The company I work for was moving to another floor today. As a result of no electricity
(important) and no network connectivity
(also important, though irrelevant as we were missing the former) we were sent home early.
I took the bus, as usual. It was a bit crowded, and I almost stepped on someone's foot. The person clearly overreacted, almost pushing me away. A troublemaker. Better stay away from them.
About 10 minutes later, some poor kids entered the bus without paying. Nobody really cares, but the kids were small children, 10-11 years old, three boys and one girl, and they were carrying small sacks of mostly dry glue. Children around here use this cheap industrial glue as a drug. The main desired effect, they say, is that it makes you forget about your hunger.
I stayed there, amused at my own lack of action. Nobody seemed to care. Nobody wanted to fix their eyes on the kids, except for the troublemaker, who was visibly annoyed, though not in ways a sensitive person would be. When the bus stopped in the next station, he brutally threw the kids out of the bus as the doors closed.
One of the boys came running with a stone after the slowly moving bus. He'd never throw it, he'd probably not even do any damage if he did (our buses are designed to resist crowds of violent football fans). But the troublemaker couldn't just let it go. He pointed a gun at the kid from inside the moving bus. (note: carrying guns around is not allowed in this country) The kid ran away.
Of course everyone was startled. A gun nut was in the bus. The man claimed to be a policeman, but he was walking around with a gun and without an uniform, clearly off-duty. A nurse nearby started arguing with him, very rightly so: how could he point a gun at a 10 year-old child? The man claimed, correctly, that as a policeman he wasn't in position of conducting the necessary social reforms to provide proper education for the poor. He didn't accept the idea that he overreacted. No words about the emotional impact of having a gun pointed at you when you are 10 or 11.
A few people joined the argument. An old man with gray hair quickly acted to aid the troublemaker. "That was necessary, they were not children, they were small criminals". Yeah, right, a poor 11 years-old girl who never went to school because she was not allowed to is a "criminal" now. This gray-haired man was our Common Man, the enemy, the person who leads the downards spiral.
As for me, members of the jury, I plead guilty. I was among those pretending they were not seeing the children, I was pretending I couldn't do anything to help them, and I allowed the fascist with the gun and the fascist with the gray hair to continue living their poisonous lives as usual.
I was the worst criminal of the bunch.