It’s another sad day for baseball fans and compassionate human beings alike as news has broken that yet another person has become the victim of violence following a Los Angeles Dodgers’ game over the weekend. The victim, whose name has not been released, was driving one of the vehicles involved in a fender bender while exiting the parking lot of Dodger Stadium. According to reports, the victim was pulled from his car and held down by three men, assumed to have been riding in a third vehicle, and was repeatedly hit and kicked by the driver of the other car involved in the accident.Stadium security and off-duty uniformed police officers working for the Dodgers responded to the scene quickly and arrested the four men. The victim, along with his pregnant passenger, was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. Meanwhile, the assailants are, as of 12:45 p.m. PT today, still in custody, according to the LAPD and the Los Angeles County Jail. They are awaiting arraignment and are expected to be formally charged with assault with a deadly weapon. (In this instance, given the position of the victim and the number of attackers, feet and hands are considered “deadly weapons.”)
Kudos to the Dodgers and to the City of Los Angeles. Subsequent to the brutal attack on Bryan Stow at their stadium a little over a year ago, the Dodgers’ organization has taken steps in the right direction in an attempt to minimize attacks on their guests as well as apprehend spectators found to be in violation of city law and/or stadium policy. They are one of the few organizations who are permitted to hire off-duty LAPD officers to patrol their premises, in uniform. In addition, they hire undercover officers donning rival team jerseys to be present at every home game. Yet still, the violence continues.
Police and management can only do so much to combat this problem. In this most recent case, they responded as quickly as they were able, an undisputed claim. But they’re only human. Unless an officer happens to be standing in the middle of a brawl (and let’s face it, most people possess the minimal amount of common sense necessary to tell you not to break the law in plain view of a cop or security guard), he/she can only reach the victim as quickly as his/her legs can move. And while surveillance cameras may help, alerting authorities when a potentially dangerous situation arises and often used as evidence ex-post-facto, they are still just devices that can neither prevent nor halt a physical altercation.
The rest is up to us, the fans. It is up to us to absolutely insist upon acceptable behavior from our fellow game-goers. It is up to us to take responsibility for our own actions, and to think before we commit them. It only takes one decision and split seconds to change a life, many lives, including your own. Let’s start making the right ones. Indifference changes nothing. Demand concern. Demand outrage. Demand change.