Monday, September 29, 2008

Cruel and Unusual

I suppose, given my opinions of a lot of people in this country, that I shouldn't be too surprised by some of the reactions to my post about the guard at Dodger Stadium. Sexism, racism, and just plain stupidity (comparing it to 9/11? Really?) should have been expected. But I'm still a little shocked at some of the responses.

The woman should not have been on the field. And once she fell onto the field, she should not have done anything other than get back to her seat. I have never stated anything other than that. But her behavior does not give security the right to behave the way they did. The idea that they had to stop her "by any means necessary" (which appears to be the opinion of several readers) is ridiculous.

As the last "anonymous" comment on that post says, yes, I did know the situation because I saw it unfold. But as soon as I saw the woman get up, I started watching the security guard. I watched his eyes, saw him see the ball first and the woman next, and then watched as he tackled her. Then, as soon as he threw her on the ground, he grabbed the ball from her hands. He knew that's what she had been after. Otherwise he wouldn't have been so keen to rip the ball from her hands immediately. It was like he took pleasure in making sure she didn't get her prize.

And even if the guard had no idea about the ball, which I doubt, the woman was not running toward the field. At all. So chase her, yes. That's fair. Grab her by the arm. Even grab her in a bear hug to stop her. But I watched this guy go for her neck. He wanted to use the maximum amount of force, and he did. Also, where was his shout of warning? I watched the guy the entire way to the woman, and he never made a sound. Why? Here's an important fact--when he tackled her, she wasn't moving. She had grabbed the ball and was completely stopped, and he clotheslined her. There are no justifications for this behavior.

You can call me hysterical (like the one guy who doesn't even like baseball did; why are you at this site, buddy?) and tell me to stop crying, but I won't apologize for believing that the violence in this case was unnecessary and was perpetrated by a man who believes himself to be better than anyone not wearing a uniform. Berkowit28 asked how I knew the guard had done this before. I guess I should have been more clear. It's not that I have seen or heard about this guy doing this same thing at Dodger Stadium. It's just that, by watching him, I know he's executed this move before, and his willingness to blindly attack without discretion makes me think that this is not the first time he has abused his (faux) authority. His advanced age makes it all the more likely that he has made this move a few times, and maybe sometimes it was even the correct move. On Thursday night at Dodger Stadium, it was not the right thing.

I have heard back from Josh Rawitch of the Dodgers. Understandably, he's pretty busy with the gear-up for the postseason, but he was kind enough to get back to me and say he would follow up when he could get more information. I expect that he will, because Rawitch is that kind of guy. In the meantime, I sent my post to a few columnists at the Los Angeles Times. We'll see if it's of any interest to them. I doubt it, but I guess anything is possible.

The odds are that the Dodgers will not fire this security guard. But I was not just shooting off my mouth when I said that I would boycott the stadium if that man has a job. I'm not happy about it, but I can't go to a place where this kind of behavior is acceptable. I will never find myself on the field in a position to be tackled, but this incident certainly makes it seem like security has the freedom to do as they please. And since they obviously aren't trained or encouraged to judge a situation and react accordingly, anything could happen. And I'm not interested in being there when it does.


Steve Sax said...

Maybe the random commenter thought this was a blog about robots.

In all seriousness, glad to hear that Rawitch got back to you, and interested to hear about the follow-up.

Anonymous said...

The director of security at Dodgers Stadium is under Shahram Ariane who I am told is a former major with IDF Special Forces. You should bring this to his attention.

Anonymous said...

One of the best at Sayeret Matkal.