“Shadow Boxing When I Heard You On The Radio”

Alright, I unfortunately have another bizarre experience to recount and I’d like to know what you would have done in my place.  So on Sat. around 2ish I’m walking down 14th Street just north of U Street when I pause to write down some notes in my pad.  When I look up there is a kid probably around 15 or 16 who is shadow boxing right at me.  He is taking punches that are landing very close to my head and body.  I’m terribly confused at this point, so I’m looking quizzically at him trying to ascertain whether he is kidding around or just showing off for his friends.  But no, he is by himself and doesn’t make the slightest smile or give me any other indication that he is kidding.  So I continue to stare for a second, and he returns the stare with some more shadow punches and a very menacing look.  So finally, I decide just to keep walking.  But what I really wanted to do, was go right up in his face and say “What the fuck are you doing?” or “Do you have a problem with me?”  Or something like that.  But as usual, I grit my teeth and shake my head and just keep walking.  So what would you have done?

30 Comment

  • Ask him if he had Tourette’s.

  • A lot of those kids don’t know any other way of getting attention, so they’ll do the most ridiculous or out of the ordinary act to do so. It looks like he accomplished his task.

  • CALLED THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY. What would I have done? Called the damn police and thrown his assaulting ass in the slammer.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Technically I wasn’t assaulted because he didn’t touch me. Just annoyed me…

  • That’s a situation where a taser or pepper spray could have been useful!

  • Battery requires an imminent or offensive touching; assault doesn’t require him to lay a finger on you – it only requires a reasonable apprehension of imminent harm.

  • Don’t let deviancy become the norm. If we tolerate this, we’ll get more of it. Retreat to a safe distance and sic the cops on that little sociopath.

  • You have gotta use judgment in dealing with these kids. Like I said earlier, they don’t know any respectful way to get attention so they’ll act out to get it. I had to deal with rowdy-acting teenage girls who were acting like clowns this past Thursday. They didn’t want to hear me but I said my piece.

    Respect is taught at home, and none of these kids are learning it there. Granted, a lot of these kids are violent (carrying guns and other weapons) but too many adults are afraid to speak up to these kids. Gauge the situation. . .if it looks like a situation where you can handle it, then handle it.

    I’m sorry I dismissed this in my earlier post. I thought it was a simple case of a kid “clowning around.”

  • You should have called the cops, if not for your safety, but the kid’s, because his next target for intimidation may have been his last. Kids wandering the streets at 2AM, typical. So many totally screwed up families (if you can call them that) in this city – it’s totally depressing.

  • It’s unfortunately becuase I feel like I see this type of thug activity all the time. I saw the same incident Saturday afternoon in broad daylight where a kid approached a grown man who was walking down the street minding his own business. The kid was bigger and came up to him doing this shadow boxing thing trying to indimidate the man. I call that being a thug. I have no idea where this comes from, but it’s very distrubing.

  • Hey, any old excuse to include a reference to LL Cool J on a Monday morning…Momma said knock you OUT!!!


  • I admire your restraint. A kid damn nearly knocked me down on the Metro the other day, and it was all I could do to keep from picking him up by his collar and tosssing his a– like a discarded 40 oz malt liquor bottle.

  • I’ve seen similar behavior round 14th and U where kids suddenly jump into your personal space trying to alarm you. Usually though it is a group or a young man trying to impress (?) a young woman.

    I’ve never been sure what to do besides say something like “that’s not very cool”. Maybe calling the police is the route to take?

  • You totally shoulda called 911 while you were standing there still staring at him. He’s just gonna keep doing that to random strangers until he or one of his victims gets hurt.

  • I’m surprised so many of you say to call 911. Do you really think the police are going to rush over because a kid is “shadow boxing”? What’s more, do you actually think their response time is so quick that the kid will still be standing there? It’s a wonderfully optimistic thought, but I just don’t see it.
    This crap happens every day. Yes, I realize I may get punched for this one of these days, but I look these kids right in the eye and tell them off. (Being a girl, I”m talking about confronting other girls). Generally, these teens are so sure you’re scared of them that they are surprised when you actually tell them, to their face, what idiots they are. The other evening, a group of teenage girls stepped in front of my car and started clowning around, acting like they own the street. I guess they expected me to sit there, trembling, waiting for them to move. I stepped on the gas. Guess what, they jumped out of the way.
    Yes, we have to use good judgement and not get ourselves shot. But whenever possible, I refuse to feed into the stereotype that I am so scared of anything different from myself that I will let people intimidate me.

  • What gets me is, isn’t that right by the danged Reeves Center? How come I keep hearing about violent or threatening interactions right in front of the city’s municipal offices? Sigh.

  • I love how everyone’s response is always to call the police…sheesh. Maybe if folks got a bit more involved in the lives of the kids who live in your neighborhood instead of just calling the police on them, we wouldn’t have as many kids “shadow boxing”. I realize they should be learning manners and respect at home, but they aren’t, so it’s up to the larger community to do our part to help them with their education. Not trying to politicize this, but it does take a village…

  • AM, I have spoken to kids who were acting up on the bus or the street. It never ends well.

    And I do know the kids on my block. They’re not the problem.

    It comes down to this – many of them could quite easily injure me. I’m a middle aged white woman. They have no respect for me, and when I do say something, it comes back at me, generally laced with racist and sexist rhetoric. I try, but I can only do so much, and I am becoming more risk-averse as I get older.

  • Apples and Oranges, Adams Morgan. The question of how one should respond to an immediate threat on the street has nothing to do with what we should be doing as a society to address the underlying factors that lead kids to act this way. Unless you’re trying to suggest that the way to respond to someone threatening you on the street is to tell him that you promise to become the parental figure he never had, in which case, I wish you the best of luck…

  • I think you should have taken his picture and started a new series “thug of the week” Then we could all trash him properly.

    Picture this; Two nice kids from DC who read your blog walking down the street and run into this kid after seeing him as thug of the week.
    DC kids-“Hey yo, you’re the dude they made fun of on the web for shadow-boxing the guy for no reason” (followed by hysterical laughter)

    Hey, it could happen!

  • AM – Why do you think we should be raising other peoples kids? Isn’t that someone elses job?

    Theneighboor – great idea!!!! You could expand it to include litter bug of the day….or on my walk to the metro litter bug of the hour, er, minute. It really is a good idea, unfortunately think about all those releases you would have to get the punks to sign, plus most of them are probably underage. Imagine how hard it would be to find some sort of legal guardian to sign the release for them.

  • Thug of the Week would be funny, but the subsequent (and inevitible) “I need to buy a new camera because the Thug of the Week smashed mine” posts would be even better!

  • If you do decide to take photos of these clowns, take caution. I’ve taken pictures of the harassers for my “Don’t Be Silent” blog, but I’ve made sure to take them from safe distances and at safe times of night (the latest I can recall was six).

    And I feel that when these fools harass people on the streets, they’ve given up their rights. Unless a minor’s involved, no one needs to get release forms signed for instigators and thugs.

  • Recently I was in U st with some friends (on super tuesday actually) when some crazy drugged up guy started hassling us, thought we were talking about him, etc.

    I said “We’re not bothering you” and he said essentially “you better not be .. i’ll f— you up, i’ll kill you” etc. very weird and scary for my girlfriend.

    Eventually we let him walk far enough in front of us… thinking it was scary but .. we could leave it alone.

    But then we saw him hassling a woman who was alone with her dog, so I started hurrying up toward them in case the situation turned serious. Eventually she put her hand out to give herself some space and he left, but it was so scary that he was hassling her that I called the cops on him.

    He saw me talking on the phone and figured I was calling the cops on him, so he came up to me, threatened me some more, and then spat on me before walking away.

    Eventually the cops came and I rode in the cruiser for a bit trying to ID him but he was long gone……….

    I like city living but, as I joked tongue-in-cheek to my friends, “.. and that’s how they invented the suburbs”

  • This is why I don’t teach high school. I would lose my job over these rude and out of control junior thug wannabees. Imagine how these knuckleheads act in school.

  • Uhm, I’m pretty sure you can take a picture of anyone you want in a public place without getting them to sign a release. But I could be wrong…

  • Sweet! So PoP can Wednesday feature the Thug of the week and Thursday feature the litter bug of the week! Man my wife is definitely going to make me get her a new digital camera now!

  • Who knows what was wrong with that child and why he was even out at that time (I’m all for a curfew). But, there are a lot of people with untreated mental/drug problems, especially in large urban cities like this. He may not have just been a “pure” delinquent, but perhaps he was. Either way, the police would we useless.

  • I don’t mean to keep using your blog to promote mine, but I had an incident today with rowdy teens that started to get physical. I posted their descriptions in the post.

    My “Don’t Be Silent” group focuses on street harassment, but it’s not just sexual “hey, baby” harassment. There is an epidemic in this district with these kids, and something needs to be done. These kids are violent, aggressive and so damn angry, and we need to find ways to counter that.

    I would really love to do a pan-neighborhood alliance towards getting these rowdy kids off the streets.

  • Am I the only one that thinks you did the right thing? Who knows why he was trying to engage you but you didn’t rise to the bait. You took the higher path instead. I’m impressed.

    Congrats on your dcblogs.com listing,

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