Opinion: Getting Robbed

POSTED: 01/9/12 4:49 PM

By Donellis Browne*

I really never felt that it could happen to me, that someone would enter my personal space and take away my possessions. I am not blind to fact that thieves are amongst us and that people have been robbed before. I am also not ignorant of the many tips like don’t walk on dark roads alone and don’t show your possessions because that makes you a target. What happened is that I chose to ignore all that, simply because I felt I had taken the walk between my office and home before with no consequence. I took for granted that at the moment where I least expected it, something would happen to me, but let’s start at the beginning.
It was early Saturday morning. Some of my colleagues had left the office as I assured them that I would be fine getting home. I was busy talking to a friend and I figured when I finished I could just take a walk. I also had a bit of a plan to maybe go out that evening. But before calling the taxi I thought, it’s already so late, I’d been in my clothes all day and I should at least take a shower. When I locked up the office I saw the full moon and found the night to be not too chilly and that sealed my decision to walk home.
While I walked I kept up a conversation via Blackberry Messenger with a good friend who is at the start of a rough time and so I was not paying great amounts of attention. That was my second error. The walking alone was bad enough, but not paying attention helped to set up the unfortunate incident.
The robbers came across me on Coralita road. It’s not super dark there, but not many people use that road late at night. Because I was chatting on the phone, I never noticed their approach, until one of them jumped off the scooter they were on and grabbed me. He yelled, “What the f*** you looking at big man,” and then commanded me to give him everything I had. He took my phone, grabbed my camera and then went through my pockets. He also took my wallet, and some loose cash I was carrying but left me with one important object – my inhaler. I’m thankful he did because I needed it after he and his companion rode off.
The entire incident happened very quickly and I was only able to pick up minor details which I will not disclose here, so that the police investigation can take its course.
After the robbery was over I stood frozen to the spot where I was in shock as the reality of what had just happened sank in. After some time I knew I needed to find help and call the police. I walked for a bit and found someone who was willing to lend me a phone, which I used to call the police. I then returned to the scene in a daze and met the officers, who came very quickly after I had called. They questioned me about what happened and I told them the entire story. They then took me home and watched as I got into my apartment.
I had trouble sleeping that night and on Saturday night. In fact I had great difficulty leaving the house on Saturday. Eventually I did, because I needed to reassure people who love me that I was fine. It was also important for me to leave my apartment. Had I not done so the thieves would have taken more than my things, I would have given them the ability to dictate my life and whether I would continue with some semblance of normalcy.
I’m most upset that they took my camera – a Nikon P100 – because it was a gift from my mother for my birthday. I also feel like a weakling for simply handing over my things and not fighting, but as my brother said, and I agree, I did the right thing. I didn’t know how far these people were willing to go, so if I resisted things could have been a lot worse. Confronted with my disappointment that they’d taken my camera my brother said, “Do you think our mother would prefer having you alive and unhurt or to know you were killed trying to hold on to a thing? You are far more important to her.” His words contain the ultimate truth and helped remind me that what those thieves took was material things that can and will be replaced.
In hindsight the only reasons I can give for why I froze is the utter surprise and deep fear I felt when my assailant grabbed me. Fear truly cripples our ability to react or even move. What I have refused to do since that night is to let the fear consume me. It was difficult to leave the house on Saturday, but I did it because even after that experience life must go on.
I can’t end this without thanking the people that form my immediate and extended family circle. The support I have received from each of you is further affirmation of my belief that there is far more good in this world than evil. Thank you to each of you for your collective and individual support. It means more to me than what has been lost. I also make you guys the promise that walking alone, or otherwise, late at night is off my agenda. That is the one small concession that the thieves will get. In fact it’s more a loss, because I will do everything to ensure this never happens to me again.
I also hope that through this piece more people will not take the risk I did. I understand that sometimes there are things we do and choices we make, but it’s better to find a less risky alternative and to choose for that.

* We’re not in the habit of filling the pages of this news paper with things that happens to us, because our job is to report the news but when our News Editor Donellis Browne informed us he’d been robbed we thought it a good idea for him to share his experience so that our readers can have some insight into what it is like to go through such an experience.

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