Tuesday, June 02, 2009

My Day: Part 2, My First Death Threat

...I visited the bookstore. That was quite...interesting. I do it often, but today was very unusual.

As Jesus told us, we are to expect hatred from the world (Luke 6:26). I've experienced it just about everywhere I go. I'm often hated for my beliefs, and I've been in numerous situations where I've dealt with threatening behavior from another male. What made today different was that it wasn't just a cocky punk, nor was it merely a challenge to fisticuffs.

I was browsing the magazines, minding my own business. I happened to wear the t-shirt emblazoned with the logo from Ben Stein's movie Expelled. I purchased that shirt and wore it before I even saw the film. It had been endorsed by enough people I trusted that I endorsed it, too, without even having seen it. I've seen it now and am in no way disappointed. I merely grabbed it out of the closet today, barely thinking.

A man near me spoke the words, "Did you like the movie?" At first I thought he was speaking to someone else in his party, but once he repeated the question I realized his attention was on me, and I would also soon realize that he was alone.

"Yes, I thought it was good," I replied skeptically, unsure if he was opposed or supportive. His next statement answered my mind's question.

"I am an atheist and a scientist, and Ben Stein was completely wrong!" Oh boy. Here we go. (I must apologize, this is accurate to the best of my memory and is extremely close, but if you've ever been in a situation where you have run on a heightened level of adrenaline, then you know that your memory may not always serve you well.)

"Well," I replied quietly and unchallengingly, "my opinion was that it was good." I moved down a ways, trying to continue my shopping. He was standing right where I wanted to look! (I realize now in hindsight that some sort of instinct must have been working as I did not allow him to get too close to me.)

He began to spew about the recent murder of Tiller the abortion doctor (expect my post on this soon--my official opinion is that I oppose both murderers; Tiller's murderer, and Tiller himself), using the old hat of Christian blame for such events. It's interesting to note that I was immediately identified by this man as a Christian, when in fact Expelled is an Intelligent Design film, ID being a movement that completely allows for Evolution! I guess it works, though.

I answered, "My greater concern is the thousands of babies he killed."

"I don't care about the babies he killed because they're not 'babies'!" he hissed. I had sincerely had no interest in talking to him before, now I was done. This man had clear indications of hate in him, and my "street strategy" overdrive was kicking in, I suppose you might say, so I guess you could say I attempted to de-escalate. I remained silent, hoping he would leave, and continued browsing.

But the man was not done yet. It was interesting, this man was clearly, clearly not insane in any shape of the word, he clearly had all his faculties about him, but at the same time something wasn't right. I'm not sure what it was, but it's almost as if he was to the point of bubbling rage at the idea of running into a Christian. It almost felt like his hate gave him a crazed quality. His eyes....

Next came his veiled threat. Continuing on his rant about the murdered Tiller, he stated something along the lines of, "It's always been done, that when they kill one of our own, we take one of theirs."

I did not speak. He stared at me. He did not speak. Neither of us spoke. He stared straight at me, and I looked back at him. The look in his eyes...it was complete and utter hate. I'm no stranger to hate, but this, from someone on the street, was new to me. Danger flags dinged in my head. True, the man was old and grey, and I was confident that I could easily defend myself if he attempted anything, I still have no desire to hurt a single soul. He had a jacket on and was carrying a large bag. I simply had no way of knowing if he was armed or not. I didn't believe he would do it, but his statement was a clear and violent threat. I would wager that he is less the type to be bold enough to do it himself, and more the type to root from his armchair, but the last thing I wanted was a barrel pointed at me.

I declined to comment further. I was not particularly submissive, but getting into a violent debate with a vitriolic atheist is not my idea of a good time. Besides, all I wanted was to finish shopping....

My lack of discussion did not suit him well, and he began to speak something else, but I cut him off. I was done with the assaults and it was time for a little brick wall maneuvering.

"I'm just trying to shop here, ok?" I said rigidly. He looked at me for a moment, then spat out the words, "You're a filthy--" and he began to say "SOB" I believe, as he formed the "S" sound, but he fumbled over his own words in his anger. He instead said, "...Christian!"

He stormed out.

I stayed in the magazines for only a moment. I had seen him leave but I had no idea if he would come back. As I said, I did not believe he would act in such a manner, but you know me, precaution even if it isn't necessary. I relocated, and then hopped up to a higher floor. I puttered around a bit, then went back downstairs, keenly aware that my shirt, bandaged arm (from the blood sample taken earlier), and my usual height, plus glasses made me uncomfortable conspicuous. I got a book, bought it, and left through a different door. Hey, I really wanted to shop. :-) If I had had any family or friends with me at that time, I would have left immediately.

My friends, this is the nature of what we are dealing with. This is a war, and it isn't a little war for a scientific theory, it isn't a war for a political party, it isn't a war for a little sect. This is a war for everything. We fight for our master, the Redeemer, the Living God, Jesus Christ, while they fight for their master, the Devil. The difference between us and them is, we have rules.

They don't.

To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Jude 1:25 (KJV)



Lady Neferankh said...

* hugs *

That guy is a jerk, and an idiot, well, the two usually go hand in hand--but I'm glad the encounter did not go beyond verbal arrows. That said, as it was, he'd said enough for you to report him probably (though of course unless the incident was caught on camera, it'd be his word against yours ). It's just sick the kind of creeps who are out there--I've encountered too many like this guy.

Oh btw--my only--admonishment--I know you weren't afraid for nearby family/friends and thus didn't feel the need to leave immediately (and hey--why should a jerk interrupt a shopping trip?), but--be careful! We don't want anything to happen to you!

duva said...

Wow, that's strange, and more than a little bit creepy. I'm glad it all came out well in the end.

I'll quote Evelyn Beatrice Hall:

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

guitargirl said...

Wow. That's bad :(

Ipwergis-Pudding said...

2 Kings 6:13-17

Even if we are not always protected from all harm.

Take care, friend, and be careful.

-Mariah :)

Gravelbelly said...

It is remarkable how some of these hateful guys (and gals) can go from zero to 100 on vitriol scale.

Call me paranoid, but did you keep an eye on your back trail to make sure you weren't followed?

Sure wouldn't want to lose you, Spencer.

Lizzy Brown said...

Whoa. My Dad says that you did rightly in everything you said and how you acted, (yes, I read this whole thing to him. :P LOL)... I and my parents will be praying for you and your family's safety in future as well. My Dad came up with the brilliant idea that you should move out of CA- probably not feasible, but brilliant just the same. He remembers living in LA, (long before I was born) and knows how it was.

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Lady Neferankh: Thanks. :-) Don't worry, I am and always will be safe. I'm insanely careful, and even a bit with myself. :-P

duva: It's horrible, IMO. The ID/Creation side is always willing for discussion and lively debate. The other side...well, there you go. :-/

Guitargirl. I know, right? :-)

Mariah: Always am. :-)

Gravelbelly: Haha, your concern is dear to me, but do not be frightful. My eyes darted about for the next twenty minutes. :-D

Lizzy: Aw, thanks. :-) And his proposition is indeed a glorious one, one I have long intended to carry out one day. :-D


Rebecca said...

As one of the "they," I feel compelled to mention that I've been threatened by people professing Christianity as well. I'd advise you not to tar everyone you disagree with with the brush of one crazy guy.

olde.fashioned said...

Sorry I'm late to the party...

I said it before to you, Spencer, but reading this again only cemented the fact that I'm very glad I decided to stay in the car. You know I was halfway out before I changed my mind...now I'm convinced it was Divine Intervention.

And also, as Spencer's big sister I'd just like to thank all of you very much for your kind concern. :-)

Lizzy Brown, you have no idea how glorious your dad's idea sounds to us! LOL. Believe me, it's something I would very much hope the Lord would allow in the (not too?) distant future. ;-)

WildWeazel said...

Even though Christ himself predicted it, I'm always amazed by such vehement opposition to those who dare disagree with the (sarcasm) enlightened, progressive, and tolerant wing of our society. They are indeed blinded.
At least your encounter did not escalate. You did a wise thing by ending the conversation.

EmilyPolvado said...

That's terrible! Shows how "civilized" atheists are...

Speaking of moving out of CA, my parents are thinking of moving to Anchorage, AL! You can come with us, if you want :)

Ipwergis-Pudding said...

(on leaving California)--you'd be more than welcome to visit me in Provo, you know! Provo is sometimes dangerous just because people aren't careful--because it's Utah. But if you take precautions, it's a pretty safe place to be. :)

Mada said...

Whaaaaat?! That's insane, how dare he threaten you like that! What a creep.

"It's always been done, that when they kill one of our own, we take one of theirs." - Sounds like the whole Catholic vs. Protestant thing in medieval England, except it's not. Athiest vs. Christian? Let's hope that only is said in regards to scientific debates.

Ipwergis-Pudding said...

Anchorage! My roommate Addie (former roommate) lives in Alaska!!! Except that she lives on one of the islands. She's a commercial fisherwoman. Hey, Spencer, if you go with EmilyPolvado to Anchorage, maybe you could meet Addie! ;) Or you could just come visit me, and meet Addie when she comes back to Provo to go into the MTC, for her mission...

Nuttycomputer said...

Spencer come to Utah... we carry guns here. Lol.

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Seriously, man, I know....

Thanks for all the comments, everybody!