Half Empty, Since 1998

I Saw A Boy Get His Face Smashed In With A Pipe

James Paterson. April 6th, 1998

All of the following happened in about thirty seconds.

I was walking away from my school, up a familiar street, and I saw a single Latino boy around my age quarreling with four Chinese kids. They were performing the usual rights of teenage aggression- getting in each other’s faces and challenging each other. The single boy seemed very calm and confident; he wasn’t scared in the least. I heard him inform the other kids that he would sick his boys on them if they fucked with him. I guess the team of four felt the need to assert themselves, because that was when the shit hit the fan. Fists flew and the Latino boy was really kicking everyone’s ass. I was thoroughly impressed at this display of movie like ass kicking. My amusement was short lived.

One of the Chinese kids pulled a pipe out of his jacket and smashed the Latino kid’s face in. The four kids went crazy on the boy while he was on the ground, kicking him in the chest, stomach and face. But when they saw the amount of blood that was coming out of his face, they booked. The Latino kid’s head had a deep cut going from about two inches above his ear all the way down through his eyebrow. Blood poured out all over the street. It came out of his mouth. It came out of his nose. This kid was fucked up. I felt sick.

The sight of blood does not bother me. What nauseated me was that the other kids ran away laughing and yelling, with smiles on their faces. I honestly at that moment wanted all four of them to die … I could feel the humiliation oozing out of every pore in the Latino kid’s body. He had been fuckin’ violated and that feeling of total degradation hit me like a brick. Everyone on the street was staring at him, and the nearby girls were screaming in disgust. He staggered to his feet and held his sleeve against the cut. He looked around at the crowd in a daze, his eyes passing over all the onlookers. He was crying. I felt like I was him, I felt like crying too.

This humiliated, blood drenched shell of a kid stumbled away from the scene towards the school and presumably the infirmary. I can’t get the picture out of my head. Four human beings running gleefully away from the scene of horror that they had just freshly created. I feel ashamed to be part of the same species.

This isn’t an action story, or a sob story. The point is not how horrible those four kids are; the point is about making decisions that will keep you alive in this fucked up world. The kid who got beaten held his own fate in his hand. He took his fate and gave it to the other kids by provoking them. I am edging closer and closer every day to becoming a total pacifist, if only because in this day and age there is no such thing as honor and fairness.

The only true form of self defense is self respect. If you are proud enough to walk away from the face of ridicule, in my eyes you are the strong one. Each and every one of us has to tone down our aggression if we are to live in such close quarters.

City life is biologically autodestructive. If you pack a cage full of rats, they will tear each other to pieces.