By John Hubbuch
The frontpage of the current version of this week's paper trumpets" Female victim fed up, fights back." That headline kind of overstated the story. The victim refused the robber's demand for money, and then when he grabbed her from behind she struggled and yelled until help came, although the bad guy did get away with the purse and 80 bucks. The headline and Channel 7 played up the fighting back against crime.
The "enough is enough" trope is familiar. Charles Bronson in the "Death Wish" movies, Michael Douglas in "Falling Down" and Jody Foster in "The Brave One" all get at the anger we feel toward criminals who threaten the person and property of good hard working citizens. Like Howard Beale in Network, we're all mad as hell, and we aren't going to take it anymore.
I hope if I am confronted by crime I would be brave enough to fight back like in the movies. But I worry that I would be more like the young Civil War soldier in Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage who when confronted with his first battle simply ran away.
I'm drawn to the heroic narrative, but in the back of mind there's a competing one in which while rolling on the ground my attacker stabs me in the stomach and chest , and as crimson pools all around me, I'm thinking I'll never babysit Lily, or watch TV with Marsha or play golf with the boys ever again. Cowardice has its appeal.