2 years ago
For all of my sins, I recently found myself the victim of a mugging (hence the drought of entries a couple of months back). It was rather a senseless crime in my case as there was no real incentive on the part of my assailants. I had no jewellery, no real amount of cash, no fancy mobile, no £200 trainers or designer clothing to steal for that matter. You could say I was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and for that I received a serious molesting, was left for dead lying on the pavement and later ‘rescued’ by a taxi-driver who was luckily for me, passing by on his return from dropping a fare.
This little ten minute episode of bedlam for me resulted in a five week stay in hospital for my troubles, having been left near enough comatose. To save you the goriest of details, there were cracked ribs and massive swellings despite a subsequent loss of almost two stone in weight (hospital food I guess), I also had a multicoloured array of left over cuts and bruises to bring home with me and a whole lot of pain in the arse, ‘bull-shit’ flack to manage on my return. And while I’m no real expert in a criminological sense, I do now feel I am somewhat experienced if not qualified, enough to do a short write-up on the subject.
So during the course of this piece, It is my hope that if you follow the simple snippets of advice I have tried to include, anyone unfortunate to be a victim of a mugging experience will only be harrowed and emotionally defeated, financially only modestly depleted, and hopefully not too physically damaged.
You don't really get to have much choice in picking your mugger, but generally you can expect some form of rude and hostile thug, desperate enough to attempt hurting you if you should choose to resist. As in the case of my own assailants, they may not even wait to hurt you, but be the kind to knock you down with a swift, hard blow to the temple first. And it appears that mugging is not an exclusively male profession either by the way; one of my assailants brought his obviously agitated woman along with him too.
But I suppose that’s all you can expect when you choose to go shopping for vital supplies (coffee in my case) at stupid o’clock in the morning, just as the clubs are spilling out. Severely drunken imbeciles are normally not the easiest of people in the world to reason with you see.
I think it is also quite safe to say that generally speaking, muggers usually "don't want any trouble," (yeah, like the victims do) as I have since been told by the local plod. They just want the goods and if they could get (all of) them by asking politely, I bet some even would do.
But since it doesn't normally work this way, they resort primarily to a brutal form of intimidation: which is also easier when they are armed. Once, I had a gun pointed in my face while working my father’s bar (Snooker club) in the early nineties. And that was all for a damned pint after closing time. Needless to say, that time I was saved by the sheer number of witnesses around me but it still wasn’t a very pleasant (soggy brown underwear) experience.
This last incident though, my muggers were armed with only 200+ pounds of pure Neanderthal style bulk, and they chose to intimidate me with their fists first and then followed on with their boots. And maybe, with the benefit of hindsight, I might have been somewhat misguided in choosing to challenge them. “Don’t be stupid, there’s only two of you” (gangster’s moll excluded) ... That obviously didn’t go down too well.
Immediately afterwards, I soon became quite cooperative. I had no real choice in the matter, I was beat. Balled up on the floor, all I could do was try to shield myself from the brutal kicking I had just earned.
They often work in pairs you see and approach a single individual from both sides at once. This seems to be the most professional, and effective way of getting yourself mugged for both the thoroughness of subsequent looting and a full on freak-out capacity to terrify the victim. At first I never even saw the one behind me as he dug through my pockets and pulled me backwards by wrenching at my shoulders. And while sporting an already bad (somewhat immobile) arm at the time too, I really didn’t stand a chance.
You can also expect a TSA style pat-down too after you have surrendered your cash and/or wallet. Once they have you, they will often capitalise on the fact and take you to the cleaners. And don’t expect to be allowed to keep the emptied wallet either. Your mugger's goal is usually to move along quickly, not to help you avoid the excruciating inconvenience of stopping and replacing credit cards, IDs, driving licence, or even your emergency condom etc.
You do generally get to pick the city where your adversary lives. If it's where you grew up or choose to live in the first place, chances are you'll know by now where in town he's likely to pounce on you and you will normally go out of your way to avoid him. But he’s not bound to the absolute exclusion of other places, of course. My learnings on this are varied. I suppose now that for best results, you should choose the classic dark, deserted streets; especially where there are shadows or parking spaces for would be muggers to conveniently lurk in.
If you really want to be taken by complete surprise, make sure it's late at night; you're tired and/or drunk, and alone... Casually strolling along, looking at the pavement, and muttering to yourself.
The dark street need not be in a disused waterfront type warehouse district (as depicted on television) either; you can also get jumped in a nice respectable neighbourhood, especially late at night. As I found out this time, a particularly charming and affluent street in a generally safe part of a small town can work just as well when the dark-deserted-late conditions are met.
And then there's the odd occurrence in an ‘unusual place’ to be taken into consideration too: robberies at gunpoint can easily take place aboard a moving subway train around two in the afternoon. Yes, broad daylight. Even if there were other people in the carriage, but no one nearby and if you were distracted enough, say reading a book, to not even see his face when he sat down and stuck a gun in your ribs (whatever became of the Guardian Angels I wonder?).
A friend of mine, I’ll call him ‘Sitting Duck’ for the want of a better name, notes that about three of his friends each individually mugged in London all encountered only knives or unarmed but large thugs, and another in Moss Side, Manchester was robbed at gunpoint. So I guess it happens anywhere that there are people, though the pattern seems to trend toward the more highly populated cities at least.
|Taken 2 days after returning home|
The victim's role
You can't just sit and wait for your robber to come to you. You generally have to attract him. For best results, you must go out late and in the dark (have I said that often enough yet?), do it alone or in pairs, and make sure not to stay alert. Don't bother to avoid suspicious looking characters, especially if it means going out of your way. Of course, this won't always work. But if it does happen to you, handing over the money without a fight is most likely your best bet for a horrifying, but ultimately relatively harmless, mugging.
But somewhat similar to my own experience, depending on your own personal level of bad-assery, you may feel it a desired part of the experience to challenge your mugger. But having tried that and failed, I can honestly say it didn’t work out for the best. I suppose I was lucky not to get a knife to the chest along with a punctured lung or two, even if I had got to keep the ten pound note in my wallet.
And that’s another point too, to keep the pain of any financial loss down, don't go anywhere with a huge wad of cash. Just take what you need for the trip, and no more. Wear a cheap watch and no gaudy jewellery because the more flash you look; the bigger and better the target for any would be muggers you will become.
All I can say to this is that in order to truly savour the full demeaning humiliation and dehumanizing effects of a face-to-face robbery, or conflict such as this, be prepared to spend a few days, at least, hiding behind closed curtains, fearing every stranger you see and keeping yourself imprisoned indoors at night. And allow yourself time to feel alone in your isolation, scared, insecure, violated and angry.
Very, very angry!
Be prepared for a stint of some form of hospitalisation too. But for the sterling work of the staff at my local hospital, I might not even be here today. And while I emphatically thank all the doctors and nurses involved in my recovery, I would also like to point out the true victims of this crime; all those who were denied treatment while I was getting it.
I suppose at the end of the day, there are no guarantees when dealing with people who must forcibly take what does not belong to them and are willing to injure others for their own profit. God forbid you meet a real psycho who actually wants to kill you: I can’t realistically say I have so far, and statistically speaking I probably never will (fingers crossed).
But I'm pretty sure I'm done with being mugged!! Hopefully.
Look to your friends and family for any support you can get. Usually it is these very people who help the most in the rebuilding of your shattered confidence to be able to go out and face the outside world again. Even if they are not right by your side, just knowing that they are there for you, gives you a real sense of security. It’s a sort of safety in numbers thing. And it is usually in times of distress like this, that you actually learn who your real friends actually are.
And finally, I really have to say... God help you bastards that chose to mug me. I promise if I ever meet you again in more favourable circumstances, I swear! But for now, you can count yourselves lucky that I probably wouldn’t even recognise you. But I am still looking out for you, whoever you may be.
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