Threatened on the bus

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Michelle
Threatened on the bus

 

Michelle

So tonight I was on the bus, coming home from work, sitting in a window seat near the back door, when an older man carrying groceries got onto the bus – he was walking slowly, perhaps with a bit of difficulty. He walked towards the seats past the back door, and when he passed the man sitting behind me on the aisle seat, I heard the older man say “Excuse me.” The man sitting behind me started yelling at the guy, telling him to watch where he was “fucking going” because the older man apparently bumped into him accidentally (I didn’t see that, but that’s what the swearing guy was saying.) The man threatened the older guy, telling him that he’ll hit him next time (I forget the exact word he used) if he’s not careful. The older guy told him in a calm and reasonable tone of voice, “No, you won’t, you can’t do that.” The other man got angry and kept threatening him in a loud voice that he would, and that the older guy would see. Then he called the older man a “stupid nigger”.

People stared at him and the black woman sitting next to me looked offended, and I saw the two black women sitting in the seats in front of me sit up and stiffen their spines slightly. The man kept talking angrily in a loud voice, even though a few of us turned around and gave him dirty looks for being racist and threatening the old man.

Then someone got off at the next stop, and said something derogatory to the guy on his way down the stairs and out the door. (I didn’t hear what the guy leaving the bus said to the man, but it was just something quick.) The man behind me started yelling obscenities and more threats saying, “I’ll fucking shoot you!” although the guy was out of the bus. I was starting to get really nervous at how abusive this guy was getting, because it was escalating.

The bus driver stopped the bus, stood up, and asked if everything was okay. I thought, well, now or never, this guy is freaking me out. I called back, “No, everything isn’t okay. This man is being abusive, and I would like him to leave the bus.” The guy behind me said, “He fucking hit me,” and told me to shut up.

The bus driver looked undecided and I asked if he would come back and deal with it, but the driver said, “I’ll call security.” Then a lot of people on the bus said, “Oh no,” (probably because they knew that would mean a delay waiting for them to arrive, and I didn't want to wait either, actually). But the man stood up, glaring at me, and started walking to the front of the bus. When he passed me, he pointed at me and said, “I’ll be seeing YOU around.” I felt threatened because his meaning was clear, and I was shaking slightly. But I didn’t want to show fear, so I just said quietly, “Whatever,” and looked away. He said something like, “Yeah, you’ll see.”

Then he went to the front of the bus, and talked to the bus driver, and the driver let him stay on the bus, standing at the front. Which was scary for me, because I didn’t want him to see where I was getting off the bus since I was actually on my street and would be getting off one stop before where I live. And I couldn’t get off early or go past my stop because I had to pick my son up at his day camp which is just one bus stop away from my home, and I couldn’t be late.

The man was still on the bus when I got off. I’m hoping that since the bus was crowded and he was at the front and I was at the back door, that he didn’t notice when I got off, but I can’t be sure that he didn’t, and now I’m nervous – he seemed pretty violent with all the threats he was making against two others and then against me.

I remember what the guy looks like. And I’m pretty nervous because I take this route regularly since it's on my street, and I’m afraid that if he sees me again off of the bus, that he’ll follow through on his threat. I was still feeling shaky when I was picking up my son and then walking home with him, even though that guy seemed not to be getting off near my place (he was telling someone on his cell phone that he'd "be there in 20 minutes" when we were near my stop).

I wasn't sure whether to report it to the police or not. But I decided that I guess I'd better. I know the police won't be able to find him or do anything about it (and it would be pretty low priority anyhow), but at least they'll have the report if this guy sees me again and tries to follow through.

kegbot

I don't know about the law in Canada, but down here that's a threat communicated in a clear and decisive tone in front of witnesses. absolutely call the police and give them your best description, the bus number date and time. This guy sounds dangerous enough to make those kinds of threats among many witnesses. Is mace or pepper spray legal in Toronto? If so, would you consider carrying either if they made you feel a safer?

Also, could anyone on the bus have called police from their cel without bothering for TTC security?

Michelle, my hat is off to you. No one probably would have said anything if you didn't. At least this racist punk knows someone stood up to him.

Did this guy look as scary as he sounded?

Take care of yourself and be aware of your surroundings. Probably nothing will happen but better safe.

kuri

That's really scary, Michelle. [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img] I don't know what I'd do. And I can't believe that guy wasn't kicked off the bus. I know I've seen people kicked off the bus for much less than that in Vancouver. It's so awful that threatening behaviour like that has an effect that lasts much longer than the duration of when its happening. I can only think of one instance where I've felt threatened to that extent on transit (although the threat was more subtle in my story) but the fear didn't linger as long because it was when I was travelling, so of course I could leave it behind. I certainly hope this passes. [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]

Fitz

You should have gotten the driver's badge number or (failing that) the bus number and reported him to the transit authority. The yahoo had no business being allowed to stay on the bus and cow people and the driver was negligent in carrying out his responsibilities.

Also, I'd be pretty sure that the yahoo could've been hauled away by the cops for the threats. Keep an eye out for the twit and if he shows up, call 911 pronto, with or without additional threats!

[ 18 August 2005: Message edited by: Fitz ]

Yukoner

Very scary Michelle.

Ya know, I was witness to a similar thing on TTC years ago. I was traveling alone toward the beaches on a bus or streetcar when a man started becoming verbally abusive to two women riders. At first I thought it was some sort of domestic thing but it became apparent he had just singled these two out simply because they were there. The girl who tried to defend herself ended up getting the worst of it. Things quickly escalated from him calling her a fat bitch to him getting up from his seat to physically confront her.

Another guy sitting at the back of the bus and I made eye contact and moved into stop him from assaulting her. A few punches were thrown and we got him pinned into the seat....he put up quite a fight and there was no way one of us could have held him down he was so mad or possibly jacked up on something. The driver at this point hit some sort of panic button, stopped the bus and exited the vehicle. The police were on scene quickly and arrested him. It turned out that I had broken his arm while I had held him into the seat also the other guy had given him a few extra pokes to the face each time he had tried to overpower us.

As he was being dragged away, he told me the same thing: 'I never forget a face....blah blah blah....' I was pretty scared that I'd run into him one day but never did.

One cop actually told us we had administered better justice than the system would ever be able to.

Hinterland

Complain to the TTC as well, Michelle. The bus driver made the wrong decision.

quote:

No one probably would have said anything if you didn't. At least this racist punk knows someone stood up to him.

I've seen similar things on the TTC. One of the reasons I still have faith in it is that I've seen (twice) passengers revolt to get the miscreant off the vehicle. I do remember the subway revolt of 1995 that I participated in, when a whole car of people threatened an asshole to exit the car, or have the train wait until the police came.

Sara Mayo

Good on you Michelle for the way you handled this incident. You should definitely call the police to make a report. But don't call 911 that's strictly for emergencies. The number for non-emergencies in TO is 416-808-2222.

This guy should have definitely be kicked off the bus, however, I do sympathise with the bus driver. He may also have felt threatened and it's not his job to be one-man security force. Calling security is the only solution, as he may have put himself in danger if he tried to kick the guy off.

What I am also pissed off about in your story (apart from the racists jerk) is that the old man with the groceries had to walk all the way to the back of the bus to get a seat. He must have passed twenty other passengers who were sitting, could none of them have offered him their seat?

[ 18 August 2005: Message edited by: Sara Mayo ]

[ 18 August 2005: Message edited by: Sara Mayo ]

Michelle

Well, but I didn't blame the bus driver because he didn't hear what happened. And he was going to call security until everyone groaned and the guy walked to the front of the bus. The driver didn't hear the guy threaten me, I don't think.

The guy went to the front and made excuses to the bus driver and passed himself off as calmed down. I was too scared to go to the front because I didn't know what the guy would do, especially after threatening me, so I didn't speak up any further, and I also didn't want everyone on the bus to be pissed at me for holding up the bus. Besides, I was feeling a bit of aftershock from calling across a crowded bus like that. And I also couldn't afford to be late - I had to get to the day camp by 6, and it was getting close to that.

If I'd gone to the front and told the driver that the guy was threatening people and being racist, and that I was scared of the guy knowing where I get off the bus, then I would think the driver would have told him to get off. But I'd have to have told the driver in front of the guy, and I'd be damned if I'd show that asshole that I was scared.

Michelle

About the offering of a seat - I wondered the same thing about all the people ahead of me as the guy was walking on the bus. I wasn't sure if the older man was actually having a problem walking, or whether it was just that he was waddling (he was quite large) and was carrying awkward packages. There were lots of people standing, and I was sitting on the inside on a window seat, so when he passed my seat, there were people standing between him and my seatmate. But yeah, I was annoyed too that no one had offered their seat to him. Including the asshole who threatened him.

I did call the police when I got home. They put me through to communications and said to keep my line free for the next hour so that a police officer could get through to call me back and take my statement. That was over an hour and a half ago. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] Understandable - she wouldn't let me tell her what led up to what the guy said to me, so it probably sounded pretty lame when I told her "the nature of the threat" and what the guy said. "Um, he said he'd be seeing me around." So it's probably pretty low priority.

I didn't record the bus number (stupid me), and I got off the bus at the back so I didn't get the driver's number either - I couldn't see the bus number over everyone's heads, and I was afraid to go to the front. I didn't think to look once I got off because I was intently watching the doors to make sure the guy wasn't getting off at the same stop. But I remember the exact time it stopped where it picked me up, and almost the exact time when it dropped me off. Of course, on my route, that doesn't matter since the buses are never reliable or on time.

Sara Mayo

quote:


The bus driver made the wrong decision.

I disagree. Looking at some [url=http://www.toronto.ca/ttc/safety.htm]basic security info on the TTC site[/url], it's clear the the role of the TTC drivers is to report crime and alert security, which is what he did/

quote:

All TTC employees are Transit Community Watchers. They contribute to safety and security on the transit system and in the community by reporting such things as personal safety incidents, accidents or fires.
...
All TTC buses and streetcars are equipped with a special communication system. In an emergency, drivers can call for help. They can also turn on an alarm to attract the attention of police or passersby. A bus driver can turn on flashing lights on the outside of the vehicle.

It's not the job of transit drivers to enforce the criminal code (which this guy was breaking) and we should expect them to, as a) they don't have the power to (unlike TTC constables) b) they don't have the training c) they can't drive the bus and take care of security at the same time.

What the bus driver did was exectly what he should have. And I'm not sure the crowd should have been worried about a delay, as I'd bet the policies are for the driver to alert security and continue on his route so as to not cause a further confrontation amongst the passengers. He doesn't need to stop while waiting for security - they can come and meet him at a further stop.

If I were you Michelle I would call hte TTC and ask to make a rerpot about the incident to a TTC constable. They probably came on the bus after you left and your eye witness account would be very useful to them.

Michelle

quote:


I disagree. Looking at some basic security info on the TTC site, it's clear the the role of the TTC drivers is to report crime and alert security, which is what he did/

Actually, he didn't. When everyone groaned at the thought of the bus being delayed and the guy walked to the front and talked to the driver, the driver let him stay on the bus and didn't call security.

But, to be fair, I didn't speak up any further, either, so the bus driver didn't hear what the guy actually did.

Sara Mayo

When they call back Michelle, definetely make sure you tell them he threatened to shoot another passenger. That's not a low priority for them, especially not these days!

Hinterland

quote:


I disagree. Looking at some basic security info on the TTC site, it's clear the the role of the TTC drivers is to report crime and alert security, which is what he did.

But he didn't. And that's why I disagreed, Sara. I don't think the TTC should take this kind of thing lightly. The last thing we should want is that people stop taking public transport because they don't think it's safe.

Sara Mayo

quote:


the driver let him stay on the bus and didn't call security.

I'm being totally nitpicky about this, but how can you be sure he didn't call security? It may be as simple as pushing a button to communicate to dispatch to send officers. I.e. he could have done it without using the phone system, and letting the idiot think that security wasn't on its way. And like I said, it's not the bus driver's job to get this guy off the bus - calling security is his only option. Given this guy's behaviour, how do you think he would have reacted if the driver tired to kick him off?

Either way, a call to TTC won't hurt!

Michelle

The truth is, I was almost relieved when the driver DIDN'T stop the bus and wait for security, because I felt like the rest of the passengers would have been really peeved at me about it.

I know, it's stupid for me to care about that, but I was feeling pretty freaked out at having spoken out like that on a bus filled to overflowing with passengers in the first place. And probably there were other people who, like me, were racing against the clock to get their kids from day care.

Sara, the reason I think he didn't call security is because the guy was at the front of the bus talking to the driver in kind of a "chummy" way and telling his side of it, and the driver didn't hear what had happened, he only heard a commotion. And the guy was free to get off the bus at any time.

But you're right, I can't be sure.

[ 18 August 2005: Message edited by: Michelle ]

Hinterland

quote:


The truth is, I was almost relieved when the driver DIDN'T stop the bus and wait for security, because I felt like the rest of the passengers would have been really peeved at me about it.

To each is own, I guess. In the town I grew up, on the bus one time, I remember an old woman, faced with two punks who were annoying her and waving a vile of hash oil in front of her, grabbing the vile and crushing it under her foot. Had the punks made any other move, the whole bus would have rebelled. Then the bus driver kicked them off, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of winter.

[ 18 August 2005: Message edited by: Hinterland ]

Vansterdam Kid

How frequent are the buses on that line though? If they're frequently late, but relatively infrequent (and I know this might seem dumb cause it's during a peak time in Toronto), then just telling them the time and place that you got on the bus and the time and place that you got off the bus should be good enough to find out which bus this incident took place on. Once I had to complain about a bus driver that was [i]extremely rude[/i] to me and some other people, after being [i]at least[/i] 20 minutes late (!), and I just told them that information and they said they'd take care of it. Now I doubt that they did anything serious to that bus driver, and my situation wasn't as serious as yours (cause there was no threats of violence involved) nonetheless the situation pissed me off (and it takes a lot to anger me to the point that I'll actually complain to the authorties about it).

Michelle

It's a frequent service route, but it's one of those ones where you get five buses in a row, and then none for 15 minutes.

chubbybear

Gee M, I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I've been jqcked by strangers once or twice because of unpleasant words being spoken, and I know how frightening it can be. Don't be afraid - he doesn't know you from the two hundred other people he's threatened in the past three weeks.

Michelle

Yeah, that's what I figure too. Although I may be one of the few people who has stood up to him. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

You know, I was thinking about it, and I think it is actually the fact that I'm a woman that made me feel confident enough to stand up to him. If I'd been a guy, I'd have been more afraid that it would start a real fight, but being a woman and being used to men not hitting women, it gives me this false sense of security that I can open my big mouth. But today was a bit of a shock after I did it and realized that I could have put myself into some danger if he'd gotten out where I did.

By the way, I waited and waited and waited for the cops to call me back tonight, and finally after two hours (they said they'd call within the hour), I ran the errand that I was planning to run tonight (today's the last day to buy cheaper tickets for the Exhibition and I want to take my son to it). So I finally left at 8 p.m. and took the munchkin out to get the tickets. I got back at 9:15, and sure enough, there was a voicemail waiting for me - they called at 8:04 p.m. Four minutes after I left!

Oh well. I'm supposed to call back tomorrow after 7 a.m.

Wilf Day

I hope the police have called you by now. I agree with all the suggestions made above on what you tell them, and to call the TTC too. The driver may have made a report of an incident during his run, even without calling security urgently at the time. Certainly the police have "incident reports" as well as "occurrance reports" (crimes) and I imagine the TTC do too.

What will the police do? That's the interesting question. It reminds me of what a youth court judge in Cobourg told me 10 years ago, after a judges' conference. He said the worst Cobourg kid he had ever sentenced would not be considered serious enough in Toronto to even bring to court, it would have been diverted into a warning-type diversion system. A totally different universe. In Port Hope our police would find your offender and charge him with serious offences for which he would likely see jail time. Will Toronto police even have time to try?

Michelle

Probably not. They won't even look for him, most likely. It's just not serious enough. If I see him again, though, or he approaches me, I could probably call 911, I suppose.

I'm not all that worried about it anymore. I was a bit shaken up afterwards, and when I started this thread, but I'm fine now, and not worried. If he were a real tough guy, he would have gotten off the bus and cleaned that guy's clock who insulted him while getting off. And he would have kept his eye on me to see exactly where I got off, which he didn't. I think he was probably all talk.

I took the same bus route tonight to go to a store to get the Exhibition tickets with my son. It didn't really faze me at all. I'm glad - for about half an hour after it happened, I was actually wondering whether I'd have to watch my back all the time. Now, I'm pretty much over it.

Sara Mayo

quote:


Certainly the police have "incident reports" as well as "occurrance reports" (crimes) and I imagine the TTC do too.

On the TTC website, they say the TTC constables work closely with the police and have to fill out police reports, so one would think there would be some connection made between the various reports.

quote:

What will the police do? That's the interesting question.

Also on their promotional materials, they say the TTC Constables do a lot of "intelligence gathering and follow-up investigations", so perhaps they'll give the bus drivers of that route the guy's description and ask them to call security if they spot him.

Am I too hopeful that they will prioritize this case and give it the full attention it deserves?

Wilf Day

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]I think he was probably all talk.[/b]

Any women's shelter crisis counsellor can tell you stories of dead women who said that about their abusive partners.

This guy has serious anger management issues:

1. started yelling at the guy, telling him to watch where he was “fucking going” because the older man apparently bumped into him accidentally

2. threatened the older guy, telling him that he’ll hit him next time (I forget the exact word he used) if he’s not careful.

3. got angry [angrier] and kept threatening him in a loud voice that he would, and that the older guy would see.

4. called the older man a “stupid nigger”.

5. kept talking angrily in a loud voice, even though a few of us turned around and gave him dirty looks for being racist and threatening the old man.

6. started yelling obscenities and more threats saying, “I’ll fucking shoot you!” although the guy was out of the bus.

7. said, “He fucking hit me,” and told me to shut up.

8. stood up, glaring at me, and started walking to the front of the bus. When he passed me, he pointed at me and said, “I’ll be seeing YOU around.” I felt threatened because his meaning was clear, and I was shaking slightly.

I'm glad you feel okay. But just because you're not letting him scare you doesn't mean he wasn't a real scary risk. You had reason to fear for your safety. If you tell the police you have no fear, you are not only minimizing, you are concealing a crime.

ephemeral

michelle, you were very brave yelling out to the front of the bus like that. i'm so proud of you.

i really think the bus driver should have handled the situation with greater concern. it's not enough to listen to just one side of the story. he should have asked the older gentleman if he had indeed hit the abusive fella like he claimed. the only benefit of a doubt i can give the driver is that he was scared too, and thought that things would be calmer for all the passengers if he didn't throw the agitator out of the bus. however, blaming the bus driver for not calling security or kicking him off the bus doesn't help in your instance because the angry guy was already furious with you before the driver even walked over to the back of the bus. i think that whatever course of action the bus driver had taken, the angry man would have been likely to threaten you, michelle.

and you know, he's obviously a coward. so the chances are very good that his threat was just an empty one. gosh, how do people like him get through life, eh? it must be lonely being so quick to anger and hating people so easily.

you're being realistic suspecting that this will be low priority for the police. although sara mayo's probably right that shooting threats are taken more seriously in toronto these days. i really think that for two weeks, (and i know it's such a drag!), you should have a companion travelling with you everywhere you go. preferably a stronger male - so your darling son doesn't count. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] ask a neighbour or a friend or a family member to walk you places and even ride transit with you. try not to take shortcuts, i.e., try to stay in very public areas where there are scores of people who will either jump to your aid if you need it, or be your witnesses, or even just scare somebody off just by being where they are.

do you remember what the guy looks like?

quote:

But, to be fair, I didn't speak up any further, either, so the bus driver didn't hear what the guy actually did.

to be fair, i think it is up to the driver to get to the bottom of whatever's going on in his bus. it's not your responsibility, and you very brave to do what you did. like i said before, the driver should have asked the older man, or other passengers, his/their side of the story.

quote:

The truth is, I was almost relieved when the driver DIDN'T stop the bus and wait for security, because I felt like the rest of the passengers would have been really peeved at me about it.
I know, it's stupid for me to care about that, but I was feeling pretty freaked out at having spoken out like that on a bus filled to overflowing with passengers in the first place.


i don't think it was stupid of you at all to care about something like that. that's even braver - willing to ride the bus with a maniac on board! i'm pretty sure that anybody on the bus with half a brain would have realized that any possible delays would have been the fault of the aggressor.

hope you sleep well tonight. hugs to you and your son.

Wilf Day

quote:


Originally posted by ephemeral:
[b]hope you sleep well tonight.[/b]

Indeed. But if you're still up, one more suggestion. You could help the overworked constable by having a written statement to hand to him, saving him the trouble of writing it out, and also making sure that it has all 8 points, not just the top two. Since you've already done that on this post, you need only edit and print it. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

Michelle

Actually, I wrote out the statement before I started this thread so I'd remember everything, and it has the exact details of where and when with a description of the guy in it. I edited my statement to fit this thread. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

I'll sleep just fine - as I said, I'm not scared any longer. Just shook me up at the time.

ephemeral, as for your suggestion that I have an escort for the next two weeks... [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] Well, that's not really possible. I don't have any family in the city, and I don't really know my neighbours. And I don't feel unsafe anyhow, so I can't see myself needing that. I was out walking tonight after dark with my son and didn't feel the least bit intimidated or nervous. I'm certainly not going to let that jerk make me start feeling that way now.

The TTC's hotline for reporting incidents is only open from 8-5, and the online forms are not appropriate (they're for complaints about the service or about individual drivers rather than security reports) so I'll just wait till tomorrow.

It's really great that you folks have all been so reassuring. It's strange how right after something like that happens, you have no idea whether it's something even serious enough to complain about, much less call the police about. I feel much better now, and more justified in doing what I did, both on the bus and afterwards.

Gir Draxon

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]ephemeral, as for your suggestion that I have an escort for the next two weeks... [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] [/b]

Oh, so that's why Heywood was heading east in full armour [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

skdadl

Michelle, that was such a good and brave thing to do, to speak up like that. I'm so sorry that you had to -- no one needs that kind of shock at the end of a working day, so I'm really hoping that the driver did at least file some kind of report about this eruption.

I'm kind of sorry to hear that the other passengers just groaned at the thought of a delay. I understand that reluctance to be delayed in one's progress, but sheesh! -- I'll bet the passengers sitting closest really wanted some protection too, and deserved it.

It would be the same bus at the same time today that I'd be most alert on. Does the jerk travel that route regularly as you do?

I'm really hoping the guy is all talk, pure bully, but all the experienced advice above is good stuff. You're probably going to be a bit on the alert anyway for a while -- never a bad thing.

Congratulations, anyway, on your smarts and courage and principles. We should all behave so well. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

fern hill

Good on you, Michelle. I know I've lacked the courage to speak up at times like that. Next time I'm in such a situation, I'll try to remember your action.

In a bit of drift, I was in Kensington Market yesterday loaded down with bags. There were two young women ahead of me on the narrow sidewalk. They stopped to look at something. I couldn't step onto the street because of parked cars. I said, 'Excuse me'. One of them moved a little and I got by. As I did, one of them said 'Fuck you'.

Now, I'm a woman of a certain age, smallish. I was polite. I didn't touch them. What the fuck was that? Random aggression in the big city? I was a bit shook by it.

skdadl

Manohman. What is happening? I'm sorry to hear that too, fern hill.

Maybe deBeauxOs is right on her thread about the full moon. [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]

Michelle

No kidding, fern hill. The thing is, this kind of thing that you mention hardly ever happens, at least not that I've noticed. I've always felt really, really safe in Toronto, probably because everywhere you go there are lots of people around so you know you're pretty safe. And most people are pretty nice. So I think if anything your story (and mine) are probably a testament to how good it is in Toronto, really. If this sort of thing were normal, we'd be quickly used to it and not so shaken up by it when it happens.

Yes, Heywood really is a knight, isn't he? He's so sweet. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] I can see him now, speeding east on his white steed. (Air Canada planes are white, aren't they?)

Anyhow, thanks for the support, folks. And really, I didn't expect all the compliments and they're making me blush. I just kind of opened my big mouth before I'd thought about it. Now I think it would have been better if I'd gotten up, made my way to the front and told the bus driver quietly what was happening instead of yelling across the bus. That would have been more intelligent, because then he'd have known what happened.

fern hill

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]Now I think it would have been better if I'd gotten up, made my way to the front and told the bus driver quietly what was happening instead of yelling across the bus. That would have been more intelligent, because then he'd have known what happened.[/b]

Maybe more intelligent, in terms of your own feeling of safety. But by speaking up I think you set an example for all the other people on the bus and all the people who will hear about it.

And yeah, I agree with you about Toronto. I suppose in some other place, witnessing bus-rage, racial slurs and random 'fuck-you's' would be ordinary stuff.

ephemeral

quote:


Originally posted by fern hill:
And yeah, I agree with you about Toronto. I suppose in some other place, witnessing bus-rage, racial slurs and random 'fuck-you's' would be ordinary stuff.

i can't imagine where. oh wait, maybe the states? most stories i hear about aggressive, violent people are from the states. road rage, air-rage incidents, etc. and the states is supposed to be the most civilized nation. i think part of the reason behind the rise in the number of people being so quick to anger is our fast-paced society. people work long hours, usually sedentary jobs, with few breaks, and when people are not working, they're usually running around to meet some other social demand. there is little time for relaxation. i'm convinced that all the pent-up stress releases itself as intense anger in minor situations that can really grate on a stressed person. and then there are people who just think that the world should genuflect for them - i can't explain what their problem is.

Melsky

quote:


Originally posted by ephemeral:
[b]

i can't imagine where. oh wait, maybe the states? [/b]


I wouldn't be surprised to see it in LA or San Diego. It could easily happen in San Francisco too, but there would probably be several Michelles on the bus!

kegbot

quote:


Originally posted by ephemeral:
[b]

i can't imagine where. oh wait, maybe the states? most stories i hear about aggressive, violent people are from the states. road rage, air-rage incidents, etc. and the states is supposed to be the most civilized nation. i think part of the reason behind the rise in the number of people being so quick to anger is our fast-paced society. people work long hours, usually sedentary jobs, with few breaks, and when people are not working, they're usually running around to meet some other social demand. there is little time for relaxation. i'm convinced that all the pent-up stress releases itself as intense anger in minor situations that can really grate on a stressed person. and then there are people who just think that the world should genuflect for them - i can't explain what their problem is.[/b]


Word. We're a society so overworked and overstressed keeping up with the Joneses that we're in this constant state of being ready to crack. Also, most people both on the job and in society as whole feel so powerless over their own lives that they exercise the worst kinds of power over people that can - abusing spouses, kids, and people on buses.

Americans hate public transportation in large part because we've become so fearful of others that we want to minimize the time and space we have to spend with them. In our cars, we are in charge and will gladly spend hours on the freeway to get to work than spend it on a bus.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I can see where the TTC might want its own security staff for its property, and maybe for the subway, but for buses and streetcars I don't understand why they don't just have a direct hotline to the police. On any street big enough to have streetcar or bus service, there'd probably be a cop going by within 2 minutes of the call.

Also, while the TTC might have limited powers to deal with threats, the police could at least book the guy, fingerprint him, charge him, and maybe even give him a free "room" for the night, all of which would be hilarious, considering his extreme assholishness.

Also, there's another thread right now discussing Britain's "Anti-Social Behaviour Orders". Sounds like they'd be the perfect way to deal with guys like this. Can't control your assholish impulses? Go to jail then, and learn to control yourself there.

Michelle

I just talked to the police. He said there wasn't really much they could do (and I already figured that) because the threat he made against me wasn't "a direct threat" because he didn't say he would hurt me or kill me, he just said he'd see me around. He told me that if I ever see the guy again or he gives me any trouble, to call them back and quote the file number for this report.

I can understand that - not much they can do about it, really. But he was sympathetic and tried to reassure me. One thing I didn't like though was that he told me, "Well, maybe he just had a bad day, you know." I think he was trying to reassure me that probably the guy wouldn't come back after me, but it didn't come out the way he meant it. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I would think the clear threat to shoot somebody would have bought the loser far more aggravation than he was in the mood for though.

As someone noted, sure, he was probably just tough-talking, but these days — especially after so many shootings in such a short time — I think this guy could expect a little time in a holding cell, a background check, and a whole bunch of other grief that, when taken together, might just say "Smarten up or shut up" to buddy. Also, at that point you'd know who he was so that if you ever encountered him again you could say "Fuck off, [i]Bob Smith of 923 Landsdowne[/i], or I'll call the police [i]again[/i]". [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

WingNut

You've got guts Michelle. You deserve credit for that.

chubbybear

quote:


Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
[b]I think this guy could expect a little time in a holding cell, a background check, and a whole bunch of other grief that, when taken together, might just say "Smarten up or shut up" to buddy.[/b]

I don't think I would be comfortable in a society where the police can lock you up just for mouthing off or arguing with somebody, let's say a security guard - oh wait, that has happened to me. I would like it even less, if the police would beat me up while I was in custody for refusing to stop chanting Cree prayers - oh wait, that has happened to me. Whoops, never mind. Please don't misunderstand me, I think when this guy started issueing death threats, he crossed the line and should be at least interviewed by a couple of peace officers, who could at least check for outstanding warrents. I'm just saying time in a holding cell can lead to some serious problems - I wouldn't immediately call for detention unless the harassment was quite serious (which in this case, may be true). I don't know, I'm just ambivilant about putting too much faith in the policing system, having been abused in the past.

[ 19 August 2005: Message edited by: chubbybear ]

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

What's that have to do with someone threatening to shoot someone else on a bus?? Anything?

Okay, since you've fleshed out what you're getting at.

I dunno though, myself. I think that idiots like this don't ever stop being assholes until it costs them something. I wouldn't hope he gets 'roughed up' or anything; I think the fingerprinting, the handcuffs, the waiting, the mug shots, the humiliation, and most of all the absolutely, positively HAVING to do as he's told would stick in his head as a negative reinforcement.

Unless he's been in and out of jail a half dozen times, in which case it would probably be to him as picking up dry cleaning is to us.

[ 19 August 2005: Message edited by: Mr. Magoo ]

Michelle

quote:


Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
[b]I would think the clear threat to shoot somebody would have bought the loser far more aggravation than he was in the mood for though.[/b]

Yeah, I mentioned to him that I was taking what he said to me in the context of the fact that he just explicitly threatened two people before me, one of whom he threatened to shoot (although really, I realize the guy was just shooting off his mouth since he didn't make any move to go after the guy, and he could have).

But really, I got what I wanted out of calling the police - there is now a report of this incident so that if I DO run into this guy again, I can refer to it.

I still haven't called the TTC - I should probably do that. The police officer told me that the bus driver should have called security as well. I explained that the driver probably didn't hear what happened, and I was too afraid to go to the front of the bus where the guy was and tell him. But I suppose I should tell the TTC what happened in any case. I just don't really feel like it, that's all. I got it all out of my system here and with the police officer a little while ago, and now I'm feeling kind of apathetic. It seems like a hassle for nothing since it's not like there's anything they can do.

chubbybear

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]It seems like a hassle for nothing since it's not like there's anything they can do.[/b]

Personally, I think he should be "invited" to a Nation of Islam meeting and asked to repeat his comments.

skdadl

chubbybear, I think you are right to stand up to Mr Magoo a little on the subject of those ASBOs.

And Mr Magoo, I think that chubbybear is right to stand up to you a little on the subject of those ASBOs.

And if anyone doesn't know about the ASBOs, look for a thread that kurichina started in Banter, about why we need to write carefully.

Somewhere a little ways down in that thread, both kurichina and then aRoused, who both live in the UK and have watched the selective application of these things, talk about how disgustingly classist and racist the ASBO system is, and also how intrusive -- CCTV cameras in fishing ports in the Orkneys??? As they note, you can be the greatest lager-lout yobbo on earth (and English lager-lout yobbos for sure are) and never get an ASBO if you are white and middle class.

chubbybear is quite right to raise a few cautions about encouraging an unreformed police force to toss people in jail just for mouthing off. I don't say that because I'm discounting the real fear that Michelle and others have felt in the presence of a genuinely violent mouth-offer -- I'm saying it because I fear that chubbybear is right too, that the police would use such powers against the wrong people, for the wrong reasons.

I'm still proud of Michelle, but I think that chubbybear's cautions bear serious reflection.

deBeauxOs

quote:


Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
[b] ... I think that idiots like this don't ever stop being assholes until it costs them something. I wouldn't hope he gets 'roughed up' or anything; I think the fingerprinting, the handcuffs, the waiting, the mug shots, the humiliation, and most of all the absolutely, positively HAVING to do as he's told would stick in his head as a negative reinforcement.[/b]

Dear Mr Magoo, if "good" people, the one with the interests of all humanity at heart and peace and social justice and eqality and the respect of human rights reigned in all corners of the world, then of course this could be a reasonable deterrent.

But think about your remark ... when did being submitted to the above process stop "idiots" from going directly to a gun (or other weapons of choice) and then butchering the spouse/children/neighbour/colleagues or other convenient targets?

kuri

I wish I could take credit for discussing them in that thread, skdadl, but I don't think I did actually. I'm pretty sure I did elsewhere, (likely in the "No to ID", the "Death in Stockwell" and the possibly the "racism is the terrorist's greatest recruitment" threads) but I didn't feel up to it in that thread since I was mostly just trying to get a little laughter out of the absurdity of someone being order by a judge to be abusive. (Gallows humour, perhaps? Maybe that's beginning to rub off on me a little? [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] )

But the selectivity of the justice system is something that does bother me a lot. 3 years ago, a very close friend of my family was murdered by a stranger. The person who killed him was young, from a possibly dysfunctional family, but *rich* and privileged. So much so, that he reportedly yelled, "My father's a lawyer! You'll never get me for this!" as he was being dragged away by the police. He was eventually sentenced to 6 years.

As the case was going to trial, I was at SFU in my last year and taking FNST 101 for Canadian Studies credit. In that course we had a guest speaker from the [url=http://www.nccabc.ca/D54.cfm]Native Courtworker[/url] programme talk about how large numbers of aboriginal youth were given sentences of 10 years or sometimes even higher for property and drug crimes, in large part because of a cultural clash that makes challenging authorities difficult and a lack of good representation for people who can't afford it.

I couldn't help but contrast the situation the guest speaker was describing with the situation my friend's killer faced. Now I'm not advocating some kind of victim's rage or victim's rights as the sole arbiter of justice here, but I feel I learned two things from the combination of those experiences. One, property is often, it appears, valued more than human life and two, if want to kill or otherwise be violent, it helps to be rich and white.

Michelle

Just an update (getting bored yet? [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] )

I just got off the phone with a woman at the TTC, and I went through the whole story with her. She seemed to take it more seriously - took the (almost) exact times of the bus picking me up at one place and dropping me off at the other, a description of the guy, as well as a description of the bus driver (in order to be better able to pinpoint which bus it was since I was too dumb to get the bus number).

So, they'll probably look into it and at least see if there was any report made by the driver. We'll see. I just don't want the driver to get in trouble, that's all. He didn't hear everything and probably thought that he managed to calm everything down.

I agree with chubbybear about ABSOs. I don't think I want to see those become commonplace here either, because with the kind of problems there are with police targeting people of colour and people with mental illnesses. I doubt there will be too many ABSOs handed out to Rosedale types hanging out in the trendy clubs downtown getting plastered.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

quote:


And Mr Magoo, I think that chubbybear is right to stand up to you a little on the subject of those ASBOs.

Obviously since we don't have such laws currently, and would thus have to create them for ourselves from scratch, we could craft them any way we wish... for example to ensure that they're not racist or classist. We certainly wouldn't be obligated to do everything exactly as Britain has.

I just think it's a great idea to provide some kind of legal option for people who are being harrassed or screwed over by idiots who know where the current loopholes in the law are and know how to make use of them.

Example: in the apartment building that I'll be soon leaving there's a "DJ" who believes it's his right to crank his music so loudly at 2 am that our floors vibrate. The tenant beside him, a nice quiet young woman, was finally forced to leave because she couldn't tolerate the noise any longer. The landlord says he cannot evict this DJ, and the law, such as it exists, isn't terribly worried about him either. He can pretty much do as he pleases for so long as nobody has the excess time and money to pursue him civilly.

I'd love to see a law that could be brought down on him to shut off the music. As his selfish attitude can be easily characterized as "anti social", the ASBO sounds spot on.

I don't believe it would be classist or racist to give the other tenants of the building a little peace and quiet.

As for the idiot on the bus, he didn't "mouth off", he threatened to shoot someone. You may not believe he was genuinely going to, but I don't think any citizen should have to weigh the probability and take their chances. I think he belongs somewhere shitty until he can grow up a little and realize that threatening to kill people isn't on.

Others may feel nervous about a holding cell being that place... I'm not. And if that fails to teach him that threatening people with violence isn't ok, send him back. He'll learn eventually, or else he'll die in a holding cell at age 70 having never learned. His choice, right?

skdadl

I know it's a problem.

On the one hand, I don't want to turn into the evidence. I don't even want my blackened jaw to turn into the evidence (ie: I do not want to be punched because I was trying to be fair to some guy until he did something). And I sure don't want my dead body to turn into the evidence.

On the other, I keep remembering Mr Yu. Edmund Yu. He got shot because he was agitated. [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]

I don't want that either. As someone who has walked down many streets with someone who easily became agitated, I don't want that either.

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