Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Sad State of Affairs

I saw this disturbing story as a video clip on local tv tonight, but cannot find anything else about it, so I am writing an eulogy for Enrique, a hero for some very lucky girl in Queens, New York. I know nothing about him, except for a short time he was very brave.

I’m above my body now and can see all the people walking by, pretending I’m not laying on the sidewalk bleeding to death. My eyes are half open and I can see the flash as someone takes my picture. Why don’t they call for help? Can’t they see I can’t help myself?

My mind goes back to last week. “I can’t keep you on. Business is flat, and I have to let you go.” My employer knew I was down to my last dime. He hasn’t been able to pay me for the last two weeks. I got evicted from my apartment last week and am now on the street hoping to survive.

Wandering tonight, I ended up at the subway. There's no one around.  Its early morning, maybe 2:00 AM. I’m not sure, I had to pawn my watch. That’s when I saw her. She was walking quickly towards the station, like she knew it was not safe to be out this late alone. The guy came out of nowhere and hurried after her. He grabbed her arm and wrestled with her for a moment. That’s when I knew there was no one else but me to help.

I ran towards them and as I reached to pull him away he turned towards me. I didn’t see the knife in his hand, but I felt it as it plunged into my gut two, or was it four times. I don’t know, it all happened so fast.

He took off, and I tried to give chase, but stumbled and collapsed to the sidewalk. Blood everywhere. What now? Footsteps. Maybe help. Pain. More footsteps. I drift off. Hope she got home safe. Thoughts come and go. Where’s help? Can’t stay awake.

I’m above myself again now, watching as person after person walks by me, ignoring my plight. I didn’t think, I just reacted. A good deed for a girl in trouble. It was second nature. Why did it go so wrong?

Losing track of time. Has it been minutes? Hours? Will anyone remember me? The good things I’ve done in my life? Why doesn’t anyone help?

Too late.

I’m gone.

The Subway station camera showed that 20 people walked by and didn' t stop to help this man laying bleeding on the sidewalk, and that it took one and one-half hours for the paramedics to arrive.  I have never been in a situation this dire, but it makes me think - what would I do?  It makes me wonder, especially watching the person that stopped long enought to take a picture, where the compassion is in this world.  This citizen, Enrique, didn't deserve to die for his good deed. It also makes me wonder about the woman he saved.  I truely hope she was the one who called for assistance.


  1. Enrique's good deed was not in vain. You noticed and shared his story in a compassionate and dignified way.

    Your title is so appropriate. It is indeed a sad state of affairs. How is it that we have detached so much from one another that a picture is worth more than a life?

    Well done PW.

  2. Thanks DS. This newsclip was so disturbing to me that I felt the need to do something for this young man who tried to help.

  3. I saw that video as well. It makes no sense to me whatsoever. How can anyone ignore another human being who is in dire need of help?

    It's even sadder in that he was helping another person who was in dire need; he deserved admiration, not death.

    Your post is a wonderful tribute to his character.

  4. This is such a sad story, and unfortunately not all that unusual. (Remember Kitty Genovese in the 60's?) I even Googled Queens subway stabbing and got a host of different stabbings!

    I hold out hope that Karma ultimately rules... I sure hope so.

    Eloquent eulogy.

  5. Wow. What a disturbing news story. I think your post accomplishes exactly what writing is meant to do. I believe this piece can even be applied to something much bigger. Well done.

  6. I am glad you wrote such a beautiful eulogy to a man who may have had none from a family member or loved one.

    This story disturbed me so much, it's been on every station, but after seeing it the first time, I just can't watch it again. It's hard for me to husband's a nurse and we stop to help anyone who appears in medical distress (even if we have to pull over our car), so I guess I assume others would do the same. It pains me that people literally turned Enrique's body over and then just went on their way.

  7. Thank you all for your thoughts. I'm sure this was not an isolated instance, that this happens much too frequently. In a mall in Seattle, security guards did nothing but watch as kids beat up a young girl.

    But you also hear good stories. In Portland not too long ago, a young child was separated from her father. He got on a Max train, but the door closed and the train departed before the child got on. Another passanger saw what happened and took the child by the hand to sit and wait for the father to return. That one had a good outcome.

  8. I saw this on the news this morning for the first time. It made me sick to my stomach. This is a wonderful tribute to him. Yes, Natasha, let's hope Karma rules!