By the time I opened the door for myself and three somewhat elderly patrons of a local dining establishment not far from where I live, the combatants and would-be peacemakers of a bloody skirmish that had taken place outside were being interviewed and handcuffed by a large group of local gendarmes. It is strange how small choices can greatly impact one’s evening. For me, I enjoyed a nice air-conditioned place where I had a tasty and enjoyable dinner and drank large amounts of water and smaller but still not insubstantial amounts of iced tea. I read part of a book that discussed the tense mood felt on the plains and intermountain West from the people in forts who traded with customers who wanted to kill them.
All things considered, my own role in the kerfuffle was not particularly profound. I observed those things that were within sight from the front door and heard the struggling, which lasted for a considerable portion of time–this was no one punch and done affair, but a fight that lasted for some time. I spoke with some of the witnesses of the breakout of the fight who then came inside to avoid matters–one man sent his fiance inside when the fight broke out and tried to maintain peace at least in the area close to the door and separate some of the combatants while keeping his partner safe, and she stated to me that she did not know what started the fight but that it broke out extremely fast and without any kind of seeming warning.
It was certainly a hard fight to understand. Someone else in the restaurant commented that he had videotaped the fight, and so perhaps it may make the rounds online where people enjoy seeing and commenting on brawling. I remember looking at a commentary of a fight in a New York pizzaria, and this fight at least was not inside, or it would have been considerably too close to comfort. Outside was close enough, and from what I could gather a fair amount of blood was spilled by the combatants, which means that the conflict was serious enough. The fight was serious enough to have ended up calling more than half a dozen police cars and numerous police interrogations that extended along the entire sidewalk of the strip mall where the restaurant was located, where those of us leaving the restaurant to go home were given significant glances by police officers who were trying to decide whether or not to ask us any questions about what happened. Thankfully, that did not happen.
Still, what was visible and what had been seen was significant enough. Apparently a lot of glass was broken–probably belonging to the place where I had an otherwise enjoyable dinner, and probably also accounting for the blood shed by those involved in the fight. One gentleman of at least mostly African-American descent had lost his cell-phone in the brouhaha and despite people trying to hold him back and keep him inside while other people went and got his phone for him, he was in the mood to exchange blows with someone and rushed outside after a few minutes. When I left the restaurants the remains of a dark cake, perhaps for a birthday or some other occasion, were left on the table and there was a general air of ruin. This is to be regretted–I imagine, though, that everyone involved just needed to cool off, but this summer has been rather bad for that so far.