Monday, April 25, 2011

The Attack of Chrissy Polis

My stomach is staging a revolt. I'm in a foul mood and reading about the beating of Chrissy Polis, a trans-gender woman who was beaten in the dining area of a McDonald's Restaurant in Maryland, certainly didn't improve it. The thing that pisses me off about that is the fact that I just happened to hear about this while reading about something else. It wasn't in the news at all.

I hate what happened to her. Those two deserve to face jail time for what they did. In fact, I really feel like jail isn't enough, because nothing compares to the harm that they inflicted on Ms. Polis.

At the same time, I don't think that everyone watching had a responsibility to come between her and these two criminals. A couple of years ago, I lost a relative who was shot down in cold blood while attempting to help a woman who was being beaten. There are valid reasons why many people will not come between people fighting, especially in a violent, trigger-happy country where so many folks are armed with guns.

The McDonald's workers are not security officers nor should they be expected to act as if they are. These folks are mostly minimum wage workers without paid leave or health insurance. If they get beat down, who'll care for them? Who's going to feed their families? McDonald's should provide professional security to deal with these kinds of situations. Instead, they just leave it to a bunch of low-wage earners with no job security and no training on how to deal with this kind of situation.

I think that the guy who taped it should be fired, because he was not being paid to make amateur videos while on the clock. He's an asshole for gleefully posting this horrible incident. I don't know how I'd deal with knowing that so many people saw me being viciously violated. I do hope that the video can at least be used by Chrissy to prove what happened to her, because the criminal justice system is notorious for ignoring and minimizing crimes reported by transgender women.

The one who advised the criminals to flee the scene should be fired, because he was aiding and abetting their actions. Actually, I think that he deserves to have a lot more happen to him than just being fired. I wish him nothing more or less than the karma he has earned.

However, I'm not sure that I believe the rest of the workers who didn't jump in did something unethical. Assuming that everyone who witnessed it could have jumped in is really problematic. The fact that you work at McDonald's doesn't mean that you are necessarily in a position to stop a crime that's being perpetrated in front of you.

It would be admirable if someone did step in and help. I'm pretty sure that I would have, if I could. The woman in white who did her best to get those attackers off of Chrissy did what I think I could have done on a day that my disabilities weren't affecting me a lot. Of course, even with my disabilities, I can better afford to do that (i.e. step in) then these workers could. Pitting marginalized people (minimum wage workers) against other marginalized people (trans-gender women) allows privileged people to avoid responsibility for the plight of both groups.

If owners of a restaurant can get away with paying their workers less than a living wage, should they also be allowed to force them to serve as an unpaid security force, too? The owners had a responsibility to protect their customers. Chrissy deserved to be safe in that establishment. The owners had a responsibility to make sure that people who come there don't get beaten to death. And that's what could have happened, by the way. Epilepsy still kills lots of people. Being kicked in the head is enough to kill anyone. Being kicked in the head when you already have a history of epilepsy is very likely to kill you. That seems exactly like what these two attackers were attempting to do and I hope the criminal justice system will treat them as attempted-murderers. Most of all, I hope that Chrissy Polis will never have to go through this again.


Anonymous said...

The employees of the restaurant had some type of obligation to help, but instead they were sitting there laughing. It was horrific. You must not of saw the video or your opinion would have changed. the employees stood there and watch as the women had a seizure.

bint alshamsa said...

What is the nature of this obligation? What does it stem from? It was an employee who called the law enforcement office, so it's clear that they didn't just stand there and watch.

There is nothing about being a food server that makes one obligated to work as a security officer. If anyone had a responsibility to keep the customers safe, it's the person who owns the restaurant. Why are you letting the owner off the hook and scapegoating these workers who had absolutely no training on how to deal with this sort of situation?

Unknown said...

This is sad indeed. I have not seen the video, but there is definitely merit in Bint's point. Getting involved in something like this can be problematic.

It's also unfortunate, if Anonymous is correct, that employees were standing there while she was getting beaten and laughing. Unfortunately, there are no laws against that. Perhaps there should be.

B29 Design Studio said...

well stated

Anonymous said...

While I understand you stating the employees did not have an obligation I have to partially disagree.

Certainly they should not be expected by their employers to step in when wrong is being committed, but our humanity should.

Nice write up though. I agree with you on everything else.