By lex, on November 7th, 2006
The last time I was in Perth, WA I was headed to a local watering hole with a pair of buddies at a time of the “evening” that had gotten past being late and was well on the way to being early again. We probably didn’t need another beer. But we wanted one. I mean, it was Perth.
The folks we met just outside the bar definitely didn’t need any more. There was a European couple there – the guy was English, and the girl from Eire – young backpackers they were, both of them reeling drunk. They went to cross the street when she stumbled and fell by the curb. By an unfortunate twist of fate, her friend lurched the other way at just the same moment. A mixed group of American sailors and locals, about six or seven young men, saw this from a different angle than I did and sadly misinterpreted the scene.
They thought that the guy had knocked his lady friend down, and instantly set upon him with a vengeance, outraged. The guy was too drunk to defend himself, and was quickly knocked to the ground. Without much thinking about it I stepped between them to break it up just as they started to kick at him. It was horrifying and outrageous, I was shouting at them and it frankly could have gone either way but there didn’t seem anything else to do. They might have killed him, and I’d already seen one kick land on his head. One of the sailors said something about how the guy had “knocked her down, man.”
I told him with blood in my eye not to “man” me, that they were mistaken and that they’d better shove the hell off. Our eyes locked for a moment, but he wasn’t too drunk to evaluate my accent, age, haircut and tone of voice. The sailors took off at a run, the locals following after. I was shivering a bit once they’d run off.
I guess it was a little cold out, or something.
I would have dearly liked to bug out myself, there’s no career either in brawling or in breaking up brawls at 0200 for Navy commanders, and most of the people around us were too shocked and drunk themselves to make for very reliable witnesses when the police came. I had visions of being delivered to the ship at 0600 in hand cuffs after a night in gaol insisting that this was all a mistake, that I was innocent. Which, tell that to the judge.
But there was that girl still lying in the road, and that would never do. Plus we had to stay with the guy at least until the ambulance arrived. He was in a bad way, and it was hard to tell how much of that was from the beer and how much from the beating. We couldn’t just leave them.
When the ambulance came, the local constabulary came right along with it of course. The police were true pro’s, and our story checked out. We walked away having had our fill of adventure for the evening, and I found out the next day – through our strike group’s flag officer, no less – that the backpacker was going to be fine, which was a relief.
That’s about the best way a story like that can end up.
This, on the other hand, is about the worst way:
HALIFAX (CP) – An American sailor killed during an early-morning bar brawl in Halifax was a “Good Samaritan” trying to break up a fight he wasn’t even involved in, police said Sunday.
Hull Technician 1st Class Damon Crooks, 28, of West Palm Beach, Fla., was stabbed early Saturday outside a popular downtown club after a fight that began inside spilled onto the street.
Cory Wright, 23, of Halifax was charged Sunday with first-degree murder. Two other local men face less severe charges.
Crooks and at least one other sailor, who was taken to hospital with minor injuries, apparently tried to break up a fight that escalated into a brawl involving about 20 people, said police spokeswoman Theresa Brien.
“There was a disturbance unrelated to the American sailors, where a local individual was being assaulted,” said Brien.
“It looks like the American sailors attempted to intervene as Good Samaritans, at which point the disturbance escalated.”
Brien said police don’t think the two seamen were targeted because they were American sailors. She said there were other U.S. sailors at the scene, although it wasn’t clear whether any were in uniform at the time.
A witness told the Halifax Chronicle-Herald the melee started as a fight between two women at the club.
What a shame.