Welcome to Tuesday Night Fights, a weekly celebration and analysis of street-fight videos found on YouTube. Tonight's fisticuffs: "Fight In Courtroom The Netherlands." Tonight's commentator: Shawn McBride, author and Philadelphia court crier. (Coming next week: A Bridezilla discusses a Vegas brawl involving gowned bride and kilted hubby.)
Since college I have been an avid reader of nonfiction geopolitical history books, with a specific, perhaps perverse, focus in regards genocide, oppression, brutal regimes, dictators repressing populations at large.
From that I felt I had at least an avid readers sense of the Hague in the Netherlands. I pictured it in most dignified fashion. All oak. Ornate carvings. Epic arches. Motherfucking wainscotting. And solemnity. Automatic translating ear buds. Powdered wigs. Cream of the crop jurists who possessed three plus decades of judicial experience, plus all their faculties still, minus any of the bloat that often accompanies bench appointments and elections: fat satisfaction, known predilections to hammer defendants on these charges or slap wrists on those charges, or flat out on-the-take corruption. Serious Motherfucking Judges. A Serious Motherfucking Court, with transcendent sense of mission, of justice. Talking bout The Hague, honey childs. Justice bearers upon history's biggest serial killer twit bitches: Mengele, Milosevic, Hussein. Hellbound bastards by anyone's standards.
All that went out the window when I saw this clip.
When I realized the Hague is like Philly. In that it hosts WWF events inside courts of law. This less-than-one-minute clip: what a fucking scene. First off, I should qualify that the Philly courts comparison is slight, specific only to violence. Only less so. For instance last week at Philly's criminal justice center, where I "work" as a court crier, a trial room erupted into a brawl between two families involved in some godforsaken senseless ghetto shooting that ended in murder.
For the uninitiated, living in places less dangerous than Philly, Beirut, or Basra, murders, however frequent or not, arent often over million dollar drug deals, Mafia betrayals, jilted lovers, or subway vigilantism. More often, they relate to dog shits on lawns. Madden football beefs on Playstation 3 on flatscreen TVs inside doorless homes whose living rooms are overcrowded with unsupervised kids, lumber, rubble, and rats. Sometimes murderers decapitate coworkers with backs of hammers over smoke break poker. Murder comes to Philadelphians delightfully varied and pettier than seems humanly possible. And our courtroom fights, unlike this Hague extravaganza, don't limit themselves to just inside the courtroom. They continue in the hallways. Going down the elevators. In the lobby just beyond the metal detectors. Then finally on Filbert Street just west of lucky 13th Street, often while police officers watch smoking cigarettes, and judges slip inside backseats of slick dark cars boasting ninja silent engines, leather interiors, vanity plates, and dashboard options such as martini shakers and suck off attachments.
No one even gives a fuck.
At least the Hague thinks enough of its criminals, victims, and system to staff single courtrooms with what looks like 75 sheriffs and 16 judges, even for cases like this one, a hit and run homicide (yawn). And despite the violence on display here, and the strange, loud tornado hum audio, which reminded me of the song More Light by J Mascis and the Fog, it is hard as a ten-plus year vet of the Philly criminal courts to take seriously any courtroom wrestlefest in which:
—ten judges wearing what looks like spaghetti house napkins puking forth from rounded robe collars stand totem pole stoic, scared stiff, praying to Satan that they might later reunite with hedge fund statements, supper club menus, cigar cocks they suck, and, to lesser extents, their spouses and families;
—Dutch chatter that sure aint the kind of playground smack talk I need as a Philadelphian to feel as if shit is, in fact, on;
—a 2:1 sheriff to audience member ratio that prevents the best part of courtroom violence: proletariat sociopath barehand chokings of robe wearers until powedered wigs pop off bald egged heads;
—audience member violence bearer men wearing ass hugging bulge revealing short shorts.
These are very European things. Hysterical. Girlish. Yes girlish. Sue me. At the Hague. I will wear a speedo and throw a croc at Sherriff #17. Fuck do I care?
All that ball breaking aside, the case was in fact a tragic one. A 21-year-old Bulgarian man speeding his ass off in car for reasons only he will ever know hit a teenage boy so hard and fast that the impact took him off his feet so that he flew a significant distance in the air and ultimately landed back on the concrete on his head. And the kid was not lucky enough to die on impact with the car, or even upon impact with the ground, but rather a day or two later in a hospital bed. The driver took off, only turned himself in when his damaged car led police close, so that scot-free escape was not imminent. Not quite courage by any continent's standards. I can't pretend to know law stateside. Nor then can i claim to know it inside Amsterdam. Nor do I know what facts got introduced or didnt, what pretrial motions might have led to the exclusion of key evidence obtained improperly.
Regardless, the dude hit a kid so that he flew in the air and landed on his head. And the dude fled. And the kid died. And the court found the man guilty. But they somehow sentenced him to 450 hours of community service. The reading of that verdict and its subsequent sentence is what set the crowd off, started the throwdown. And with those circumstances in mind, I can't say the violence that occurred was as petty as it can be in Philadelphia, where two families full of felons with checkered pasts and sketchy pistol purchases beat the hell out of each other because this family's violent son killed the violent son of that family first. Or because pitbull A shit on the lawn of outraged homeowner B.
No, this eruption was sad tragic stuff involving a baby boy basically (I am 42, middle aged now, and can call teen boys babies with sincerity), an asshole leadfoot coward, and an outrageous sentence by the standards of anyone from individual rights champions to law and order mavericks. And no wonder with those kinds of verdicts courtrooms are crammed with thirty sheriffs.
But still, I can't reconcile that sentence with so many judges, or whatever Dutchmen call jurists, presiding over the matter. And I can't help but wish to weep at the irony. It's the motherfucking Hague. Here they have put away modern history's most bloodthirsty rouge leaders of regimes evil almost beyond human comprehension. But what does any of that mean if the cost is that lost in such justice-based historical courage is a single kid? A pure innocent, bouncing home on the sidewalk, head lost in something like first love, or saturday's soccer game, or a five-page paper on
Shakespeare's Lear, mowed down by a douche bag motorist who, despite facing five-plus judges, gets, essentially, ten full-time weeks of trashpicking on the same sidewalks where for no reason other than his own retardation he ended a life that hadnt even started. Kicker insult to all of this is that since the wrist slap sentence, this man has picked up tickets for subsequent speeding charges. That kind of defiance and selfish obstinate stupidity is enough to make me want to fly to Amsterdam and, wearing spandex, smash up a courtroom. But I will let someone else kick the ass of the defendant, while i bang two jurist eggheads together like coconuts. And you can sentence me to something more substantive than 450 hours reading books to the blind. I will smile right inside the cell over the proceedings. Unless I'm crying over kids whose lives count for 450 hours, no more or less.
And now, the rest of the Tuesday Night Fights:
• The White-On-White Violence Enterlude:
• This is the only video that Austin Giesting took at his 21st birthday party. TNF Nation wishes Austin a happy 21st. (Start of Violence, 0:03)
• One surefire way to win a street fight is to choke one's foe out. This is a gender nonspecific rule. (SoV, 0:20)
• Great. Now people be McDonald's fightin' up in Sweden (SoV, 1:32).
• Squirrely 'Merican dudes weigh in on a fight in Hyderabad, India. (SoV, instantly)
• The Ewing (N.J.) Ladybrawl Live Look-In: (h/t Brian D., who points out "There’s fighting, a boob pops out and a guy drops a table on a lady."):
• Weaves and knives, yo. Weaves. And knives. Well, knife. But whatever. It's there with a street weave. (SoV, 0:11)
• The general rules of street fights are not abided by in this selection. SMDH. (SoV, instantly)
• Five on one, baby. One on five. (SoV, 0:21)
• Per the uploader, this video contains "some pussy kids fighting must watch! like and share." Bossy. (SoV, slow build)
• The Yinz Live Look-In:
• Post-clubbin' on an N.C. street. Woot. (SoV, 0:06)
• If all you're interested in his seeing a face get kicked in "Kicked In The Face During Street Fight (HD)," just flashforward to the 2:07 mark. (SoV, 1:06)
• Subway aggressor learns life lesson about aggressing. (SoV, 0:05)
• Beat Finders TV Presents "Houston Street Fight"
• From our nation's birthplace, "Ayo, Here's Some Ladies Fighting Outside A Philly Club" (SoV, instantly). Bonus coverage: Allegations that "Tone swung first" (SoV, 0:07). Bonus Coverage II: Wild action in Nicetown, yo (SoV, instantly).
• From TNF's Beijing Correspondent Anthony Tao: "A Nice Little Beijing Subway Scuffle." (SoV, instantly)
• Fought on the First of July, in Cambodia. (SoV, instantly)
• The Nicollet Mall Outdoor Mass-Brawl Likely-Snuff-Film Intermezzo (Possibly from 2011):
• While the fisticuffing is contained to the early portion of this life chronicle from the M block, plenty of time is left to contemplate the subpar landscaping of what seems to be a lovely area. Also, way quick weave removal. (SoV, 0:02)
• Baltimore. smdh (SoV, static throughout)
• Others: "Filipino teens street fight." "Fight about to break out in Chuck E. Cheese." "2 girls street fight! One gets dropped! 22." "3 Way Fight In Ridgecrest Montgomery / Ghetto Fights." "Jazzmon Real Beatdown Punching."
• The Worldstarllywood Coda: