubtless..

    Perhaps, I am hijacking your topic or turning the discussion in a different direction.

    For the past week or so, I have been temporarily helping in a morning preschool and an afterschool program while a friend completes exams. As an undergraduate, I helped out in this program and know the people. No big deal until Thursday, all the children, the three-year olds and the those nine and ten, were frightened by the stories coming out of Madrid.

    My response was to make sure they got their minds off off the bombings for a couple of hours. So with the young ones, I told stories, and we pantomined stories from the books we had read over the past few days. With the older ones, there was no help with homework but games and basketball. It worked; they did not think of the pictures on tv for a couple of hours.

    Thursday night at the gym, I asked a retired minister what I should do tomorrow. After a long chat I finally got it in my head that they did not need avoidance but expressions/recognition of fear and anxiety. He suggested that I get them to draw pictures of whatever they want and then explain what the drawings mean.

    For both groups, I followed his suggestions. I gave them about 15 minutes to draw something (or they were finished by that time). The three-year-old boys tended to draw explosions and fire. Their fears were that their parents were in the middle of the fire. One little girl put a tiny figure in the middle of a blank page; her explanation was "My parents take the train every day. One day I will be all alone."

    One of the 10-year olds drew a stick figure behind bars. Crime and punishment? No. "When they kill my grandmother, they will put me in juvey." Another had a face with tears in an attic window: "I'll have to go back into foster care." A couple drew stick corpses and said that they hope that all their family died together. Another drew seven figures facing the other direction; this was her family going back to Mexico.

    With both groups I tried to minimize the risk by pointing out how far away Spain was, that we had firemen and police who would help us, and that in times of crisis there were always brave and good people who would help us. The thing about bravery worked best with the 9 and 10-year-old boys.

    Many of the children are being raised by grandparents, and all are at the low end of the economic scale. They know from first-hand experience how a blip in life can bring upset to a family living on the edge.

    While Americans know the pain that Spain feels, we have segments here that have been terrorized.

    jay
     
  7. Imported

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    ORCABOMBER: Mouse, Jay, I think you both show examples of what we're lacking in the world, and that's a sense of help for the common man, I know I couldn't help, I've been in situations that could possibly have been violent, if I'd actually been around to see it.

    It's what I get going to a job centre in a crappy area in London, where people make a fuss their benefits aren't going to help them live the life they expected.

    But I don't intervene, I don't feel a hero, maybe I'm a coward, but I don't see myself as that, probably worse.

    I'm not particularly strong, fast, quick-thinking and bravery though violence is a one-way-trip-to-heaven.

    In the grand scheme of things, I tend to back out of such issues and let the profesionals (or more profesional than I) sort these things out, my unput doesn't matter, as with most things.

    Which is why I admire your bravery and fortitude, you've got heart, that's for sure.
     
  8. Imported

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    Doubtless_Mouse: Orca - don't worry or beat your self up because you don't do something. If I had been in a situation where I had to fear for my physical safety not sure I would have done the same thing. In my situation, my safety wasn't an issue. As I mentioned, I study martial arts, I was pysically mush larger (and pretty sure stronger) than the Japanese man in question. If it had resorted to physical action I would have been Ok. Unlike the states, Japan has very strict gun rules so I wasn't worried about someone pulling a gun or a knife on me (balances out the size and martial arts stuff pretty quickly).

    What is/was bothering me was that it took me so long to act. I knew what was happening but didn't do anything until it interfered with my life. It weighs heavily on me because all through my early childhood, my grandfather instilled in us the idea of good citizenship. As children we won awards at school because of our good citizenship. But by not doing anything until it effected my family it makes me wonders how much of that I retained. I joined the Marine Corps out of high school so that I could help defend the consitution of the United States but more so, so I could help defend those who were unable to defend themselves. It may sound altruistic, but I truely believe that is part of what the military is there for, to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. Our children could never prevent some of the autrocities our world has seen, but by doing my time in the Corps, I feel I was able to make the world a little better. Did I win any awards for bravery or valor during my time in the Corps? No I did not. But I know that by doing my job I helped some people. During my time in the military, we liberated Saudi Arabia. We helped people in Somolia, we helped people around the world, and that is what we there for. Yet in this incedent, I waited until I directly effected me...Still not happy with what happened and what I did. All i can do is think to the next time I can help someone and make sure I help them because they need or deserve my help and not because it affected me.

    Not saying that I will jump into every fight I see, we can help those around us in many ways (I never saw combat during my time in the Corps). Instead of always being a body guard we can do like Jay did and help in many ways.

    "Give a man a fish and he will eat for day, Force his neighbors to share their fish and he will eat until you leave, help him and his neighbors come to a mutual agreement that is benificial to both and he will never have to worry about where his meal comes from again"

    Mouse
     
  9. Imported

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    ORCABOMBER: Thanks Mouse, you really are a special person, I think I understand what you mean, there was a time me and my friend were in trouble from a bunch of 15 year olds on a bus, and I still feel angry, because I didn't help him more than I did.

    It's about loyalty and responsibility isn't it? A sense that we should be upright and on "the good guys" side.
     
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