fighting couple

I have the memory of a single 20-second moment perfectly and permanently crystallized in my brain.

On an unusually dark and chilly night after a brutally exhausting day of work, I felt like a husk stumbling my way home through the parking lot. While walking, I had my eyes glued to my phone watching JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures and my ears blasted with the sounds of the characters fighting each other. Through my earphones, beyond the sounds of the anime, I hear a feint screaming and crying. I remove my earphones and look over to where the sounds are coming from. 6 feet away from me, I see a man towering over a sobbing woman, bludgeoning her with his fist. Everyone else in the parking lot was a great distance away watching, while I just stumbled directly into the scene because I was so engrossed in my anime. Every cell in my body was telling me to get out. I’ve never been in a fight, nevertheless throw a punch. I’m a computer geek. If I made him angry, I doubt I could even run 50 meters without my lungs collapsing. I was being torn apart - my body split between running and helping.

“Do you need help?”

Those words were unfortunately mine. Each syllable felt like chunks of old oatmeal just dribbled out of my mouth. My voice was meek and shrill as I felt the soy flooding my veins. I never intended to say anything. It was like a malfunction between my mind and my mouth.

Both the man and the woman turned and looked at me like I was the dumbest person alive, and I agreed with him.

Three car doors next to the fighting people shoot open. Three men were getting out of the car, staring directly at me with killing intent. Where the fuck did these guys come from? Were they here this entire time???

Luckily, as if written by a script, three police SUVs pulled up to the scene, illuminating the scene in red and blue lights. Everyone’s attention landed solely upon them. I seized the opportunity to get out of that situation unnoticed.

Even though I feel like I would have gotten fucked up that day, I don’t particularly regret that day. No one in that crowd was trying to help that woman. It would have been an injustice if not a single person even attempted to stop the violence they’re witness unfold directly in front of them. I would definitely do it again.

But then

On the afternoon of October 1st, 2013, dozens of FBI agents carefully monitored a single man in a public library quietly minding his own business. That man was Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the Silk Road - a famous dark net website which mostly sold illegal drugs and weapons. After constant surveillance and deep investigations, they finally identified the anonymous owner of the website and tracked him down to that public library where he would use Tor to access the dark net. They used the information from their investigation to get a search warrant for his laptop, but they had to make sure that Ross wouldn’t encrypt or destroy his computer before the FBI could get their hands on it. While Ross was in the library, two plainclothes FBI agents pretended to be a couple loudly arguing directly behind him. The exact moment Ross turned around to confront the couple, the FBI took advantage in his lapse of focus and seized his unlocked - laptop while it was logged into Tor. After that, it was trivial for the FBI to incarcerate Ross and he’s currently in jail for the rest of his life [1].

After learning this, I do not try to stop couples who are fighting anymore. I’m afraid they could be the government in disguise. If I try to interfere, I may get arrested for interfering with their operation.

I will mind my own business. I won’t stop fighting couples anymore. If a stranger holds the door open for me, I will enter through a different door. I won’t even return friendly a friendly “hello” to strangers.