|L'Enfant Plaza:stay away|
Post managers, from the top down, regularly remind the newsroom that coverage must have a "for and about Washington" focus. So when a large brawl broke out in the Metro system on a recent Friday night, it seemed a perfect chance to show local readers that The Post is their indispensable source for news.
The fracas occurred near midnight on Aug. 6, and authorities said it involved as many as 70 people. It started at the Gallery Place Station and continued to the L'Enfant Plaza Station. There were arrests, and several people landed in the hospital. On deadline, The Post gathered enough information for a news brief in Saturday's paper, and a short story was quickly posted online…
Robert E. Pierre, the weekend editor for local news, said he saw no need. "It wasn't about additional people," he told me, noting that social media searches and an online appeal for witnesses had yielded little. And, he added, "the police didn't have very much," and what little information they disclosed was sketchy. The size of the crowd was in question, he said, and police couldn't say how many were actually brawling.
Pierre also worried about hyping a story that involved race. Although The Post's coverage on and after Sunday did not specify the racial makeup of those involved, many readers assumed they were black and offered racially insensitive online comments. "So ghetto," read one. Another urged ending "all welfare benefits for parents whose little animals cause this type of mayhem."
In other words, we should all look away and shut our eyes from the reality of criminal behavior. The incidents in Milwaukee, Kansas City, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Atlanta are just examples of "youth" having fun. After all, “This is a Black world” as we learned from the incident in Akron in the summer of 2009. Remember Beat Whitey Night in Iowa? Imagine that event being stretched out 24/7/365.
When The Post finally produced a more substantive story for Monday's paper, Pierre believes it was given too much prominence, even though it included eyewitness descriptions of multiple fights and bedlam as people tried to escape the pandemonium. The Post "overplayed it," said Pierre. "It was a fight on the Metro. Kids get into fights."
The Post should always be sensitive to overplaying stories, especially if race is involved.
Flash forward roughly six months from the wild brawl at L’Enfant and we are entitled to an incident just as shocking involving “youths” merely having fun:
On Sunday night, Allen Haywood was randomly and viciously attacked by two kids on the platform of the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station. Dozens of people witnessed it. Several people filmed it. Nobody helped.
Haywood was trying to transfer to the Yellow Line around 7:15 p.m. when the assault happened. He was headed home to Fort Totten after working out at Results on Capitol Hill, a gym bag slung over his shoulder and a book in his hands. As he read with his back to the station wall, “all of a sudden someone whacked me on the back of the head really hard,” he recalls.
Haywood turned around. The boy looked to be about 11 or 12 years old. Baffled, Haywood asked, “What the fuck are you doing?” The boy stood there laughing. Then someone else cracked Haywood from the other side. He turned around again. This time it was the girl in the video above. She didn’t stop swinging for more than a full minute, chasing Haywood around the platform as other kids egged her on.
As seen in the video, Haywood repeatedly asked the girl why she was attacking him, pleading with her to end it. “Stop it! Stop it! Goddamn it! You stop this shit right now! I did nothing to you!”
Haywood looked to strangers for help, but all he saw were other kids with their cell phones out, recording the scene and laughing. Judging from his voice-over, the man shooting the YouTube video above doesn’t appear to be part of the group. The video showed up yesterday on Unsuck D.C. Metro, which posted an anonymous account of the attack Tuesday.
“I can understand people not wanting to get physically involved,” says Haywood, who’s 47 and works in a Friendship Heights flower shop. "But nobody pressed the emergency button or went to the booth,” as far as he knows.
Haywood tried grabbing hold of the girl but she squirmed away. She grabbed his book, which had fallen to the ground, and threw it on the tracks below for no reason. All the while, the cell phones kept rolling.
Mr. Haywood was a victim of what is called “happy slapping” a celebrated event in the Black community when a group of “youths” gather to film an unprovoked attack on an unwitting individual. That Mr. Haywood is white and oblivious to the spirited game made him a prime candidate for a quick session of “happy slapping” at L’Enfant.
“That may have been the whole point, if there is such a thing: 'Let's make a video,'" says Haywood. “They held them high, a pack moving together.”
No authority figure dare stand tall and say what needs to be said. The most dangerous place for a Black person might be the womb, but the most dangerous place for everyone else is a close proximity to what comes out of that womb.
An example of “happy slapping” can be found here, the assailants unfortunately picking the wrong victim.
It should become increasingly clear why the phenomenon known as Breathing while Black (BwB) exists, when a growing segment of that particular population is incapable of abiding by societies laws. The ultimate question is this, courtesy of Death Wish:
Paul Kersey: Nothing to do but cut and run, huh? What else? What about the old American social custom of self-defense? If the police don't defense us, maybe we ought to do it ourselves.The video can be viewed here.
Jack Toby: We're not pioneers anymore, Dad.
Paul Kersey: What are we, Jack?
Jack Toby: What do you mean?
Paul Kersey: I mean, if we're not pioneers, what have we become? What do you call people who, when they're faced with a condition or fear, do nothing about it, they just run and hide?
Jack Toby: Civilized?
Paul Kersey: No.