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predator and pray

A lone woman walks down the sidewalk at 11:00 pm, more or less, chatting merrily away on a cellphone. A vehicle slows at an intersection; the occupants hurl verbal abuse at the woman, then zoom on.

I wanted to have a rock in my hand at that moment, so I could have thrown it. Not a pebble, a hefty chunk of stone as big as my fist, to sail through the open window and cause some hurt, or to smash glass.

The actual insults can be brushed off in a few moments. Those aren't the important part. The important part, the part that had garnetdagger and Marah surging to the forefront, was the males and their clear attitude. They were in a car. I was a lone, presumably unarmed, woman. They felt safe to batter me with words.

We felt the urge to cause them physical pain of a sufficiency to equal the amount of spiritual pain that they must be in to even consider doing this. They were predators, and they picked us as hapless prey. We felt the need to demonstrate to them that no matter how carefully they select their targets, they are still not safe from retaliation. They need to learn, and learn with a swiftness, that their "safe" attack has immediate and painful consequences from them.

If I could have stopped that car, extracted them, and dispatched them all a swift punch to the jaw to render them woozy before cuffing them and then lecturing them like so many overgrown schoolboys, I probably would have. The part that scares the rest of us is how much absolute pain the rest of us wanted to add to that experience.

I asked figment0, on the other end of the cellphone, to pray for my temper. He understood. It was the overreaction. But human predators like that will encounter those who guard, sooner or later, and we are to hope they will come off the better for the interaction.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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