Friday, July 31, 2015

Bike commute assault followup

I was assaulted while bike commuting two days ago. I posted about it on this page. This is a followup to that post.

Tricia pointed out I always wanted a tribal tattoo or some cool ritual scarification. This weird mark, perhaps a shoe print, on my head, has me covered.

Questions I've been asked:
How are you doing? You rode your bike away afterward, so not too bad, right?
I think shock must have helped me ride away. I sure couldn't come close to riding now. Standing up it a real challenge. Walking hurts.

I foolishly didn't take pain meds last night (I guess I want to be tough.) I couldn't get out of my chair. I am amazed how much I hurt. Here's a photo of my bloody knee (as link rather than embedded image so you can skip it.) My cracked rib three fractured ribs aren't as visually dramatic, but it's what causes the most pain. It seems almost every movement we humans make connects to our core, and involves that area.

We all know the definition of "minor injury" is an injury that happens to someone else. I'm sure legally I'm "minor." But it happened to me, so it sure doesn't feel minor. It's difficult to predict the future, but I'm worried about the start of the Los Medanos College semester in two weeks, and wondering how I'll negotiate all that entails.

How am I doing? I wouldn't call it "OK." But I could be a lot worse.

Why didn't you get a better description?
It was all so fast. I rode almost past the two people, seeing only their backs. I could feel, or see in my peripheral vision an explosive move toward me, then boom, I was on the ground, and hurting.  All my memories from this point are disjointed and blurred, like an action sequence in a bad movie. I remember them yelling "Where's your wallet," waving a gun, and reaching into my jersey pocket to grab my phone. I have a flash of a shiny gun, and — this makes no sense — the other person holding, perhaps fumbling, with a hand full of bullets. The next thing I remember was them quickly moving away across the Turner School field, glancing over their shoulders.

I'm not military, nor do I have police training. My athletic-processor brain just isn't that quick (ask my tennis partners) and I wasn't expecting it. I just didn't see much, and I processed even less.

I did get a crime-stopper tip that I hope you'll never need: Note the shoes. People change shirts and jackets when running away, but not shoes. Alas, I remember no shoes.

Why didn't you track your phone?
I tried. As soon as I'd ridden to the hair salon where I called the police and Tricia, I used my laptop, their wi-fi and iCloud to "Find my iPhone." The bad guys had turned it off. It can't work with the phone off. I tried many times throughout the day, but never got a signal.

iCloud has a feature you can set that  issues a command to wipe (delete all data) on the phone next time it connects to the internet, which pretty much means next time it's turned on. I used that feature. I also set it to display "Please return to Los Medanos College Police Services."  In theory that's all it can do now. At around 1 A.M. I got an email informing me my phone was being erased. The date time on the message says 4:16. I'm not sure if that's PST or Eastern, or if it matters.



My phone also had a long password, so I'm reasonably sure my data isn't compromised.

Perhaps I should have used the "lost phone" feature that merely locks the phone and displays a message I could choose. It also would have reported the phone location to me. But I was still in a bit of shock, and was thinking it was more important I do what I could to not let any data fall into the wrong hands. And, really, are the police going to come screaming down upon some location I give them? I certainly wasn't going to go there and ask for my phone back.

My phone was insured, and a new one is on the way. I had a large deductible and need a new protective case, so I am out a bit of money.

I was surprised how smoothly dealing with Sprint, my cell carrier, was. The woman I spoke with was kind, sympathetic and made the process easy. The insurance part was a simple web page. Perhaps that's really all bad news in that so many phones are stolen they have the process down.

Are you going to keep riding your bike, and riding this trail?
I'm telling myself this isn't a good time to make decisions. Sure, I'll ride as soon as I can. How I'll commute, I just don't know. There really aren't any good alternate routes.  And, ironically, in the last two weeks Los Medanos College installed a very nice paved connector between the trail and campus. I'd been advocating for his path for years. Can I really not use it? I don't know what I'll do. I'm postponing decision making.

Could you have prevented this? Can you be more safe?
I've asked myself this again and again. I don't know. Do I reverse course whenever I see two young men if I'm alone? Is that practical? How unsafe is this area? Am I riding through a truly dangerous area every day?  I just do not know.

I know that if I'd had pepper spray, a baton or a Taser it wouldn't have helped. They'd likely have taken it away and used it on me. And heck, they had a gun. A GUN! That's option-limiting. I'm not a quick-draw artist. If I had a gun I'd have to ride with it in my hand to be ready. What could possibly go wrong? A gun just does not seem practical, or even a remotely good idea.

Friends
People have been so nice to me. And even though I'm a grumpy old guy, having my friends, relatives, and even people I don't know, reach out with a kind word, a short email, or a Facebook comment has made a me feel so much better. I really enjoyed the Editable Arrangement from Jaime and Ganesh. The fruit was good, and I used the helium to make my voice sound like a chipmunk. Tricia's taking good care of me, and even my kids Erin and Eddie came over to visit.

I got a wonderful get-better treat from Jaime and Ganesh! It's an Editable Arrangement and it's here just in time for lunch. 


I can't really move, so blogging and Facebook have been wonderful ways to fill the day with something more intellectually active than watching TV.

My questions about crime and life in general
Has Antioch come to the point where a 61 year old professor can be assaulted, injured, held up at gunpoint and it's just business as usual? I don't expect the PD to conduct a house to house search. Heck, I don't know what I'd like done. But the apparent fact that this is not a big deal at all makes me sad. That means it's not news. It's something that happens all the time. And that frightens me.

There's an old story that goes "How do you boil a frog?" The answer is that you start with cool water and then slowly turn up the heat. The frog doesn't notice until it's too late and can't get out. (Apparently this isn't really true, in reality the frogs just jump out.)  But I'm wondering about Antioch and myself. I love my house, I love teaching at Los Medanos College. I love being able to ride my bike to work. But at what point is enough too much? When did some Jews realize things were going south in Germany and bail out? Is it silly to stay, or silly to plan to spend money I don't have to move to somewhere that's farther away from work and that would give me an unpleasant commute (in a car!)?

And what about my fellow man? Do I live in fear of young men? Of people with short hair? Of people about 5'6"? Of people with any of the surface attributes my attackers have? What's prudent? What's paranoid?

My good friend Trine is so positive about, well, everything. She points out that while Antioch has problems, there are also numerous kind and caring people here. I'm trying to channel her good attitude. But, I find myself asking not if there are good people here, but rather, have we've reached a critical mass of not-well-meaning people? What is the tipping point?  Are we there or past it? As the Clash sang back in the 80s, should I stay or should I go?

19 comments:

  1. Curtis the questions asked of you about what you could or could not have done differently I think are off base. You did nothing wrong. Heal up both physically and mentally. I'm pulling for you.

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  2. I was hit by a pickup truck mirror. He was doing 45 mph and had an open lane to his left . So I believe I was assaulted. I did yoga to help with the hurt and to keep loose. With Vicodin and time the hurt went away and I ride past the place where I was hit on my training rides. It is difficult to ride anywhere but on a trail but even there there are wild pigs, venomous snakes a big spiders.

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    1. Crapola! Wild pigs and snakes !? That makes the hoards of ground squirrels here hardly worth noting. Big spiders too? Are you riding in the Amazon or what? Yikes, and good luck.

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  3. You're right that your options are limited when they have a gun. My dad (the retired detective) says you mostly just do as they ask when the bad guy has a gun.

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  4. What could you have done differently? Of course you have to ask that kind of question. Perhaps a way of thinking about this is to accept that this was not your fault, but that there are ways you can be safer going forward. You get to decide what those will be - and that will make you feel more in control, and that'll be a good feeling.

    Maybe I'm going to think about some of those things too now.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Curtis, in a situation like you experienced, its easy for us on the outside to perhaps suggest things that one could have done, but in a situation that happens so quickly, I'm not sure any one of us could have done any differently. Your photos are very vivid and I am sure sorry you had to experience this. I don't know you but being a cyclist myself, this hurts..Darn little thugs.. Certainly hope they get caught.. I'm sure they will be bragging to their friends and hopefully a friend will do the right thing. Take good care. Heal physically and mentally. And don't stop riding. Your story has confirmed that I will NOT ride the De Anza path in the area you were in and I'll take my chances with the cars on the street. Hang in there

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    1. I'm a bit worried about that section behind Hudson Court, and a few spots in Pittsburg. I usually take Buchanan instead of teh trail when I'm riding to BART. I'll bet it would have been different had I not been alone. You keep riding too! Thanks fo rteh comment.

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  7. I get it, Curtis -- the second guessing & noodling through the event. And how scary, a gun. Yikes! I have no answers to your questions; I'd be asking myself the same ones. I hope your pain abates and you continue with a speedy recovery.

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  8. You did all the right things in the situation. Don't second guess yourself, just heal up. I'm glad you're going to be ok.

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  9. I'm in shock to hear what happened to you. I, too, agree you did everything right in a situation in which you had no control. In time I know you'll do what is right for you. Until then, take the time to heal in body and mind. You've been important in my growth in knowledge and photo skills. I'm thankful you're here my friend.

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  10. I am so sorry to hear what happened to you. I really appreciate you sharing your story. I know sometimes it helps to speak of it but each time you do you re-live it to a certain degree. A few weeks ago someone threw something at me from a car while I was biking in Brentwood. I almost lost my balance but it was the feeling I got. I called 911 but only got a poor description of the car, I spoke with the operator but after she asked all these questions I realized I had not much of a description. I wasn't hurt like you but still was shaken up. It sucks. Your question of should I stay or should I go, or rather should I keep doing it or stop for fear of it happening again. This question is something that I grapple with and I just want to thank you for sharing your story.

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  11. It is truly sad that something like this happened to you. These types of snakes acts are happening everywhere not just in Antioch. Km originally from Chicago where we have alleys and I would never walk down the alley. When I moved to California I noticed all of the trails they reminded me of prettier alleys I've been in California almost 30 years now and I still have never used a trail. It's too secluded and there is always room for a potential danger. Crime is becoming ever so bold but as best you can you want to be in the open and around people. I'm not saying you're at fault for what has happened to you at all. These are some criminal juvenile delinquents period. Times are getting worse protect yourself by thinking ahead. The element of surprise always give the criminal the upper hand. I've noticed that here in California everybody thinks that crime happens somewhere else not here in Antioch, not here in Blackhawk, not here, yes here. And as people move around and become familiar with Antioch, not to mention that the bart is expanding again which is how everyone became familiar with the east bay in the in the first place ( because when I first moved here no one had a clue what I was talking about) more and more purple of all types will be showing up. ( And not just people on section 8 either) some will come just to commit a crime and go back where they came from). It's important to remember that this is what the rest of the world has been experiencing and now the rest of the world has discovered Antioch get used to it, get ready and be prepared as best you can. You will have to adjust because moving away will not always help criminals live everywhere. And if they don't live there they will visit that's what criminals do. And I do hope you get better I'm so sorry that shouldn't happen to anyone

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  12. It is truly sad that something like this happened to you. These types of snakes acts are happening everywhere not just in Antioch. Km originally from Chicago where we have alleys and I would never walk down the alley. When I moved to California I noticed all of the trails they reminded me of prettier alleys I've been in California almost 30 years now and I still have never used a trail. It's too secluded and there is always room for a potential danger. Crime is becoming ever so bold but as best you can you want to be in the open and around people. I'm not saying you're at fault for what has happened to you at all. These are some criminal juvenile delinquents period. Times are getting worse protect yourself by thinking ahead. The element of surprise always give the criminal the upper hand. I've noticed that here in California everybody thinks that crime happens somewhere else not here in Antioch, not here in Blackhawk, not here, yes here. And as people move around and become familiar with Antioch, not to mention that the bart is expanding again which is how everyone became familiar with the east bay in the in the first place ( because when I first moved here no one had a clue what I was talking about) more and more purple of all types will be showing up. ( And not just people on section 8 either) some will come just to commit a crime and go back where they came from). It's important to remember that this is what the rest of the world has been experiencing and now the rest of the world has discovered Antioch get used to it, get ready and be prepared as best you can. You will have to adjust because moving away will not always help criminals live everywhere. And if they don't live there they will visit that's what criminals do. And I do hope you get better I'm so sorry that shouldn't happen to anyone

    ReplyDelete
  13. It is truly sad that something like this happened to you. These types of snakes acts are happening everywhere not just in Antioch. Km originally from Chicago where we have alleys and I would never walk down the alley. When I moved to California I noticed all of the trails they reminded me of prettier alleys I've been in California almost 30 years now and I still have never used a trail. It's too secluded and there is always room for a potential danger. Crime is becoming ever so bold but as best you can you want to be in the open and around people. I'm not saying you're at fault for what has happened to you at all. These are some criminal juvenile delinquents period. Times are getting worse protect yourself by thinking ahead. The element of surprise always give the criminal the upper hand. I've noticed that here in California everybody thinks that crime happens somewhere else not here in Antioch, not here in Blackhawk, not here, yes here. And as people move around and become familiar with Antioch, not to mention that the bart is expanding again which is how everyone became familiar with the east bay in the in the first place ( because when I first moved here no one had a clue what I was talking about) more and more purple of all types will be showing up. ( And not just people on section 8 either) some will come just to commit a crime and go back where they came from). It's important to remember that this is what the rest of the world has been experiencing and now the rest of the world has discovered Antioch get used to it, get ready and be prepared as best you can. You will have to adjust because moving away will not always help criminals live everywhere. And if they don't live there they will visit that's what criminals do. And I do hope you get better I'm so sorry that shouldn't happen to anyone

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  14. Phone password does nothing, it doesn't encrypt the data, only works when os is on. Data easily retrievable, but they don't care about that, they just wipe it, and toss the sim if it has one, than either keep and use it or sell it. Problem with all these little beaner kids in california, and the niggers tok but they're too lazy to ride a bike for this shit.

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  15. Anonymous1:04 AM

    You would've been fine, sober off the drugs and be a man and stop making typical californoa pussy excuses. Probably why you got robbed in the first place cuz they knew you were a weak ass coward. Libtard shit makes you feel special but gets u killed in the end.

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  16. Anonymous1:40 PM

    Odd that your assault/theft doesn't seem to show up on the SpotCrime map for Antioch. https://www.spotcrime.com/ca/antioch

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    1. I'm not surprised. I don't think Antioch wants the crime stat. They say it's not really their jurisdiction as it's an East Bay Regional Parks trail. I'll bet it never shows up anywhere.

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