Confrontation on the MBTA - Why "Refuse to Be a Victim" is a Valuable Course

Len-2A Training

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The following event occurred on the MBTA Red Line Saturday night on my way back to Braintree. It is a valuable lesson on why a course such as NRA's Refuse to Be a Victim" is a valuable tool to have in one's arsenal when things go sideways but deadly force is not justified.

My Wife and I went into Boston for "Outside the Box" after my Range Duty at Braintree R&P this past Saturday afternoon. Refusing to drive into Boston, we took the T in and out.

On the way back (~9PM) the subway car was crowded and I ended up standing at a doorway.

Suddenly I hear a very loud and uncivil argument between 2 men, one in his mid-20s and the other one probably 50-60 yo. I did not see what occurred prior to the boisterous accusations, so from a perspective of "who created the problem", I have no idea. After it was all over, the one remaining person (older guy) voiced his opinion of what started it. This occurred at the other end of the car and emergency call buttons were at both ends but due to the crowd the only one I could see was very close to the two <verbal> combatants, thus unsafe for anyone to activate within view of both parties (you suddenly could get attacked by one or both). [I never noticed the second location until after the confrontation was over and the car was no longer crowded.]

I kept my eyes riveted on the two of them, in case something physical broke out. What I saw was the following:

- A number of people told them to calm down. It didn't work. When the 4-letter words started flying some folks asked them to knock off the swearing as there were a few children in the car. Didn't work either.
- There was an empty seat separating the two men. [If it was empty before the confrontation, it doesn't square with the older man's "excuse" for the confrontation. See that below.]
- Suddenly a young woman (early 20s is my guess) got up from near where I was and sat down separating the two arguing men. She did try talking them down, but I couldn't hear anything she said as I was standing too far away. They started yelling at each other over her.
- At one point one or both got up and it looked like it was going to be fists (or weapons if either had one). Luckily they both sat down and eventually lowered their yelling.
- The younger man got off with his boyfriend and then the older one ranted on about what he alleges happened. He claimed that the other man had taken up all the seats so that he didn't have a place to sit down. No idea if this was true or he just didn't like the lifestyle of the younger man??
- The young lady came back to her original seat, was very distraught and mentioned that she just couldn't let this sort of thing "happen" and broke into tears.
- Finally the 2nd man got off at his stop.
- I went over to the young lady and told her that she had done something very brave. I did NOT say "good" or "stupid" as she was in tears and rubbing it in wouldn't help.

Monday morning quarterbacking - I should have offered her a free course in Refuse to Be a Victim where she could learn that jumping into that sort of situation could have been fatal. If one of them had a knife, she likely would have been hurt. Avoiding the situation when you have no means of self-defense would have been smarter.

Perhaps she thought her good looks might convince the younger guy to just apologize and then set his attention on her. Yes, she was a good looking blond and no I didn't take any pictures. Too bad he pitched for the other team, he might have missed out on something good.

Personally I realized that I should have been carrying something more than a firearm! However the OC I carry when I work has a safety that I would never trust to carry around all the time and the tiny ones with a better safety aren't something that I would consider adequate to carry.
 

drgrant

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I think I witnessed this a half dozen or so times on subway cars, 2 men usually hurr durring it out... lol. Welcome to the T.

-Mike
 
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In the early 2000's i would usually grab the last redline on the weekend nights home, it was not at all unusual to see fist fights on that train it happened so often i started to get numb to it. but aware. the girl was dumb, when 2 grown men go at it she could have been trampled or worse.
 

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- I went over to the young lady and told her that she had done something very brave. I did NOT say "good" or "stupid" as she was in tears and rubbing it in wouldn't help.
I'd go with stupid as she was relying on male chivalry not to get hurt. This is dumb as chivalry is dead after women killed it.
 

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I think I witnessed this a half dozen or so times on subway cars, 2 men usually hurr durring it out... lol. Welcome to the T.

-Mike
In the early 2000's i would usually grab the last redline on the weekend nights home, it was not at all unusual to see fist fights on that train it happened so often i started to get numb to it. but aware. the girl was dumb, when 2 grown men go at it she could have been trampled or worse.
There was a family from TX sitting in front of me (first time in Boston and first time on any public transit) and she told them "this happens all the time" and that she "couldn't let it happen"!

Yes, it was all bluster but like Todd said, she could easily have been badly hurt if it escalated above that.

I used to ride the red line or commuter rail regularly many years ago either for work or grad school. Never saw any fights but did see some pretty strange happenings.
 

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2 random strangers fighting with each other isn't a situation worth getting involved in unless/until it looks like one of them is going to get seriously hurt, i.e. things are going way too far. It's also a situation that's very unlikely to result in the bystanders also getting injured beyond maybe a few bumps for the folks standing too close. 'Tis life when people choose to live and exist so close to one another.

I get the sense that this broad would puke all over any course in any way associated with the NRA and besides, you can't teach common sense anyway.
 

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2 random strangers fighting with each other isn't a situation worth getting involved in unless/until it looks like one of them is going to get seriously hurt, i.e. things are going way too far. It's also a situation that's very unlikely to result in the bystanders also getting injured beyond maybe a few bumps for the folks standing too close. 'Tis life when people choose to live and exist so close to one another.

I get the sense that this broad would puke all over any course in any way associated with the NRA and besides, you can't teach common sense anyway.
RTBAV is the one NRA course that has nothing to do with firearms. However, I suspect that you are correct. And you are right, when one "can't let it happen" even if it is happening 25' away from you and you aren't involved, it is unlikely that anything you could say or teach would change that person's behavior until they either get hurt or killed.
 

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Would you have sprayed OC in a crowded subway car? Or do you think that would have created a bunch of victims that couldn't see or breath and a plethora of ambulances and fire trucks?????
 

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Would you have sprayed OC in a crowded subway car? Or do you think that would have created a bunch of victims that couldn't see or breath and a plethora of ambulances and fire trucks?????
Ambulances and fire trucks for OC? [rofl] I think what Len is suggesting is if it escalated (and it didn't, in this case) OC would have been a decent intermediate option.

-Mike
 
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lol I take the T every day and see heated verbal exchanges on a fairly regular basis, and have seen fist fights on a few occasions. I stay out of it and for all I care people can kill each other all they want. If/when their fight invades my personal space I'll act as necessary to protect myself or any other innocent people within a very small radius of me.

Seeing the dregs of society that ride these cattle cars once you get just outside of rush hour, I honestly just don't give a shit about any of them enough to even think about intervening in any way unless they force me to become involved.

To me, refusing to be a victim in such circumstances means me putting distance between the scumbags and myself. I have got off the train before and got back on in a different car (done this many times). I'd much prefer to go home to my family than find myself tangled up the problems of welfare shitbag trash on the T. If moving away is not at all possible, I know I have a weapon and will use it if I have to.
 

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Ambulances and fire trucks for OC? [rofl] I think what Len is suggesting is if it escalated (and it didn't, in this case) OC would have been a decent intermediate option.

-Mike
I think he's been watching too much TV and news stories.

Unless you have the "fire hose" version of OC, only maybe the people immediately to the right and left of a target will get the immediate effect. And ERs and ambulances are hardly required for OC mitigation. My guess is that he's never even been near anyone that was sprayed.

Besides see my response below.


lol I take the T every day and see heated verbal exchanges on a fairly regular basis, and have seen fist fights on a few occasions. I stay out of it and for all I care people can kill each other all they want. If/when their fight invades my personal space I'll act as necessary to protect myself or any other innocent people within a very small radius of me.

Seeing the dregs of society that ride these cattle cars once you get just outside of rush hour, I honestly just don't give a shit about any of them enough to even think about intervening in any way unless they force me to become involved.

To me, refusing to be a victim in such circumstances means me putting distance between the scumbags and myself. I have got off the train before and got back on in a different car (done this many times). I'd much prefer to go home to my family than find myself tangled up the problems of welfare shitbag trash on the T. If moving away is not at all possible, I know I have a weapon and will use it if I have to.
I agree with you but I'm not going to protect those around me either, only my Wife and I. The rest can fend for themselves. If we are threatened it helps to have something other than a gun, but unless threatened directly by what is going on, I'm not getting involved.
 
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A lot of what happens on the T is the result of pent up hostilities from previous encounters and has nothing to do with the current situation. I once had a woman refuse to move over and provide space for other passengers. She clung to the pole with all her strength and strongly stated that she was "holding her ground" and "wasn't about to budge for anyone". Packed train and this loon was clearly projecting something that happened on a prior ride. There is a lot of Krrrazy riding the public transportation system. You never know who is all there and who is bat shit out of their mind krazy.

I've had a few verbal scuffles and one almost physical altercation. The physical one was the result of a dumbass trying to push his way on to a rush hour train while everyone tried to get off rather than waiting. I walked right through him and he went ballistic. The rider behind me was 6'2" 260 and simply picked the jerk up and tossed him to the side. As he walked by me he smiles and says "can't let people push you around like that, have to put them in their place". The people who ride the T every day generally get it.

The verbal stuff is usually bc two people think they are entitled to the same space and blame the other for invading their own "personal space". Lot of stupid on the MBTA too. I had a lady on the red line sit next to me and spend ten minutes staring at me, the seat then me, the seat. Finally I said "Is there something I can help you with?" She says "yeah, you are taking up too much room". Now I'm 5'9" and maybe 165-170 on a good day and I can tell you that if I take up too much space then this lady has a serious problem but there she was insisting that I "make myself smaller".

You can't fix stupid and you can explain krazy.
 
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SERE

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The following event occurred on the MBTA Red Line Saturday night on my way back to Braintree. It is a valuable lesson on why a course such as NRA's Refuse to Be a Victim" is a valuable tool to have in one's arsenal when things go sideways but deadly force is not justified.

I kept my eyes riveted on the two of them, in case something physical broke out.

Len,

isn't this just as much a concern? My concern is always whether the fight is a distraction of something bigger happening or about to happen. Thanks for sharing.

Matt
 

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I think he's been watching too much TV and news stories.

Unless you have the "fire hose" version of OC, only maybe the people immediately to the right and left of a target will get the immediate effect. And ERs and ambulances are hardly required for OC mitigation. My guess is that he's never even been near anyone that was sprayed.

Besides see my response below.




I agree with you but I'm not going to protect those around me either, only my Wife and I. The rest can fend for themselves. If we are threatened it helps to have something other than a gun, but unless threatened directly by what is going on, I'm not getting involved.


Lol, yes maybe watching to much TV.....
I have used OC but not in an enclosed area. I'm ass-u-ming that more than just the one or two combatants would be affected by the spray, which sometimes tends to have others feel affected too.
Not far fetched...
 

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in situations like this, from what i can see from the internet, the correct response as a bystander is to whip out your cellphone and start recording while yelling "worldstar! worldstar!"
 
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in situations like this, from what i can see from the internet, the correct response as a bystander is to whip out your cellphone and start recording while yelling "worldstar! worldstar!"
And all I've been yelling was "do it, do it"!
 
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Would you have sprayed OC in a crowded subway car? Or do you think that would have created a bunch of victims that couldn't see or breath and a plethora of ambulances and fire trucks?????
Ambulances and fire trucks for OC? [rofl] I think what Len is suggesting is if it escalated (and it didn't, in this case) OC would have been a decent intermediate option.

-Mike
You mean AMBER LAMPS?

Epic Beard Man movie?!?

67 year old beats down a 'thug'
 

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Refuse to be a victim - Don't ride the T.

Just sayin.

I don't ride the T for the same reason I avoid certain neighborhoods/cities. The T is often a cesspool. I have never been on even the Red line without seeing at least one dirtball.
 

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I could not stand riding the T 35 years ago - can't imagine how bad it is now.
It's better now than it was. But depending on the line, the time of day, and where you go it can turn into a Jerry Springer, WorldStar & The People of Walmart extravaganza. I find it funny how thin skinned suburbanites are about riding the MBTA. It's like the Shining, crazy pictures in a book that won't harm you 99% of the time.
 

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I do sometimes use the T, but I stand. Back in the early 90's I saw a fragrant vagrant get up from a seat and... well, lets just say he left a bit of himself behind...

I've seen several T fights, usual ebt chicas, and ALL have been on the red line.
 

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Refuse to be a victim - Don't ride the T.

Just sayin.

I don't ride the T for the same reason I avoid certain neighborhoods/cities. The T is often a cesspool. I have never been on even the Red line without seeing at least one dirtball.
I used to ride the T (commuter rail or red line0 going to grad school or working downtown) and if you keep your wits about you it really isn't too bad on those two lines. Now the few times I had to do one stop to/from Ruggles to/from Back Bay stations on the orange line were scary and this was only during rush hours, but last time I did that was 2001 when working in IT at Simmons College.

In 2013 when we went to Outside the Box (like we did this year), we cycled around for parking and ended up paying $20 parking under my Wife's office building and walking a mile to the Boston Common and this was on a Saturday. Wasn't doing that again, so we took the Red Line from Braintree. It's probably been a few years since I was on the T last prior to this.


It's better now than it was. But depending on the line, the time of day, and where you go it can turn into a Jerry Springer, WorldStar & The People of Walmart extravaganza. I find it funny how thin skinned suburbanites are about riding the MBTA. It's like the Shining, crazy pictures in a book that won't harm you 99% of the time.
It's really not that bad on the lines I would travel and the hours I would travel. You just keep your wits about you. Standing in a doorway is oftentimes the smartest way to travel on the T, be observant and avoid the wackos, changing cars if needed.
 

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I've been taking the redline m-f for the last 15 years. Made a few modifications to adapt to the changing times. I've switched to a retention holster and carry the "gel" pepper spray now. I've seen my share of fights, heart attacks, feinting, but the one that takes the cake was the birth in 2003. I remember getting to my office and asking the janitor for the key to the supply room to hose off my shoes....good times! story here

We need a MBTA megathread for those of us who brave it daily.
 

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The last time I rode the red line was about a year ago, I observed an MBTA worker that was just getting off of work board the train. She eyed the seats carefully, found some discarded newspapers and put them on top of the seat she intended to sit in. She paused for several seconds then sat down on the newspapers.

She saw us looking at her and felt compelled to explain: The plastic seats with dark carpet upholstery hide stains she said...and hold wetness too. More than once she's sat in a puddle of questionable liquids, including urine, at the end of her shift and this was her method to limit the occurrence of that unpleasantness.

I hate public transportation, and I prefer to stand.
 
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