Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oh, Brothers

The death of Chad Brothers, 32, at the Gold’s Gym in Latham will bring about another round of debate on police brutality. In case you haven’t heard, Brothers, 6’1” 240lbs, and full of muscles, reportedly launched into a tirade at 6.18AM on Monday Morning, punching an innocent man, tossing 45lb dumbbells, tipping over 700lb Universal Machines, and tearing a gym office to shreds. I know. Who can get so mad about anything at 6.18? Long story short, the cops were called, the tasers came, Brothers wrestled with a female cop, more tasers, and he went into cardiac arrest, was later pronounced dead at Albany Medical. Cause of death? We shall see.

Everyone I have spoken with about Chad, those who knew him, all describe him as a nice guy, and are utterly shocked and saddened this is how his too-short life abruptly ended. Was it a Roid Rage? Was he on some other crazy thing that made him snap and trash a public gym? We shall see with toxicology, I suppose. It is a tragedy of titanic proportions, no doubt, but I must side with the cops, and defend their use of force in this situation, if the reports are correct on it.

Here’s the deal: Every day when you walk out that door, you’re putting yourself to the test of life, and life is hard. It takes smarts, toughness, and a lot of will power to get through. A football analogy: You can’t fumble the ball, throw INT’s, rack up dumb penalties, and still come out on top. As Tom Coughlin would say, “Can’t win in this league doing that.” So if you decide to bust up a gym, punch an innocent patron in the face, throw dumbbells around, attack a cop, trash an office, resist arrest, all this after leaving the gym twice then coming back for more, you have to be ready to accept the societal consequences attached. Sometimes those consequences are fatal. It's sad but true.

If you allow yourself to lose control like that, whether it’s from a Roid Rage or because you had a fight with your girl, or who knows what, understand that you are handing your fate to someone else, willingly doing it, and if only you or that person can survive, understand that that other person is going to do whatever it takes to survive. In a world where we are at the mercy of a thousand external things that can blindside a life, or even end it, there’s no way you can go ballistic like this, and guarantee you are going to live to tell about it. Can’t do it.

If you want to blame the cops, that’s OK. If you want to say they were excessive, since this man was technically unarmed, that’s your right. But imagine a 240lb man, built like a backhoe from all accounts, throwing dumbbells, trashing equipment, operating cyclone style, and you’re the one who has to shut him down safely. Trust me, the blue uniform and 40K a year salary won’t mean anything, so don’t tell me “That’s their job.” It’s me against you. It’s survive or die, because for all those cops knew, this man wasn’t going to stop until somebody was dead, which was the result here. What would you do? Talk him off the ledge? Talk? Please. Restrain with hands? Huh? What would you do? I applaud the cops for not putting a bullet in him, for trying to finish the situation with tasers alone. In this country, you touch a cop, especially a female cop, game over.

And before you claim the tasers were too much, understand Chad Brothers, at one point, tasered himself, according to reports, and that might’ve triggered his cardiac arrest. Maybe. This man was so cartoonishly out of control from all accounts, that you almost have to entertain the theory his was a wildly misguided act of suicide. Maybe. It’s a tragedy, of course, but no way did those cops do anything wrong. If you’re one of those who want to question a cop’s training, or lack thereof after this, understand they were facing a muscle-bound man in full maniac mode. How else do you propose stopping that? How do you train for that? It’s survive or die, sorry to say.

Many years ago, I was out on the town, it was late-late, about 2AM, and a man about Chad Brothers’ size and description lost his temper, started tossing bar stools, making threats, talking violence. By all appearances, this volcano of rage was ready to erupt, majorly. At the time, my friend was a bouncer at this bar, a huge guy he was, always ready to get physical if the situation called for it. (Ironically he is currently a trainer at this same Gold's Gym.) With his fellow bouncers, they circled around this one-man gang, waiting for the right moment to spring. In every one of their eyes, I saw wide, white fear. Because the possibility of somebody dying right then and there was very, very real. I had never been more nervous for my friend, for myself, for everyone there.

Eventually they talked this maniac down, got him out of there before a bloodletting was unleashed, but my friend, one of the toughest guys I know, was shaken, shaken bad, and afterward, he admitted he was shaken, super relieved that he didn’t have to deal with that nut job at 2AM, even with three 250lb monsters behind him.

I can only imagine the multiplied fear if that same man happened to be throwing concrete dumbbells at people, flipping over 700lb machines like picnic tables. I can’t imagine having to stop that freight train. Life is too hard to get through without giving it away to craziness like that. If there’s any lesson in this, it should be that. If there’s any blame in this, it should be there. We are already at the mercy of so many earthly forces, some for us, most against us. And sometimes when you walk out that door, looking for a death fight with the world, well . . . you may find it, and find it fast. This is a sad, sad thing that happened.

Read More: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Chief-Tasers-justified-2244581.php

Read More: http://www.troyrecord.com/articles/2011/11/01/news/doc4eaf71b50f7e8647723707.txt

Brian Huba

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