Friday, 14 March 2008

A Peculiar Incident [Un Incidente Peculiar]

I think I might have narrowly avoided being robbed again this morning. Or perhaps my Central Madrid paranoia has scaled new heights.

I was walking toward Puerta del Sol when a young bloke came hurtling around a corner and ran straight towards me. He clearly wasn't dressed for jogging, and he really was going fast: as if he was running away from something. I was in two minds about whether to trip him or otherwise interfere with his progress, but in the end I just got out of his way. He had gone maybe five metres past me when two older blokes came running round the corner yelling (presumably) 'stop thief'. They ran past me but quite quickly gave up the chase.

I suspect these might have been the possible outcomes if I had got involved:
1) The thief would have beaten me to a pulp and run off.
2) The thief would have beaten me to a pulp, robbed me, and run off.
3) The pursuers would have congratulated me warmly and given me a reward.
4) The pursuers would have congratulated me warmly and robbed me.
5) I would have a heart attack and be robbed by everybody.
6) I would be arrested and charged with assault.

Ok, forget about the last one: we're not in the UK. But I think it's interesting that not one of the hundreds of people who saw this happen moved a muscle. Another scam avoided, methinks.


Tyler said...

Hehe, yeah. There's no easy answer for this, especially when you're not in your own country's cultural environment where you know the norm.

Next time, trip him and run away!

Cairogal said...

I imagine that if this happens again this time next year you will go ahead and trip the guy. A friend of mine on the metro in barcelona was being robbed. An angry commuter actually beat the pickpocket to a pulp.

the real nick said...

You did the right thing. Which is doing nothing. Five years in Inner London have taught me that.

After all, it could have been a nice chap running to the hospital to donate spinal tissue for a life saving operation on his pregnant fiance'. Or an undercover cop. Or a student late for his all important final exam.

Jayne said...

Had almost identical experience in Istanbul, except Mike didn't move out of the way in time & was rudely shoved aside.............I thankfully was right close to him & covered his back, cos a hand suddenly went for his rear pocket. It's a (possible) ruse keefie, but there again, it may have been a real chase scene. Next time trip him & gap it!

Mme Cyn said...

Y'all do get robbed a lot in Spain, Keefie. DXB may be crap, but at least I don't worry about theft on the streets here. Not yet, anyway. Like everything else, I'm sure it's coming.

alexander said...

Observers of conflict are so often longer lived than participants.

Keep the blue hat on, KB!!!


leftbanker said...

You did the correct thing because you had no context in which to judge the situation. Probably just a lover’s quarrel.

I was walking out of a crowded restaurant one evening in Seattle when I came upon a 20-something guy punching a young woman in the face. I instinctively grabbed him by the throat and he went completely limp. The girl ran away but three of his buddies tried to extricate him from my grip. One kicked my knee from behind and I was lucky not to have been severely injured. Unfortunately for the woman beater, I was able to use him as a human shield against his friends as I never relinquished my hold on his throat. I’m guessing that asshole will look both ways before publicly hitting a woman after that. He also probably had to eat liquids only for a week.

If you do find yourself, as I did, in a situation in which you have little choice but involving yourself, I highly suggest finding a weapon of sorts. There was a similar situation to mine here in Valencia a while back in which a guy saw some abuse taking place on a busy street. He asked the woman if she needed help and the assailant struck him. He fell unconscious and went into a coma. Better not to ask in cases of gender violence, but I have a bunch of sisters and don’t take well to this behavior. I’ve had lots of jiu-jitsu training but I think a bit of brick would work well against anyone low enough to hit a woman. Remember to exit quickly thereafter.

mark said...

It's always a little crazy in the centre of a capital city. I think you probably did right, not to get involved. For what it's worth, it was probably a lot more dangerous in central Madrid 15 years ago. Even so, it's always worth being on your guard in the Sol area (and the central train and Metro stations).

BuJ said...

Wise choice Keef...
I would follow what a court would do..

Only use action when you have evidence, just running in the middle of the street surely can't be illegal or wrong.

Anonymous said...

I lived on the calle Fuencarral(MercadoFuencarral)between Colon and Figueroa for nearly three years.Very nice building-secrure,clean-with a combination of both Spanish and foreign residents.During my time there,I do
believe I was the only resident,that did NOT have a late
night mugging experience(I suppose my New York instincts,helped a bit).

The victims were always a bit tipsy
and the muggers were always foreign.A word to the wise for those in the area late at night i.e., after 3:00AM stay alert,even if drunk! Miss Madrid something terrible,great place and people!And
Go Spain '08!Hope to return someday
for good!