Look around for San­dra or Henry

Central Leader - - OPINION -

The ques­tion: ‘‘If you saw a nasty in­ci­dent de­vel­op­ing near you, what would you do – or have you done al­ready ?’’

San­dra Haynes read it in my last col­umn in this news­pa­per and reached for her key­board:

‘‘I was at Beach Haven Wharf one sunny Sun­day af­ter­noon with my two young daugh­ters. A few other fam­i­lies were on the lit­tle beach. I heard a ver­bal do­mes­tic from the grassy area – a cou­ple with young chil­dren.

‘‘The woman in­volved – ob­vi­ously scared – ap­proached fam­i­lies, ask­ing if any­one had a cell­phone so that she could phone the po­lice.

‘‘She’d been beaten by her part­ner be­fore and was scared that it was about to hap­pen again. The fam­i­lies didn’t have cell­phones – and they looked away.

‘‘She asked me if I had cell­phone and un­for­tu­nately didn’t.

‘‘Her part­ner ap­proached us and started yelling at her in front of every­body. My blood boiled red – and all five foot two of me ap­proached this man and told him in no un­cer­tain terms to go away from this beach.

‘‘I told him no­body wanted to hear him and to take his ver­bal abuse some­where else. Thank­fully, af­ter eye­balling me for what seemed a long time, he walked away.

‘‘I was left with shak­ing legs and af­ter­wards thought to my­self that was a dumb thing I did, a mother with my two chil­dren. It could have eas­ily all gone wrong and turned on me – the guy was a lot big­ger than a I me. On re­flec­tion I won­dered if some of the oth­ers on the beach would have come to my aid had it turned nasty?

‘‘My sense of jus­tice made me do it. We should all be able to en­joy an out­ing with­out hav­ing to wit­ness this sort of thing. How­ever, if I had had time to think about the sit­u­a­tion, I don’t know if I would have stood up to this man.

‘‘Well that’s my story. I have done it – and for­tu­nately for me I didn’t get hurt. I can’t say the same for the woman in­volved in the ver­bal do­mes­tic!’’

Henry van Dijk, ‘‘six foot-plus, healthy, fit re­tired busi­ness man’’, Onewa Rd:

‘‘Ev­ery time I read about vi­o­lence of one or more hu­mans on other hu­mans or in­no­cent an­i­mals, my hack­les rise and I know how I would re­act if I was on the spot and was a by­s­tander/ob­server.

‘‘Two op­tions: Race into the scrap and pos­si­bly get in­jured my­self – or be self-pro­tec­tive and turn a blind eye.

‘‘But I know with my train­ing in judo, an ex-Dutch na­tional team rugby player 1950s, and ‘capped’ as well, be­ing an ex-mil­i­tary Spe­cial Forces Green Beret Com­mando Trooper (like SAS), thor­oughly trained in un­armed com­bat against armed op­po­nents, I would most likely dive into the melee.

‘‘Oth­er­wise I’m a very peace­ful char­ac­ter who is ve­gan, doesn’t eat dead an­i­mals. In New Zealand, we have strin­gent rules about ‘over re­act­ing’, and I may not eas­ily stop in sub­du­ing an at­tacker and could get in­volved in an ex­pen­sive and lengthy court pro­ceed­ing.

‘‘To an­swer your ques­tion: I wouldn’t hes­i­tate to help the vic­tim, even bare­handed. Few things feel as good as mak­ing a mas­sive tackle.

‘‘If I saw the prob­lem from my car, I’d take the heavy steer­ing wheel lock with me to op­er­ate a no­holds-barred suc­cess in my and the vic­tim’s favour.’’

Based on their quick re­ac­tion to my ques­tion, if you sud­denly need help, try a quick check around to see whether San­dra or Henry are in earshot – and whether Henry has his all-pur­pose steer­ing wheel lock at hand.

Help­ing hands: Would you step in or watch? Some of our read­ers have no qualms about putting oth­ers be­fore their own safety.

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