Sunday, July 6, 2008
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I'm not sharing this information to scare anyone, but I do think that it's important for people to be aware of their surroundings at night - including on the National Mall.
Last night, July 4th, at around 11:40pm, I was walking along Madison Street at 5th, minding my own business, heading home alone. Three Indian men, around 30 years old, were standing near the corner of 4th and Madison, NW. They were talking and laughing loudly, just standing at the corner there. I thought that was odd, given that there were thousands of people on the Mall for the fireworks show; those people had left hours ago. There were very few people left on the Mall: an old man digging through the trash can; a loving couple; and the Three Indians. And me.
As I approached them from a half block away, I could hear their boisterous laughter. Remembering my recent incident with the Grabbing Man, I was taking no chances tonight. Pepper spray in hand, I crossed over to the other side of the street. Now I was about 30 yards away from the Three.
Suddenly, one of the guys broke away from the other two and strode in my direction. I continued crossing to the other side of the street. He continued to beeline for me. I stopped, dead in my tracks, assuming a feet-apart-I-mean-business stance. From 10 yards away, he stopped and looked at me.
"What are you doing?" I asked, with a hint of warning in my voice.
"I just was wanting to talk to you," he slurred, taking two steps toward me.
My hand tightened on the canister of pepper spray. "Do not approach me!" I said assertively.
"I just want to talk."
"I DON'T want to talk." I started to walk past as he backed up a few steps, finally turning to walk back to the Other Two.
I kept walking toward the Capitol as they reunited. I could hear him telling them that I'd gotten tough with him. I heard them heckle me, saying they weren't terrorists. They weren't American citizens. Our country sucks. I suck.
I ignored them, looked at the Capitol, and tightened my hold on the spray. They walked one direction, and I walked up Jenkins Hill. Their boisterous voices faded into the cool, damp night air.
I made it home safely.