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For whatever reason...

For whatever reason, throughout his middle school and high school years, my son was made to read an inordinate amount of books on the holocaust. So much so that it began to seem almost emotionally abusive – which brings me to another point, which I will get to later.

The fact is, all that reading and movie watching on the subject, encouraged us to have many frank conversations about those times; most importantly, what we would do if we were alive back then.

I explained to Bowen that in no uncertain terms was it okay to let another be hurt on our watch, whether you knew them or not. I said that if we lived in those times we would risk life and limb to protect and hide anyone from the Nazis. That we shouldn’t let fear of our own suffering stop us from doing the right thing.

On Bowen’s first day of high school, as a 14-year-old pre-pubescent boy amongst manlike 18 year olds, a learning opportunity arose. He came home and told me of how unbelievably mean some of the older kids were. He regaled me of the story of a large boy who took a girls lunch from her hands, and for no reason at all, threw it in the trash, causing her to cry. He was appalled at the unnecessary cruelty. I then asked him what he did. He said, “Nothing, what could I do?” I told him, you get in between the bully and the girl – or any other person for that matter. Not happy with my response he said, “mom I would get pummeled by that guy”, and I replied, “probably, but you would have done the right thing”.

It’s easy to say what you think you would do in difficult circumstances, and to envision that you would do the right thing and even act the hero. And it is even easier still to tell someone what they should do. My son, I am proud to say, later in life got to prove, most importantly to himself, who he would be and who he is.

Bowen was driving to the chiropractor (the irony) one evening and was being rerouted through various side streets and main streets via “ways” to get through the LA traffic. On the drive he noticed a car, which blew by him as it sped through a stop sign while simultaneously being followed by no less than 6 police cars. He even called to tell me about it and said, “turn on the TV”, as he thought it might be one of those televised chases. It turns out it wasn’t. Either way, about 15 minutes later, we got another call from him saying that he had been in a car accident and was fine but just needed to deal with his car and get a ride home. He was going to take an Uber. I said “No way! Stay where you are and I am coming to get you”. He actually thought he was totally fine as the adrenaline continued to course through his veins.

What happened was this: Bowen was on a narrow residential street and saw the same car that had been evading the police earlier, coming up quickly behind him with only one police car in pursuit. He had a decision to make, pull out of the guy’s way, or do what he proceeded to do.

Bowen located the narrowest part of the street between the cars parked on either side. He then pulled his car to a dead stop and held his foot to the break. This made it impossible for the guy to get around him, and should have enabled the police car to box the guy in and apprehend him, (which to Bowen’s amazement and chagrin he didn’t). The driver then accelerated and rammed into Bowen at an estimated (by the observing but do nothing police officer) 60 mph. The, now assaulting with a deadly weapon, criminal continued to repeatedly back up and ram his car into Bowen until he could squeeze through both Bowen’s car and the one parked on the side of the street (doing a considerable amount of damage). As the driver passed by Bowen, he looked him in the eye and simultaneously waved his gun at his face. My son later told me his only thought was, “I hope it doesn’t hurt too much”. The witnesses were amazed by Bowen’s bravery and fortitude, not to mention his ability to take all those repeated hits. His slowing down the culprit had allowed the police to catch him further up the road. The guy was wanted for armed robbery and various other terrible, and not in the scope of this story, crimes.

It turns out Bowen sustained a serious concussion, from which it took three months to fully heal, as well as a bruised spleen. Before the adrenaline wore off, and the memory loss set in, he told me how he was glad he now knew what kind of man he was. That he WOULD and COULD act in the face of fear and even death. He saw the event as a positive opportunity.

Which brings me back to the first sentence regarding all those books kids from his generation were forced to read. How in the world in these times of tyranny and obvious crimes against humanity are so many ok with standing by and just letting them happen???? What about the parents? What are they teaching their children? How do they justify acting the part of the Nazis in today’s scenario? The blind obedience to government and the shunning of anyone for freedom of thought or action is appalling in light of recent history and the fact that I KNOW everyone knows about Nazi Germany. Was there a different lesson that the other kids were taught? A different take away? I’m genuinely confused.

I’m a 54 year old woman, and not big or threatening by anyone’s standards. I have yet to wear a mask at my local store or post office. I’ve been harassed and yelled at by patrons at various other locations. Still I stay firm. My son was with me one day, while visiting, and some juiced up punk accosted us for not wearing masks, at my local store no less. My adrenaline, per usual started to spike, as I hate any type of confrontation. My son was unbelievably calm as he casually said, “don’t worry about it guy” and kept walking. The guy made it quite clear that he wanted to fight Bowen. My son continued to amaze me with his calm demeanor and tone when he replied to the guy’s taunts and threats, “just move along”, and kept walking in a relaxed manner, ignoring the agitated thug as we finished our shopping. My heart, though, was still racing, even though I tried to stay as normal as possible. I hadn’t had anyone threaten me with physical violence and didn’t know what I’d do or even could do now (although I do know for a fact what I would have done when I was younger and scrappier). After making our purchases and exiting the store I asked my son how he managed to stay so calm. He said that that guy and his threats and posturing didn’t bother him. After all what was the guy going to do? Hit him. My son wasn’t afraid of that in the least.

**Not to mention Bowen would have mopped the floor with the guy

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