In which Nora visits the Heights and gets jumped

This is one of those stories that you have to prefix with “Everyone is okay. Well, Joaquin has a black eye. But he's been putting frozen blueberries on it, and I think he's alright.”

It's late on Thursday, though it's technically early on Friday. I've got Friday off, and it's one of the last days that Kelsey's in town, so we've got a little crowd together-- five of us, buddies from high school. Kelsey, Devin, Joaquin, Zach, and me.

We've just left IHOP and are headed for “The Spot”, a place Devin and Joaquin know of in the foothills. It's one of those little cul-de-sacs in the foothills, as far into the Northeast Heights as it gets. It's a long way to get there, and the banter is interesting and comfortable. It's been a Good Night, so far, and this is a group of people who actually gets how in love I am with Albuquerque, so they're the perfect bunch ot drive out and see city lights with.

We eventually get to The Spot. It's one of the most beautiful spots I've been at night for looking at the city.

I get out to take a walk, get some air-- we've been driving a while, and I'm feeling a bit sick. The rest of the car follows me. There's another car there, but we've assumed that they're just having sex. It'd be a good place for that.

The people from the other car get out, though. They're sort of “gangsta” dressed, but so is half the city. They ask us if we've got any cigarettes, and when we say no, they ask for money.

“I need three bucks for gas,” one of them says. When we continue to insist we don't have any money, they accuse us: “You've got a house out here, and you don't have any money?”

Then the following things happen. I don't remember the order they happened in.

  • One of them jokingly says that they're gonna take the car. “Go ahead,” Joaquin says. It's his car, but he's got the keys in his pocket.
  • One of them starts yelling at Zach about respect. This one's dialogue is interspirced with chants of “NORTH SIDE”. Zach says he knows plenty about respect.
  • One of them asks Joaquin if he thinks he's stupid. Joaquin responds that, well, he's acting pretty stupid.
  • Zach gives one of them a dollar.
  • I walk away from the group, figuring I'll see if I can get the license plate on their car. I'm followed by one of them. He tells me to go back to the group, threatens to hit me, and spits in my face.
  • Two of them (one male, one female) throw Joaquin against the car and hit him. He gets out of this with a bruise on his eye and a couple of cups. The female hit better than the dude, he says later. I yell at them to get off of him, stepping forward, but I know there's not much I can do.
  • I get my phone out, to take their pictures, but it's too dark to do so.
  • Devin and Zach both get hit.

We get in the car, planning to leave. They start kicking the side of it. We drive away as fast as we can, but after a couple of blocks, they catch up to us. I call the cops. They drive behind us, then pull up next to us, trying to drive us off the road. They pull in front of us and stop. The girl that hit Joaquin in the face gets out, standing in front of us.

She gets back in before he had to make the decision whether or not to hit her.

I'm talking to the dispatcher. They tell us to stop somewhere and wait for the police to come, so we do.

The police tell us there's nothing they can do. If they didn't see it, it didn't happen. We tell them we just wanted to report it in case they hear anything else about these guys tonight. They don't even ask for our full names or numbers in case of follow-ups. I guess that was pretty unlikely.

We head back for my apartment for truffles and some Decemberists, catching our breaths. I don't have any ice, so I give Joaquin some frozen blueberries for his eye. We talk 'till four in the morning, trying to make sense of the whole story.

Views: 41

Comment by ABQSkippy on January 10, 2009 at 9:48pm
HOLY SHIT! That is very scary. Sorry it happened to you guys.
Comment by brian botkiller on January 11, 2009 at 12:03pm
I can't tell you how ANGRY this makes me. I was assaulted in Bernalillo six years ago after my car broke down on the highway by some piece of shit that thought it would be fun to try to run myself and my friend over with his truck. I broke my leg, nearly died, and the cops told me "There's nothing we can do," and literally left me on the side of the road with a shattered, bleeding knee and no vehicle - THAT'S FUCKING BULLSHIT. When a cop tells you that, it means "I'm a lazy piece of shit who doesn't want to bother doing the hard part of my job". Go to the chief of police. While these wastes of human life will not be apprehended, it should still be known that you deserve some kind of attention. While I respect the work of Police officers, and know it's a thankless job, this kind of blatant disregard and "let the dogs sort themselves out" mindset is inexcusable.

Honestly, I would have run the girl down, and if I owned a gun, the other guys wouldn't be so lucky. After what happened to me six years ago, I often wonder how I don't own a gun and a concealed carry license, honestly. I abhor violence in most any form, but I very simply will never be made a victim ever, ever again, and I'm sorry that you were. The fact that our so-called "protectors", paid for with OUR money, consistently reply with "There's nothing I can do," makes my blood BOIL.
Comment by Nora on January 11, 2009 at 1:28pm
Wow, Brian, I'm really sorry that happened to you-- that's really a bitch :( I can't believe they would just leave you there.

I don't know that having a gun would've made the situation any better, though. The people who attacked us were definitely not in their right minds and I would bet that if we'd had a gun and pulled it, it'd be entirely possible that they would've pulled one too, and if that had happened it would be likely that they would've gone for those of us who were standing on the sidelines-- meaning myself and Kelsey.
Comment by Jeremy Jojola on January 11, 2009 at 2:00pm
Wow. Glad you're okay Nora. Usually the violence in this town is gang-on-gang. That's terrible this happened. If they did any damage to vehicles (when they kicked them) it may be good to write out a police report anyway....get it documented at least.
Comment by Adelita on January 11, 2009 at 3:08pm
Glad you and your friends are ok, Nora. How frightening. Absolutely file a police report to get it documented. And if they won't file a report, at least it's been documented here!

I know it's no comfort now, but you know karma will catch up with them. Hell, they're living pretty shitty lives daily if that's what they go around doing to people.
Comment by cathyray on January 11, 2009 at 3:53pm
I am with Adelita.

When I was a kid, a million years ago, we spent lots of time in the foothills. The folks we ran into up there were there for the same reasons. It never occurred to me to be scared. It's been a long time since I've been there. It's very sad to think that one can't catch one of the best view of the city without having to be on guard.

If I had to go through what you guys did, I would be so flipped out. I'm glad to know everyone is ok & no guns were drawn.
Comment by mombat on January 11, 2009 at 4:13pm
Another way to document would be through 311- that will generate a magic number attached to your call and will keep bugging someone until it gets dealt with.
I am sorry that this happened to you and your friends.
Comment by shotsie on January 11, 2009 at 4:19pm
Do you know the type of car - color, year, anything about it? Also, where exactly where you? There are neighborhood associations up there who do active patrols, and they can look for these creeps. I'm sure they weren't up there for the views.
Comment by Nora on January 11, 2009 at 5:32pm
I was under the impression that calling the police and talking to the ones who showed up *was* filing a police report. Am I mistaken?
Comment by Dan McKay on January 11, 2009 at 6:34pm
No, Nora. As far as I know, the police don't have to file a report. To ensure a report is filed, you can go here and file one yourself.

I'm really sorry this happened to you and your friends.

I don't think carrying a gun is safe -- unless you've grown up with guns and feel very comfortable and confident with them. My only advice is to leave at the first chance if anything like this ever happens again. There are so many stories of random encounters ending in homicide.


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