Sunday, November 24, 2013
A Man's Worst Nightmare
Has anybody been following this story about the NYC Cop who caught a savage beating outside a Queens diner, while some guy cell-phoned the pummeling, then put it on You Tube and Facebook where it went viral? If you haven’t read the story, click here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2509184/NYPD-sergeant-Mohammed-Deen-beaten-inch-life-Queens.html. And if you think you can take it, here’s the link to the You Tube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvKflR6vltI. For countless reasons this story has haunted me all week. And suddenly I remember why I never said boo to anybody at the bars. Back in my going-out days, if some guy got in my face (‘You got a problem?’ drunken thug barks because he’s looking for a fight for any reason in the world), I always put my head down and walked the other way. ‘Hey, Brian, you’re a wimp.’ Oh, OK, but I still have both eyes and all my teeth.
Our friend, the Sgt. from Queens Mohammad Deen, was not so lucky. With his wife watching and screaming for the attacker to stop, he took a beating for the ages. I don’t mean he lost a tough street fight and walked away with ego bruised. I mean he was humiliated then eviscerated then ambulanced away on a stretcher where he was placed in a medically-induced coma, an inch from losing his life. There were no weapons, just good old fashioned bare knuckle, and by some accounts Deen had initiated the conflict earlier at a nearby nightclub. Some have even suggested he played big-shot cop to the wrong guy, a lunatic named Hayden Holder, who followed Deen to the diner, and the rest is history.
Before we go further, I will tell you Deen’s going to make a full recovery, albeit a long one, but I don’t know how a man ever comes back from that, especially when that man is a cop (the most testosterone-ish job on the planet) and double especially when the video of your whipping was viewed by millions on Facebook and You Tube. How does a man ever come back from that? Hayden Holder took everything from Officer Deen last Saturday night. When Deen’s back in business I can’t think of any situation where he’d publically puff his chest again. I don’t know how his wife could ever look at him as a protector again after watching from five feet away as some muscled thug treated him like a piñata. How could she? Am I wrong, ladies? Even death wouldn’t work as the easy way out here. If he’d died on that street, Deen would forever be the cop who got beaten to death on You Tube. Beaten. To. Death. Imagine living your whole life and going out like that? A man's worst nightmare.
As for the assailant, Hayden Holder, who’s inside with no bail set, facing attempted murder charges, the NYPD has already reported he’s on suicide watch. Yeah. OK. Seems like a reasonable thing to leak on a guy you’ll soon kill then make it look like an accident. Incarcerated. No bail. On tape spitting in a cop’s face as he lay in an unconscious heap, then trying to punch into the car and attack his terrified wife, who he would've instantly killed, I'm sure. Holder’s gone. He’s dead. RIP, Hayden Holder.
One of our very good friends is a downstate cop. I don’t mean one of those tools who flashes his small-town badge around and drunk drives 90mph through red lights on the weekends, because he can. He’s the other kind of cop, the kind who changes the room’s temperature when he enters it, and if this had ever happened to HIS partner, he’d personally put the guy in the ground. I don't mean that as a metaphor.
One night, outside Sadie’s way back, I played the part of tough guy. Going way-way-way outside character, I got in some guy’s face in a manner that suggested I wanted to fight. For the record, I didn’t, but I knew he didn’t. He wasn’t as big as me and a bit younger. I had him over the psychological barrel, so to speak, but if he’d raged up I probably would’ve wilted. He just didn’t. Oh yeah, his girlfriend (very cute girlfriend) was with him. Anyway, I punked him down, as the lingo goes. And as he slunk away, tail between his legs, I made a comment about collecting his girlfriend for myself. I’ll never forget the look of defeat that filled his eyes. And I’ll never ever forget the way she looked at him. She just found out Santa and the Easter Bunny were both fake, in the same crushing moment. And together they walked off, around the corner, and gone.
I hated myself for doing that. I still hate myself for it. If I could have that moment back, I would’ve let him drop me on the sidewalk and go off a hero. It’s weird, looking back, I would prefer to lose my shirt then to live with knowing the hurt I potentially inflicted that night, over nothing. This kid wasn't some hippie, Phish fan guy who could shrug it off because violence wasn't his rack. He was the Abercrombie and gelled hair and veiny arms of a gym rat. It hurt him what happened. I hate myself for it. Maybe that's actually a man's worst nightmare, having to live with the crap you caused in the world.