Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Concerned About a Friend

I'm concerned about a friend. He's a housing inspector for a Southern California county. He conducts most of his inspections in lower income areas with heavy gang activity and violence. He often has to walk past gang members who stare at him menacingly, or they drive slowly along beside him and check him out. Recently, a gang member was evicted from an apartment and, for some reason I don't quite understand, blames my friend for it. He made ominous remarks about my friend to one of my friend's colleagues.

My friend doesn't seem to be concerned. He's the most laid back person I've ever known. He's also an ex-Army officer proficient in martial arts and boxing and, I think, a little too sure of himself. He's not belligerent or anything. In fact, as I said, he's very mild mannered. But he doesn't seem to be afraid of much of anything. I don't know how much of this is courage, and how much is too little awareness of real dangers.

It's good not to be inordinately afraid of people or life. My friend used to train police dogs for a living, and he says it's very important to project authority and not show fear around dogs, especially hostile ones. He thinks the same is true around people who try to intimidate you. It's possible that his attitude will keep him out of trouble. It's also possible that some "tough" guy with a knife or gun will decide to test him. That's a test I hope my friend never has to take, because the chances of failure are too high. And if he flunks the test, he may never get another chance.

I wish his county would furnish him with body armor and allow him to pass a course and carry a firearm for self-protection. That way, if he's ever tested, he might have a better chance of making it home to his beautiful wife and lovely young daughter. But that's not how it works in his county, and, I suspect, most others.

I hope nothing happens to him. It probably won't. But the longer he works at a job like that in a place like that, the more likely it may be that something will happen. If it does, I hope he passes the test and gets to go home to his family.


Jess said...

In my own way, your friend will remain in my thoughts for his safety. LA. is an especially dangerous place, but I would imagine there are some protections available to him through his work place that should keep him safe. It is when they don't take casual remarks like this seriously that scare me. I cry for humanity, that these things could happen to people just out making a living. I have told you about my friend that was injured on her job and had to retire. She was a police officer and someone took her right away to have a good career at a job she apprently loved doing.

dr.alistair said...

it`s not the tough guys you have to worry about, it`s the psychotics. there is a rationale to toughness and your friend understands that. the unprecictable type is where the danger lies.

Nagarjuna said...

Jess, I wish there were protections available to my friend, but it doesn't seem that there are many. It sounds to me like he is basically on his own when he ventures into these gang-infested areas. I can only hope that the gang member who made threatening remarks about him was just blowing hot air.

Dr. Alistair: The psychotics or sociopaths.

dr.alistair said...

sociopaths are those who act without remorse, display anti- establishment behaviours and and have the potential to act impulsively. psychotics tend to be removed from reality in a number of ways that contribute to irrationl and unpredictable behaviour, leaving them at risk for harm to themselves and others.
not knowing which of these people your friend is dealing with in his job i can`t say with any certainty which they would be in his specific situation.