My friend and I were out cycling this evening when we heard lots of shouting and shrieking coming from ahead of us on the road we were riding along. Having closed the distance, it became apparent that the noise was coming from a group of teenagers two of whom, both girls, were physically fighting.
I had no idea what to do. Not a clue. I couldn't just turn a blind eye. Chances are it would only be pride and ego that gets hurt but occasionally it's worse than that. But at the same time, I didn't want to explain what I as a mid 40s man was doing in the centre of a bunch of teenage girls. So I shouted at them from the other side of the road.
Naturally, I became the target of verbal abuse. I don't care about that. In fact it turned out to be a positive thing because while they were shouting abuse at me, their internal fight seemed to have fizled out. The crowd seemed to disburse and as I continued riding on, I heard no more battle sounds.
But I do wonder, what should I have done? What I did actually seemed to work well on this occasion but simply shouting at people won't always diffuse a situation.
Based on the abusive response of these teenagers, it's clear they fully knew that unless I was a psychopath, I was utterly powerless against them. For me to physically intervene could easily be construed as assault, which is why I shouted from the other side of the road. I reckon these were not the worst of youth. I reckon they were probably good kids suffering hormonal rages rather than mindless thugs. I reckon that's the only reason my shouting at them worked to diffuse the situation. What would be the right thing if they were genuine idiots?