6.09.2008

If the Saying is True, I'm a Republican Now?

The saying in question is "A Democrat is a Republican who hasn't been mugged yet." That saying was a lot cuter before I got mugged 13 hours ago in front of my house.

I thought crime couldn't touch me in Friendship Heights. I guess I've been spoiled by living in Upper Northwest for so long.

Anyways, here's the story.

My roommate and I were walking from a friend's house after the Celtics game. We're almost home when an impeccably dressed (slim black shirt, nice jeans, fancy sandals) Hispanic kid (5'8", black spiky hair) wearing sunglasses puts his hands on our shoulders. I figured it was a lost drunk looking for directions home.

Then he shows us the barrel of a (presumably fake) handgun and tells us no sudden movements. Roommate puts his hands up and the mugger empties his pockets. I do the same. He grabs my wallet from my left pocket.

I won't let him touch my right pocket. It was part outrage and part selfishness. I'm on iPod number three and cell phone number three. I don't need this bullshit. I know they say to let the mugger get what they want so no one gets hurt, but, no. I am not going to allow myself to be victimized. And if he was willing to shoot me, he might be willing to shoot me even if I cooperate. It may have been stupid, but I feel better now for having taken a stand. Of course if I were dead it would have been a moot point.

So I tell him no. He tells me he isn't playing. He calls for his getaway driver who sprints out of a white, newish Nissan with Maryland tags. The second criminal has his face covered except for his eyes. He had a dark complexion, but couldn't tell if he was black or Hispanic.

There was a fair bit of pandemonium here so I decided to book it and sprint the ten yards to my house to call the cops.

I made it about 10 feet before falling over. Damn you, klutziness!

The mugger pounces on top of me and starts throwing punches. My four years of karate training come in handy and I block them. My roommate throws him off of me and the naranjas del mecanismo sprint towards their car and speed off towards Western Avenue. I call the police.

They got twenty bucks from my roommate. Three bucks from me. The mugger ran out of his fancy sandals and left them behind to be taken by the police as evidence. So, the whole experience was a net negative for them. Ha!

And, because it's DC, the first police car on the scene went to the wrong block. That was about as predictable as the sunrise.

To be fair, the police were excellent. They were courteous and attentive. There were also a lot of them. Fifteen minutes after calling for help, there were five police cars on our quiet little block. I declined the officers' offer of an ambulance ride from my defensive wounds (sprained thumb, bruised wrist) and they were on the scene for a good three hours.

The shit that bugs me is the stress that comes afterwards. When I was showering I thought the house was empty. When I heard noises downstairs I was convinced the muggers were back to finish the job. It was just a new roommate moving her stuff in. I hope I get over that.

Also, losing a driver's license and my two bank cards is bad news, but it's not the end of the world. Losing a Social Security card is something else entirely. My number will be on file in the Bethesda Criminal Underworld for the rest of my life and there's nothing I can do about it.

This sucks.

58 comments:

  1. You're an idiot. Apparently the value of your life is something more than the inconvenience of replacing your credit cards, and something less than the value of an iPod. You are very lucky. But stupid.

    Anyway, while you were risking your life for the replacement cost of an iPod, did you happen to get the license plate number on the getaway car?

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  2. No. My roommate caught that they were Maryland plates but that's it. When they were speeding off I was calling 911.

    Talking it over with him, we don't think I was an idiot. In retrospect, the mugger had no handle on what was going on. If one of us tackled him that would have been it. We were on both sides of him and he had a hand occupied in a pocket. I should have hit him then.

    My roommate was cooperative, I wasn't. If we were both combative I think things would have turned out for the best.

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  3. AnonymousJune 09, 2008

    I won't comment on your decision to fight (hard to say what I would do in that situation), but I will say that you shouldn't be carrying around your SS card. When do you ever have to use that (compared to the risk of losing it / having it stolen)?

    Great blog - sorry to hear about the mugging.

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  4. By the way I am sorry this happened and I know it's traumatic. I have been mugged at gunpoint before. It takes a while to get your head straight again. But I am still a democrat.

    But think about the big picture should this ever happen again. How often have you been mugged? How often have people you know been mugged? I have lived here 17 years, in Adams Morgan, Mt. Pleasant and Columbia Heights, and been jacked once. And I walk around at night a lot. Most people I know have been mugged at most once in 10 years. Is $200 or $300 every ten years worth the risk of fighting?

    Sure, you guys might have been able to take them. But hindsight is 20/20. If you were writing this from a hospital bed because you decided to mess with the wrong guys, would you still feel the same way? Almost every serious injury or death as a result of a random mugging happens because the victim didn't give it up. Even if your chances of getting killed are only 1 in 100 for any given incident, and they are probably a lot higher than that, would you play russian roulette with those odds for a couple hundred bucks?

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  5. AnonymousJune 09, 2008

    No. Still idiotic.

    If someone asks you for something and shows you a gun, give it to them. There's no way you live in NW and can't afford to replace a phone and iPod.

    It's stupid to risk your life for something that's probably filled with shitty music anyways.

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  6. Oh shit, that was you?? I'm sorry. Hey, can I have my sandles back?

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  7. AnonymousJune 09, 2008

    Those Clay Aiken bootlegs are hard to get copies of! I don't blame you one bit for not wanting to give up the ipod!

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  8. AnonymousJune 09, 2008

    I'm a long time reader and lived in that neighborhood for several years. I'm an attorney who once specialized in ID Theft. I'm not going to comment on the stupidity of carrying around your social security card, but here are some steps you can take to mitigate the potential financial harm resulting from this terrible incident.

    1. Call and have a freeze placed on your credit reports.

    2. Call the Social Security Administration and ask about getting a new number. In very rare circumstances, the SSA will issue new numbers. This is, of course, a pain in the ass to get and a pain in the ass to deal with later as you change employment records and tax information, but if you are concered about identity theft, it may be worth it. When you get a new card, with our without a new number, lock it up some place safe.

    3. Immediately call your bank(s) and cancel those cards if you haven't already.

    4. Get copies of the police report. These will help if you have to challenge unauthorized charges on your credit cards or unauthorized uses of your SSN.

    I left DC two years ago this week and continue to read your blog to remind myself why. Good luck.

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  9. AnonymousJune 09, 2008

    Dude, I'm sorry this happend. But it should be a lesson to NEVER carry your social security card on your person.

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  10. Anon, you must be joking. That is the biggest overreaction to a mugging I can possibly imagine. You really think the Hispanic street thug is, in fact, by night a brilliant white-collar crook who's going to be enacting lines of credit, posing as our nearly-suburban white hero who's real name is almost certainly likely to raise some eyebrows if used by said brown-skinned street thug?

    Yes, identity theft is real, but this is about the least likely scenario that would result in one comapared to, say, simply taking mail from someone's mailbox.

    To actually change your social security number after a mugging is crazy. With your name, I can probably get your social security number online for 20 bucks. There's very little risk from losing your SSN. It used to be on my DC driver's license for every shady bartender in DC to see, for christ's sake.

    Don't go all paranoid. Your social security card is likely already at Fort Totten in a pile of trash with the rest of the contents of your wallet. I seriously doubt that the mugger wanted anything more than your cash and ipod.

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  11. Igor's MaulersJune 09, 2008

    Sorry dude. You probably should have just given the stuff up. Either that or jacked the dude. How tall are you anyway? Was the getaway dude in view when you were resisting? Any video cameras in the area? You didn't get anything off the tag at all? Not even one letter?

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  12. Toad the Wet DouchebagJune 09, 2008

    What kind of a thug wears fucking sandals? The dude was 5'8"? You should have stepped on him.
    Like the Genius says, he must have been feminine like sandals.

    It is armed robbery and that is a serious felony. Im sure you could CSI his ass and pull some DNA off them bitch shoes.

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  13. Um.

    1. Jamie, just because he was hispanic doesn't mean he isn't into white-collar crime. Rusty even pointed out that he was dressed nicely.

    2. A friend of mine (who is a white girl) got a piece of mail from Bank of America. Inside said piece of mail was a new credit card. That she hadn't ordered. That had a picture of it. Of a little Latino man. If he had successfully had it sent to his address instead of hers (what an idiot), I'm sure he would have been able to use it.

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  14. The new credit card had a picture on it*

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  15. I'm glad you're alive. That sounds really scary. Its a good thing roommate save your life. I would be so pissed if that happened to me and I'm pretty pissed it happened to you. I hope your wrist is okay and I'm sure you'll feel comfortable walking around your neighborhood again soon.

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  16. I'm just saying, there are much easier ways to get social security numbers than mugging someone. I really doubt that the class of criminals who do identity theft, which is definitely more lucrative (and complex) than street thuggery, have a lot in common with the class of criminals who jack drunks walking home late at night in DC.

    Terri, I'm guessing the picture on that credit card wasn't a picture of someone who had recently mugged your friend.

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  17. AnonymousJune 09, 2008

    5 cops just for a mugging? No wonder DC has so much crime elsewhere.

    Sorry that happened. At least you had some balls during your robbery, gotta tip my hat to that.

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  18. AnonymousJune 09, 2008

    Jamie, actually Terri's right. A lot of personal information gathered from muggings ans other petty crimes end up involved in identity theft. Even if the mugger isn't involved, all the stuff from Rusty's wallet could be sold rather easily.

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  19. AnonymousJune 09, 2008

    >But I am still a democrat.

    >Is $200 or $300 every ten years worth the risk of fighting?

    A democrat indeed. ;)

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  20. >A democrat indeed. ;)

    Is there something about republicans that makes not value their lives very much? Or is it more like, Republicans are always up for a good fight even if it makes no fucking sense at all.

    Hmm, reminds me of something about our government's foreign policy lately...

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  21. Sorry to hear about it. It's shocking in your neighborhood that it would happen. Perhaps the riffaff of Chevy Chase is finally starting to trickle down.

    Also, it's worth noting that you and your roommate are significantly larger than the muggers - I would have put my money on you either way.

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  22. I was mugged at 9pm on a saturday night in November, at 8th and K Streets NE. Someone from behind jumped onto me and started strangling me. After a failed attempt at tackling me, he tripped me and I fell face first into a retaining wall. I tried screaming for help (there were three people at a bus stop about three houses down the street...they didn't help me), he started smashing my head into the sidewalk, at which point I started to bleed heavily. He said he was going to kill me, so I stopped moving. He reached into my pocket and stole my wallet, and ran off.

    I called 911 (he didn't steal my cellphone for some reason) and cops, a fire truck and an ambulence were there in about five minutes. They took me to the ER for an MRI and stitches.

    The mugger stole $50 in cash and two credit cards, with which he was able to spend $500 on at various gas stations around the area before I could cancel them after getting home from the hospital early the next morning.

    I'm a longtime reader of your blog; I'm sorry this happened to you.

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  23. SSN# 564 75 3226June 09, 2008

    1) No matter how small or short the mugger/robber is compared to you, if they tell you they have a gun, believe them and do not resist. 7'7 against 5'2 with a gun are not very good odds.

    2) It does not matter what part of the city you live in at this point. Criminals from lower income neighborhoods are going to flock to areas that they know people are goig to have money/valuables on them.

    3) Latino/Hispanics is NOT a race. There are white Latino/Hispanics. There are black Latino/Hispanics.
    There are brown Latino/Hispanics.
    There are asian Latino/Hispanics.
    There are Latino/Hispanics that are various mixtures of all of the above.

    4) Being robbed/shot/mugged is something of a rite of passage of sorts for incoming transplants to the Washington DC area.

    5) There have been reported cases of educated white criminals who pay poorly educated minority youth from lower income neighborhoods CASH for credit cards, social security cards, birth certificates, drivers licenses, uncashed checks etc... etc... etc...

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  24. AnonymousJune 09, 2008

    My sympathies. I was assaulted from behind in June 2004 in Silver Spring. I know how you feel.

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  25. AnonymousJune 09, 2008

    People, *please* do not fight muggers! When successful, I find it as satisfying as the next (way liberal) gal. But hearing someone get shot down outside my apartment at 20th & Kalorama those few weeks ago was an excellent reminder just to let them take the stuff.

    Though if I can ask, in case anyone knows - is the official word still that the victim was chasing a mugger? I've heard conflicting stories, and given that I often have to walk home in the dark, I'd like to know what the deal was.

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  26. AnonymousJune 09, 2008

    Kudos to you for standing up!

    I got mugged in high school (I didn't lose credit cards, id's etc) but two weeks to the day we caught the guys and two of them went to jail for two and four years respectively.

    Although I am a Republican, that saying is bullshit. My best friend who was mugged with me lives here in DC now and is a die hard democrat. It just makes you a hard core "law and order" democrat.

    Anyways, respect for standing up. I hope those fuckers go to jail and get manhandled by some eses.

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  27. I am so sorry that this happened to you. No one should ever feel unsafe in (or around your home).

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  28. AnonymousJune 10, 2008

    You suck Rusty, you could of gotten yourself and friend killed over shit ... its not his fault your too poor to replace your shitty ipod/cell phone FUCK YOU RUSTY.

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  29. Virtiolic VinnyJune 10, 2008

    The vitriol on this comment posting is fucking nuts.

    The dude got mugged and you are saying fuck you to him? Well, fuck you fucker.

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  30. Maybe Lanier should institute her fascist plan in your neighborhood now!

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  31. AnonymousJune 10, 2008

    What a buzz kill. I come here looking for the usual bitching about a Metro derailment, and instead I get this.

    Imagine this: had Rusty been less lucky last night, his last post on this blog would have been about over-zealous crime prevention in DC.

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  32. that would be hilarious if after rusty started running away because he didn't want to lose his ipod and a phone that the thieves then shot rusty's friend and killed him. WHOOPS! haha.

    yeah and why do you have your SS card in your wallet? in case you have to fill out some W-2s on the spot? Do you also carry your passport with you at all times?

    that does suck tho. maybe you can practice more karate and actually kick the 5'8'' sandal wearing criminal's ass next time. i hear friendship heights is the new suitland these days.

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  33. Man, y'all should move to Baltimore. At least our muggers look like muggers can carry real guns.

    Plus you can say y'all without being laughed at.

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  34. Sid Vicious' ConscienceJune 10, 2008

    Test the DNA on the beatch slippers dammit.

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  35. You guys watch too much CSI. Why not run a facial enhancement of the nearest ATM camera that caught him from 400 feet away? He'll be apprehended in no time.

    "DC Crime Lab"... haaa ha ha ha!! Do we even have one?

    When my truck got broken into (and nothing stolen except the faceplate from my 15 year old CD player that barely worked; they couldn't get the unit itself since apparently they lacked a screwdriver) the cops actually took fingerprints off the truck. They were so serious about it; I did my best to avoid chuckling as the swarm of policemen put on a tremendous show with the dust and tape and everything.

    We can't even close a homicide in this town. I seriously doubt that those fingerprints, and those sandals, are even going to make it to an evidence bag.

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  36. AnonymousJune 10, 2008

    Deanwood, up to no good.

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  37. AnonymousJune 10, 2008

    Sounds like you need to make a trip to VA and buy yourself some firepower!

    My favorite movie line...

    You are shrinking, and your two little balls are shrinking with you. And the fact that you've got "Replica" written down the side of your gun...

    And the fact that I've got "Desert Eagle point five O"...

    Written down the side of mine...

    Should precipitate your balls into shrinking, along with your presence. Now... **** off!

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  38. Rusty's Bean BagJune 10, 2008

    Rusty hearts sandals

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  39. AnonymousJune 10, 2008

    Rise up and fight your muggers!

    To quote Team America: You have balls. I like balls.

    Most muggers don't actually want to kill you. He might pistol whip you, but actually shooting somebody is sort of a step beyond what most street thugs are willing to do. The guy driving the car who also gets pinched for murder under felony murder rule would also have some problems with actually shooying you. Of course, you only have to wrong about that once.

    You get my props for drawing the line in the sidewalk. I'm not sure I would have the balls. And, as noted above, I like them.

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  40. AnonymousJune 10, 2008

    Sorry to hear it, but you could have easily been killed because of an IPOD. Don't ever look at a mugger and resist.

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  41. AnonymousJune 10, 2008

    All of you who are saying that Rusty is stupid are cowards! America where are you going! We are becoming such a pushovers! If you won't protect yourself they will come back!
    I have a good idea for any other country come and attack us like ten or fifteen years from now, the generation we are rising is the weakest ever, we will be clueless what to do! Just look around, kids no days, wearing hard hats and all that stupid padding for any outdoor activity.
    Rusty I think it is good and normal that you protected yourself. If I would be with you these guys would be beaten on the sidewalk. I trained Thai box and am still good at it!
    People wake up, and fight for yourself!

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  42. AnonymousJune 10, 2008

    kchard says I know someone who would have happily replaced your cell and ipod just to have you safe!

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  43. AnonymousJune 10, 2008

    All of you who are saying that Rusty is stupid are cowards! America where are you going! We are becoming such a pushovers! If you won't protect yourself they will come back!
    I have a good idea for any other country come and attack us like ten or fifteen years from now, the generation we are rising is the weakest ever, we will be clueless what to do! Just look around, kids no days, wearing hard hats and all that stupid padding for any outdoor activity.
    Rusty I think it is good and normal that you protected yourself. If I would be with you these guys would be beaten on the sidewalk. I trained Thai box and am still good at it!
    People wake up, and fight for yourself!

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  44. AnonymousJune 10, 2008

    All of you who are saying that Rusty is stupid are cowards! America where are you going! We are becoming such a pushovers! If you won't protect yourself they will come back!
    I have a good idea for any other country come and attack us like ten or fifteen years from now, the generation we are rising is the weakest ever, we will be clueless what to do! Just look around, kids no days, wearing hard hats and all that stupid padding for any outdoor activity.
    Rusty I think it is good and normal that you protected yourself. If I would be with you these guys would be beaten on the sidewalk. I trained Thai box and am still good at it!
    People wake up, and fight for yourself!

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  45. I have to admit, the idea of turning the tables on my mugger and beating him to a bloody pulp would not only give me immense pleasure at causing someone pain who utterly deserves it, but asserting myself as a non-victim is an attractive thought as well.

    Unfortunately, it's not reality. Someone above said that muggers don't want to shoot you. I don't doubt that, but it doesn't mean that they're sensible not to. They're already committing a crime - they're scared and nervous and you don't want to give them a reason to fly off the handle. It's doubtful they think that far in advance when a mugging goes bad.

    So while I commend you for taking a stance, it was a rather foolish thing to do nonetheless. Be thankful you weren't shot in the spine.

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  46. AnonymousJune 11, 2008

    Ugh, normally I feel safe walking home to my apartment in Friendship Heights from CT ave to WI ave... While normally I'd think you were a bit dumb for fighting back, we'll hope you scared them out of the neighborhood.

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  47. I'm sorry that happened to you.

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  48. AnonymousJune 11, 2008

    You actually are an idiot -- my sister-in-law's fiance was murdered eight years ago in Northwest DC while resisting a mugging. It can happen to anyone, anywgere.

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  49. aww geez rusty! what a load of suck :(

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  50. Dude,

    Why the hell would you carry your SS card in your wallet? That makes no sense. You don't carry your passport around everywhere too I hope.

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  51. I am one step ahead of thieves by not having a passport.

    Take that, thieves!

    Btw, what's the big deal if a mugger gets a passport? Do they have SS numbers on them?

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  52. AnonymousJune 13, 2008

    There's something about the perps description: "[A]n impeccably dressed (slim black shirt, nice jeans, fancy sandals) Hispanic kid (5'8", black spiky hair) wearing sunglasses puts his hands on our shoulders". Perhaps he was after your french toast and mimosa recipes? A few twists of plot, and I think this whole escapade could have turned into an article in one of those stud mags.

    Good luck with regaining your usual good humor (or usual bad humor, but normalcy, anway).

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  53. AnonymousJune 13, 2008

    Sorry to hear about this happening.

    While it might have been smarter to cooperate, fighting back was definitely the right thing to do and I commend you for it. You probably scared the heck out these punks (who were not expecting this behavior from DC's standard polo-shirt wearing pussies) and while I wouldn't hold my breath for DC Cops to catch them, they'll definitely think twice before trying this again.

    Also the "rite of passage" thing is a load of crap. New DC-ites get mugged for the same reason they wear sandals with suits and talk too loudly on their mobile phones on public transportation: they're mostly provincials not used to city life.

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  54. AnonymousJune 14, 2008

    Man, y'all sound like my mom after I do something stupid. He knows not to keep his SSN in his wallet - give it a rest! He learned his lesson!

    Also, all these wussies are like "you're so stupid for fighting back." Probably so, but who gives a shit? I think you're a badass.

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  55. Heywood JablomeeJune 17, 2008

    How fucking stupid can you be to carry your SS card in your wallet? Rusty, I hope your identity gets stolen, your credit gets permanently destroyed, you can never buy a house or a car, and end up selling fish to tourists in t-shirts.

    The only thing more moronic than carrying your SS card in your wallet is posting on your blog how fucking stupid you are to have done it in the first place.

    Yea muggers! Boo Rusty!

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  56. AnonymousJune 17, 2008

    That was all-balls pitching a fight. If that guy had a real gun, he's not going to put it down so you can engage in hand-to-hand combat. You're lucky that you weren't shot.

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  57. I love all you crazies who are telling him that fighting was such a brilliant thing to do. Ten bucks says NONE of you have ever been mugged before. I'd like to see how Mr. Thai Boxer does kickin' a** after being shot in the leg. Wake up people. . . your life vs. i-Pod/$300 really worth it? Don't think so. By the way, I got mugged in New York when I was 19. It wasn't fun. Still a liberal though. It's just money at the end of the day.

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  58. This blogger was not as lucky as you. Best wishes to Brian Buetler for a speedy recovery.

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2008/07/02/blogger-shot-in-adams-morgan/

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