If I were a busybody, I might assert that there needs to be a crackdown on the drug-addled maniacs that occasionally interject disorder into the harmony of Keene’s otherwise pleasant populous. As Keene Cop Block has been operating consistently since autumn began, something I had discovered quickly was that KPD does not pose the greatest threat to recording equipment on Friday and Saturday nights. Drunken commoners have the least concern for other’s personal property. Though not always through malevolence, some young people find it gratifying to shout praise of their alma mater while holding a Cop Blocker’s videocamera inches away from their face.
Once in a blue moon, you come across someone as disoriented and insecure as a friend we made last week, Tim. Tim considers himself to be the king of the alphabros. He had the most violent reaction to cameras of any druggie that the crew has come across. From his perspective, he may have felt infringed upon. Despite the fact that he had approached a group of videographers as his friends walked away, he had concerns about cameras being in his face. When I approached the group after seeing him stepping towards fellow filmer James in the way that a great ape squares off with its opponent, he then spoke as though he took preference for my clothes and hair. “Look at this afro mutherfucker…with a videocamera.” He began counting people, “One, two…,” and at “three”, he pounces towards me like a tranquilized animal.
When he pounced, he initially grabbed for my camera, which was secured in my right hand. After failing to seize it, he held tight with both hands to my fur coat, just underneath the armpits. My martial arts training engaged like an autopilot sequence. My mind computed calculations while my awareness ran on delay. Without thinking, my arms extended over his, disabling his ability to throw punches to the head. In the moment that I was expecting a blow, or some sort of scuffling from the aggressor, I smelled stale beer breathe, as I got a face full of Tim yelling, “Get the fuck outta my fucking face, alright!” I heard myself saying, “Let go of me” with calm demeanor. My mind was firing off options for release. My right hand was occupied with a valuable electronic. Punching was out of the picture, I was not going to rely on my weak hand. As we had not clinched, Tim was still exposed to be kneed and kicked. My body was telling me, if he attacks with his upper body toward your upper body, deliver elbows to either side of his face. If his legs became weapons, I would be throwing him over my hips and onto his back. I waited for something to respond to, as James appeared and tried to get between us. Tim flailed one of his arms at James and sent his Flipcam flying. It kept recording after it hit the ground and was picked up by Amish Paul. It wasn’t long after Tim let go of the coat with one hand that he released his hold with the other. I instantly stepped backward, restarted the camera, and Tim continued descending as he sputtered, “Get the fuck outta my face or I’ll break your camera, you fucking fag.”
I took the opportunity to call him out on his irresponsible drug use, to which he responded by referencing homosexuals in a derogatory manner, and speaking graphically about sexual acts. In the middle of it all, he mumbled something about “I’ll tell the cops!” He then tried to connect his ramblings in some way to my afro. I suppose he felt intimidated by it. He hid whatever hair he had under a baseball cap and a hood.
What cause motivated this near bro-down? Why, none other than the affection of a drunk and disharmonious distressed youth of the opposite gender assignment. When we first arrived on the scene outside of McCue’s, myself, James, Darryl, and Amish Paul witnessed one female trying to walk away from an officer who was grabbing her, while another female in a Pink Jacket was being physically restrained by a plain clothes male a few feet behind the officer. As we exited the vehicle, three of us armed with recording devices, the scene deescalated to an extent. The physical scuffling ended as the detained female and the officer stopped moving, and the sister climbed around the hold of the male, unidentified beyond his propensity for the noun, ‘bro’. For purposes herein, he will be referred to as Joe Bro.
The three stood around the officer for almost a minute before Alpha-bro Tim came strolling on over. Ever classy, he took the liberty to discard his coaling, half smoked cigarette on the sidewalk. Upon arrival, he of all people tells Pink Jacket to “Calm down.” She momentarily stops addressing the officer to respond to him, “Tim, walk away.” He does not take her advice, and huddled along as though in a pack.
After about three minutes in the initial location, the officer leads the group around the building with the detained female in tow. It is at this time that Pink Jacket and possee ignore and pass by me. I am stationary as I film their march. Pink Jacket and Joe Bro move out of the frame, as PJ says to JB, “Stop touching me.” She turns her attention to James and pushes him, saying, “Fucking stop videotaping or I’m gonna punch you in the face.” She scurried off quickly, but she had given the drunken queue to the drunken Joe Bro, who decided it would be alright to playfully slap at the camera and stumble into James, who was in fact complying with her demand and had shut off the camera. He would have been safer keeping the camera running the entire time, but fortunately the two other angles at the moment fill in the gaps in footage. When James holds up his arm to defend his camera from Joe Bro’s drunken swipes, you hear exactly how much sense the scenario likely makes in his own mind with his self-justification, “I mean if she’s not gonna let you stop videotaping, I will. No, bro, I’m serious.” It’s then that Tim comes strolling over again, and Joe and he have a bro embrace. Joe Bro then stumbles off, leaving Tim behind, who then begins to act like a confused and cornered animal. I begin talking with some other, friendlier drunk people near where the escapade had started, about thirty feet away. When I began hearing the profanity grow more consistent, I decided it would be best to group up. That’s when I approached and got to meet Tim, who groped like a nervous TSA agent before lapsing into his sexist tirade.
The fog of drunkenness influencing the actions of the involved parties makes rationalizing their behavior more of a feat. What made Tim think that grabbing another person, especially in such a way that leaves himself vulnerable to counter-attack, was a good use of his time and resources? One possible theory is that Tim was looking for a physical response. Perhaps he wanted to get into a fight, and what better way to do so then to make someone think you are going to do something to hurt them by your physical actions? His frustration may be a deep-seated emptiness in Tim’s life that manifests as misguided rage against what or whoever when he reaches the bottom of a bottle. Did Tim’s actions satisfy his desires? He seemed more frustrated after the scuffle than he had been before. You can hear him seethe with anxiety when he says his final words to James before departing the scene, “Ugh, if I could just punch you in the face, I would.”
One can only wonder, did Tim want to fight before he even left his abode that evening? Was his motivation a desire to inflict pain on others, or as his actions suggest, was it a desire to be struck by others? He seemed to be trying to harm my camera before he grasped me. I doubt even in Tim’s feeble mind that he knew what he was doing. In retrospect, I considered the fact that he may have had a weapon and been spurring someone to give him reason to use it. Hopefully, his assholicism does not reach that level of malevolence.
Could he have been in search of a hug? This theory is most unlikely, as he had ample opportunity to segue way into a hug as he grasped onto the fur coat.
Whether it be boredom and general life frustration, or war flashbacks and PTSD, Tim’s sudden and blind aggression should not be accepted by his social circle, however sophisticated a circle that may be. Given the level of unwelcome physical contact among the group of friends that evening, Tim likely thrives in an environment where being the loudest and most forceful is regarded as superiority. You can hear the high decibel levels emanating from his throat throughout the profanity-riddled encounter, and how he often repeats himself, chirping out attention seeking words as though in a vocal competition more than an information exchange through language. “Hey, hey, hey,” he drones on, before adding, “Douchebag” and, “Hey” again; a linguistic Sisyphus.
Given the entire situation and how seemingly desired a violent outcome was, it is a true victory for positive energy that nothing went beyond the dance around the threshold of physical violence. Maybe someday, Tim will pick cigarette butts up off the ground, and bankroll the detox of abusive alcoholics. Maybe someday, the police won’t harass young, drunk people for being young, drunk people.
Official effort was wasted on whether or not a sobbing, harmless youth committed a crime, while a reckless whipper snapper with problems was spreading them by any means necessary. Keep making mother proud, Tim.