We grew up fighting on the school playground, in the back yard and in vacant lots. We got black eyes, bloody noses and our feelings hurt. We cried. Sometimes when boys got together, you really couldn’t tell whether we were playing football, hide-and-seek or simply establishing a dominance hierarchy (or so today’s psychologists term it). And our dads were practically responsible: “You fight him, boy! You run away and I’ll take out the belt.” We knew what happened then.
Not so, today. Get in a fight at school or on a public playground now, and the SWAT team shows up. And then some namby-pamby helicopter parent hires a lawyer. Or some knucklehead pulls a gun. Fighting just isn’t part of the female vision for men, is it? But have men changed? Below are examples of fights where someone could have walked away.
Rayshun Terry, 38, was trying to break up a fight at a North Carolina intersection. Apparently his brother was involved when a suspect fired multiple shots into the crowd which had gathered in the road. One of the shots hit Terry, who died at a local hospital. The U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force arrested 19-year-old Cinciere Turner and charged him with first-degree murder.
At 2:00 a.m. Santo Williams, 30, was fatally shot while breaking up a fight in the parking lot of Cartier Lounge on Detroit’s east side. He left behind a 5-year-old daughter. Williams was inside the building when a man grabbed a gun from a vehicle and fired into the club, killing him. (The Wayne County Prosecutor’s office received a warrant request from police but returned it. The police were not able to hold the man — whose name they have protected — in custody and he was released.)
Mario Perez of San Leandro was shot and killed at 1:00 a.m. as he tried to help the owner of the Laurel Lounge on MacArthur Boulevard in Oakland break up a fight outside. Perez, his brother and sister-in-law were all shot by a man who was apparently starting a fight with the bartender. Perez and his family were popular regulars at the bar. He was known by many as a fun-loving, happy, family man. The man who shot the group was arrested. Police have not identified him.
Norzell “Nore” Aldridge, 36 of Cheektowaga, New York, noticed a fight on the perimeter of a youth football game and attempted to defuse the situation. A short time later, a shot was fired. Aldridge dropped to the ground, dying on the spot. The fight involved two teens and had nothing to do with the game. “He was an innocent victim,” said Darius Pridgen, a Buffalo councilman. “He put himself in harm’s way to protect other young people.”
Responsibility to Your Family
The common element in these situations, other than an innocent person being killed, is that police were on the scene or nearby when the shooting happened. Police presence failed to halt a murder. Also, while the names of the victims are made public immediately, the “alleged” perpetrators — the killers — are protected. Often, such shootings involve a late-night club.
If you are going to carry, you have a special responsibility to stay away from public altercations. If shots are fired or knives pulled, get your family to safety. And really, should you be on the streets in the middle of the night? In the swirl of alcohol and emotion, nothing good is going to happen uptown or downtown at 1:00 a.m.
About Rick Sapp
After his stint in the U.S. Army, including time as an infantry platoon leader and working with West German KRIPO during the 1968 Soviet invasion, Rick Sapp returned home to earn a Ph.D. in social anthropology. Following his education from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Catholic University of America and the University of Florida, he moved to France for a year. Rick worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service before turning to journalism and freelance writing, authoring more than 50 books for a variety of publishers.