Hillcrest is one of the most colorful, interesting, culturally hip neighborhoods in San Diego....but it is also the biggest rolling freak show as well. Not sure what it is; probably the concentration of mental health facilities in the area, combined with the excessive alcohol intake of the resident population and the high drama that produces, and then there's the availability of street drugs which tend to go hand in hand with the high number of clubs. All that adds up to a very tempting set of circumstances for the mean nasties who come to prey on the vulnerable. There's no bout adout it; it can get pretty dicey, late at night, on the streets of Hillcrest.
Rashida, you are an honorable woman of incredible strength as well as a superb storyteller. Stories like this one are hard ones to tell but it is none-the-less important that they be told. It shouldn't take courage to protect each other from violence--that should be a natural human inclination. But, obviously, as you were the only one to bother to intercede, the only one who said to herself, "No, I can't stand by and watch this happen.--I WON'T do nothing, this is wrong," it mustn't be--not to everyone at least. We as a society haven't evolved as far as we think we have.I remember all too clearly how appalled I felt when I learned a whole barfull of men sat back and watched, cheered even, while Cheryl Araujo was gang raped on a pool table back in the '80's, (basis for the movie The Accused). The '09 gang rape of a fifteen year old CA girl right outside her prom resurrected those same feelings because dozens of people stood by and watched. FOR HOURS. Taking photos with their cell phones rather than calling the police. Yet, there is no law that requires us to protect and assist one another in times like this. No law even requiring bystanders to report the crime they are witnessing. LEGALLY, they did nothing wrong--hard factoid to wrap my head around. Blows my mind that we think we are an advanced "developed' species. I have the utmost respect for you.Thank you for writing this article and thank you Reader for publishing it front and center.
I read this a few hours ago and wasn't going to comment, but seeing the subsequent complimentary comments baffled and vexed me to the point where I had to come back and say something.
The aggressive tone of the author practically screams "sociopath." Even if you ignore the repeated urges to be violent that he expresses, what about calling a complete stranger/voice on the phone a "whore" and making an overtly racist statement like "I keep forgetting that Mexicans never sleep." WTF?? If stuff like that was intended to be "funny," I can find nothing else in the entire story, not one phrase or passage, that confirms "humor" even exists in this person's irksome personality.
The author whines, threatens, bitches, throws out worthless (and sometimes ignorant) "observations" that are stated without a hint of irony or finesse, and constantly blames everyone and everything but himself for his increasingly pathetic (and self-made) situations.
He really thinks being away from his car for a few hours gives him insight into what it's like to be homeless?! As someone who's BEEN homeless, with NO family to send me cash multiple times via Western Union, I find that ridiculous and insulting.
If the thing had at least been artfully written, perhaps with SOME attempt at self-examination or revelation, I would be more tolerant. I'm usually the person 'round here digging only for the most positive and encouraging things to say about stories submitted via the Reader blogs.
But this piece? A prize winner?!?! Only if the prize is a trophy inscribed "Most Likely To Be Imprisoned For Violent Offenses Against Innocent Bystanders."
JemSD, thanks for reading my work--I appreciate it.
Gotta admit, my eyebrows went up at that part, too. But, I've mentored some good people who've made some bad choices and know it's not my place to judge, (and trust me--I've got lots to say on the socio-economics of prostitution--gay or straight, let alone with male dominance and abuse). No matter who the author is or what his real story in fact is, he has somethings others don't have--a caring responsive family with the financial security to assist him in times of need. There are many people who don't and even if they did would never have made the call he did--for whatever their reasons. It obviously humbled him to do so. Regardless, as the writer noted, "I’m not in Vegas any more, and I’m trying to live a new life." Good enough for me as a reader. And that's all I am and ever will be behind this screen. Not a mother, mentor, teacher or preacher. Just an everyday reader.
As such, I try to read postings here as what they are--stories and to support/highlight the good. The part you highlight is really no different than say this one: "A skinny gay homeless guy running up to an escalade and soliciting themselves to the car, and then running after me trying to ask me a question. I had to tell him to piss off or else I’d beat their ass, and they stopped on their track." Again, hints of physical aggression and intimidation that I chose not to take personally. This is HIS story after all, not mine. It was my prerogative to read it and had I not liked it's content, I could have just as easily chosen not to.
It wasn't the content or even the technique but his knack for story telling that captured my attention. There are certainly editorial suggestions I would make to the author (upon request only) so that it might qualify as a winner--too, many technical glitches as it currently stands, in my opinion. But, as a story, I do think it's got potential and given the fact that only pieces related to SD's neighborhoods are in the running, I think he's got a good shot should he bother to clean and tighten the piece up a bit.
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