Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Moral Dilemma

Tonight I witnessed a horrific ordeal. Though no one was injured, my own action, or rather inaction, leaves me morally confused, and lacking the ability to sleep.

After a tough loss at the Rockies game, I thought a calming bus ride home was what I was in store for. I was wrong. I made sure we went to the right station so we could actually get seats, but to my dismay, my reading, even before the ride started, was disrupted by five rows of obnoxiously drunk kids yelling obscenities. It was nothing worse then what I would normally hear at CU game at first, but that wasn't where the problem was derived. What set me off was when the asshole in the back of the bus, riding on the false confidence of alcohol and a group 10 plus friends, began verbally harassing a girl who wouldn't sit by them. This led to her two guy friends trying to stand up, and being met with multiple comments all laced with the words "gay," "faggot," or "queer." As the bus ride continued, one of the guys walked back and tried to silence the kids by acting as if he were gay. It did help a little, but finally it ended up sparking more comments. When we pulled to our first stop, which was a 20 minute ride, the bus driver finally came to see what was happening, and it turns out one of the guys being harassed was actually gay. The bus driver asked who was doing the harassing, gave a stern warning to the "leader" (calling him that literally pains me), and went back to the kids being harassed. The bus driver's only advice to the kids being harassed was that there was another bus two minutes behind us, and if they wanted to, they could get off and wait for it. And this is what they did. The ones being harassed, being spoken down to because of sexuality, were forced to leave the bus, while the publicly intoxicated, character-less, asshole got to stay on the bus. And while this all happened, while the bus driver threatened to kick the kid off, then turned away and basically affirmed every second of the interaction, I sat there. Silent. In the dark. Shaking with anger.

As the bus rolled away, and the kid began yelling rockies chants, and trying to pick fights with anyone who would bite, I realized I had not only witnessed a hate crime, I condoned it. I didn't speak up, I didn't walk down those five rows to that kid. I didn't knock some fucking sense into him. I sat.

I sat in my seat, shaking with anger, almost praying that kid would say another word, or get off at the same stop as me so I could redeem myself. But when he got off the bus four stops before me, all I could do was stare and him, still shaking, wishing I could administer even an ounce of physical pain, so he could get a glimpse of what he caused for his victim tonight.

One of the most despicable things a person can do is nothing. The one evil which we should all fear is the inaction of good men. When I look back I don't know what I could have done. Even as my blood pressure has returned to normal, the first thing that comes to mind is hurting that kid. I wish I would have jumped. I don't know what it would have done. I don't know if his friends would have jumped me. I don't know what would have happened, or if in that, case violent resistance would have actually accomplished something. But one thing I do know is I could have at least spoken up. I could have advocated for kicking that kid of the bus. I could have stood up, and said something. Even if it didn't work, then the verbal harassment would have been taken off those three, and placed on me, and hell, that probably would have sparked other people to jump in. But I didn't act, and for that, I'm truly disgusted.

It's tough to actually appreciate the school I go to when so much of it is ridiculous notions like this. Even the good that exist here, I feel comes with a clause of negativity which taints it.