An Intervening Bystander’s Perspective

I am generally targeted for abuse on public transit less than some, but I have still had more than my fill.  As a six foot male who weighs about 175 lbs, I wind up standing up for other passengers as often as not, though I am occasionally confronted by individuals or groups as the guy who will not put up with people harassing others; young kids, old folks, whatever the case may be.  In other words, my inability to stand idly by while someone suffers an unprovoked assault, whether verbal or otherwise, paints a big bulls-eye on my forehead.  And while I know how to handle myself in a scuffle, at the age of 45, I am less and less interested in being at risk of a confrontation turning violent.  I am not wearing a cape, have no super-powers, and I am not a law enforcement professional.  So I have resigned myself to using transit only as a last resort.   The standard (or lack thereof) of behavior on our public transit system is simply beyond belief.  While cell-phones offer the threat or last resort of calling the police today, most riders do not want to risk the wrath of their assailant during the period of response time.  I, for one, have simply resigned myself to paying for a car, insurance, fuel and maintenance to have my privacy while moving about the city.


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