Over a fare dispute? What a sad and disappointing waste of life. My heart goes out to the victim, the shooter, the passersby, the strife and tension that led to the interaction. The world of hospital beds, heart-pounding pavement, glass shards and echos between tall buildings; the sickening feeling of your actions leading ahead of you, going places you know you shouldn't follow, saying things and regretting them all at once... it is no place to be.
Sitting in the back of the 41 last week, I listened to two young men next to me. They were discussing mid- and entry-level positions in the prostitution business, and their thoughts on life as would-be procurers. After a time their conversation drifted to larger concerns.
"'Cause life be movin' fast. But that ain't the nature a life itself, we make it that way. People fillin' up all the time, sayin' they saving time by doin' shit faster but you know is' bullshit. They just as busy as before. More busy even."
"And people wonder why they not happy,"
"Man. People be talkin' about yoga, meditation, fucked-up diets- but it's really just about slowin' the fuck down. That's all it is."
Abstractly speaking, we know how to avoid incidents like what happened today. We all know the rules and stance on fare disputes (avoiding them takes priority over collection). But the insistent weight of the day-to-day makes things harder. When life is cramped with stress, we don't operate at our best; the goodness we know we have escapes us. Priorities stutter and burst out of shape. I regret moments when I've spoken sharply to someone, forgetting what's really important. I have every faith in the abilities of the driver who got hurt today (and is still with us, thank goodness); stress leads us away from who we are. I hope everyone involved has a chance to recover, heal, consider things, slow down... and breathe. Let those priorities gently drift back to where they belong.
We, the ever-changing, ever constant human animal, are better than this. We don't need pugilistic activism or rash, fear-based solutions; we simply need to breathe.