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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Friday, April 04, 2008

The evolution of fear

I still have no update for you on the car-door-dinger. He's been hard to catch up with the past few days. When I have an update, I'll post it right away.

In the mean time, check out this story about a young man in Homestead, Fla., south and west of Miami, who was arrested on March 27th after making threats over the Internet to carry out a Virginia Tech-type massacre.

So police went to his home and they found a stash of more than a dozen guns, including several AK-47s, and more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition. Authorities are looking into whether the guns were purchased legally. Either way, 20-year-old Calin Chi Wong, who threatened to light things up like Va. Tech was released on $7,500 bond the very next day. He's free. On the street. After making that kind of threat.

There was a time people would have reacted in pure fear to that sort of threat. But what I found interesting about Wong's case is people around here - especially news consumers - sounded pissed off, not scared.

One Friday or Saturday night when I was like 17, I had the evening off from my part-time job at Belk, selling women's shoes. Yeah, go ahead and laugh. I made a mint on Nine West. Anyway, I had no date this night, so I was at a gym on a local naval base playing pick-up basketball with my buddies. We were all enjoying a good game - a little rough, but typical for playground style hoops. Anyway, after one sorta hard foul, the recipient of the blow complained that it was uncalled for. It was an accident. He was hit during a mad scramble for the ball. But instead of accepting the offender's apologies, the guy who was fouled yells out that he's pissed off and that he's going out to the parking lot to his car to retrieve a gun. Well, at first we all reacted the way you might expect. We started yelling and running in circles like chickens with our heads cut off. But then one of the guys stops us and says wait a minute. If he supposedly has a gun in his car, why are we allowing him to go to his car? Good question. So our fear instantly turned to anger, and we banded together like Minutemen, sprinted out the door, and caught him before he made it to his car. Then we proceeded to beat him like a cartoon character. I'm not a violent guy by nature. I'm more peaceful than Gandhi. But this guy threatened our lives. Surely no one will disagree with me, when I say this guy deserved it? The base police came. We explained what happened. Surprisingly he didn't deny it. And the police basically told him he got what he deserved. They searched his car and found no gun, made him leave the gym, and he was banned from coming back onto the base.

My point is these types of reactions are good signs, as far as I'm concerned. People who mass murder and people who threaten to do so may be forced to think twice about their actions if they believe us sheeple, the general public will stand up to them and stop them in their tracks.

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  • Beat him like a cartoon character, huh? Superlative imagery.

    By Blogger Buffalo, at 4:48 PM  

  • Kudos to the person who reacted with more anger than fear and turned Wong in to the authorities. Now that his weapons have been taken from him, I'd like to see this guy get some therapy to discover how his coping skills got to be so poor that mass murder became a viable solution for his problems.

    By Blogger GrizzBabe, at 7:05 PM  

  • Could not agree with you more!


    By Anonymous SCG, at 8:21 PM  

  • This story was HUGE news here - because the person who turned him in was from here in Oregon.

    Wish more people took the initiative to get angry and put a stop to things.

    By Anonymous Karmyn R, at 10:40 PM  

  • Right, because people who mass murder are so logical.

    By Blogger WNG, at 9:33 AM  

  • I'm not so sure he should be free. Why isn't he in therapy, instead of out possibly buying more guns again?

    Not to ignore your point, which is clear and precise, standing up and saying "no more".

    Sometimes, authority just seems to disappoint me.

    By Blogger The CEO, at 10:34 PM  

  • No actual man goes for his gun out of being accidentally injured. You should have gotten his gun from him, and beat him WITH it like the crybaby he was. And then told him to stay away from guns, because short fused morons have no business carrying.

    By Anonymous og, at 11:32 AM  

  • Free on $7500 bail. Not a typo?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:56 AM  

  • Buffalo, I thought that image wouldn't be as cliched as "pinata." Although we did beat him like a pinata too. No candy came out.

    Grizzbabe, the cynical side of me questions whether therapy would help him at this late stage in the game - at least not therapy alone. Maybe if he got therapy plus a laaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrge daily dose of horse tranquilizers.

    SCG, thanks!

    Karmyn R, I forgot about that! This guy came from your neck of the woods. Quit sending crazies to Miami. We have enough already! Seriously, good job on the part of your "neighbor" who turned this guy in. That person may have saved lives.

    WNG, they may not think logically, but I've never read about or studied one of those cats who isn't all about self-preservation. Even the ones who end up committing suicide don't seem to want to suffer at the hands of others, only by their own hand. So I think the fear of hurt or being taken out by one of their targets might scare some of these cats into reconsidering.

    Monty, I know authority can be disappointing sometimes. But you're right. This is about standing up. As for why Mr. Wong isn't in therapy, see my reply to Grizzbabe. I don't know if therapy alone would cut it. Whatever ails this kid isn't new. It's deep, ingrained. Anyway, since I first posted this, he's been re-arrested.

    Og, I agree. The guy in the gym wasn't tough. He wasn't manly. He was an idiot who shouldn't be allowed to carry a water pistol. I wonder what ever happened to him, like if he grew up, got a job, and is raising a family or something? McDuck, if you're reading this, and I know you do read my blog sometimes, send me an email and let me know if you know what happened to that guy.

    Jali, no typo. But since I first posted he's been taken back into custody.

    By Blogger J, at 2:19 PM  

  • I am actually relieved to hear that people reacted to this character with more anger than fear. If we allow a reasonable amount of anger over these types of threats to prevail perhaps we'll start focusing our actions on the perpetrators of such threats instead of locking ourselves down in acts of irrational fear.

    By Anonymous Steph, at 4:08 PM  

  • On the other hand, the guy didn't actually do anything.


    Our civil rights keep on being eroded.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:30 PM  

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