Bloody Fight on AC Transit
Yesterday our Twitter follower wirelesschunk sent us a link to a video of a fight on AC Transit between two men that got so gnarly that blood was all over the seats. The situation started with what seemed like normal conversation and quickly escalated to the men punching each other. It’s hard to see who threw the first punch, but Ok, I watched the video a few more times and it looked like the young black man threw a punch first, but I’m not sure it matters a whole lot in situations like this.
SFist reports that the argument started when the older white man asked the young black man how much he’d charge for a shoe shine, then escalated from there.
Near the end of the video you can hear a woman mutter, “It’s just like on the bus with the black and Asian women!”
Boy, do we remember that one.
In running a transit-related website, we’ve seen what seems like an unusually high level of hostility on the bus. When we posted the video of a black woman and an Asian woman fighting on Muni, it caused such a storm and gave us a lot to think about, namely: should we be posting these videos at all? The racial tension in the fight between the women was palpable, and we interviewed the rider who broke up the fight to get a sense of what was going on. If the report is correct that the older white man asked the young black man about a shoe shine, the racial tension in this fight could be just as explosive.
As much as we all might have our complaints about the bus, riding public transit is a shared community experience — an idea that is the basis of why we started Muni Diaries. So what is with the hostility and intolerance that we seem to encounter more on the bus than anywhere else? We see many positive stories about sharing the public transit experience, but we’ve also seen our fair share of intolerance (chicken story, anyone?)
You’ll notice that we included a link to the video but refrained from embedding the video itself (and yes, we run stories about AC Transit when we get them). As a moderator and editor of the site, I continue to wonder where the line is between creating a space to share transit stories and a space to share gratuitous violence. My worst fear is that videos like this might be creating a new genre of voyeuristic, violent “transit porn.” Do you think videos like this have a place in your daily reading — do people need to see it to understand the tension and violence around us, or are we desensitizing viewers by showing it?
And we realize that public transit isn’t the exclusive domain of hostility and intolerance. But it does seem to be a main venue for the boiling over of violence. Why?