“Two bouncers at the Tavern [Pacific Beach] have been arrested on suspicion of an assault... that sent a 22-year-old sailor to the hospital for surgery.” -Union-Tribune, Nov. 2, 2002
Excuse me while I ponder a conspiracy theory. I've been in the service industry for more than 15 years now. I've observed hundreds of bar brawls. Not once have I seen a situation where the bouncers were arrested.
Even if the customer is all bumps and blood when the cops arrive, they still support the security staff-because they know, more than likely, that customer kicked and punched and bit and scratched and spat and stomped and scowled and screamed and shat at security all the way to the front door.
Incidentally, in the Tavern case, there were multiple sailors and multiple bouncers involved. The thing was an all-out brawl. So I have to ask why? Why is the district attorney pressing felony assault charges? Why did the cops arrest only the bouncers?
Hence the following conspiracy theory:
For about 10 years, there has been an ongoing crusade by certain self-proclaimed morally pure factions of the city to reduce the amount of liquor licenses in P.B. (Pagan's Beach).
By arresting and potentially convicting these bouncers, the city could bring valuable publicity to this issue. I truly hope these two bouncers aren't being railroaded in the name of such a lame-ass political peckerwood issue like, “Too many bars in P.B.”?
Note to the morally pure residents of Pagans Beach: So, somebody pisses on your yard every other Saturday night; so, you have to clear a beer bottle from the back of your pick-up on Sunday morning? Oh, sweet misery, how do you deal?
When you live in the Devil's borough, the hassles of tire-pissing and bottle-leaving are factored into your rent. It'd be a real crime for all those bar employees and owners to lose their livelihood because you can't hang.
Even if my conspiracy theory is wrong, as most are, I still question the wisdom of charging these bouncers with felony assault. I'm sure the DA knows how unlikely it was that these sailors were simply minding their own business when, suddenly, for no apparent reason, quite by surprise, unprovoked, without warning, unexpectedly, undeservedly, right out of the blue, these outlaw bouncers just snapped.
Not likely. Nothing bad ever happened to a customer who left when he was asked to leave. Also, I would remind the DA of the bouncer's job description: to risk life and limb to protect others.
Risk life and limb? Isn't that overly dramatic? Aren't I exaggerating?
Before answering, please note my credentials: I've bounced the beach bars. I've bounced the Gaslamp. I've bounced inland. And I've bounced outland. I've bounced dive bars, dance clubs, sports pubs, rugby tents, football stadiums, house parties and concert clubs. I've bounced hard rock, speed punk, death metal, queer-core, gangster rap, redneck country and angry acousti-dyke concerts. I've bounced the subway walls and tenement halls. I have been struck with a bat, stuck with a fork, smacked with a car antennae, nearly strangled on the bottom of a brawl-pile, dodged a hepatitis-infected-needle-lunge, had a pistol pointed at my face, and been beaten with the pointy, fuck-me pump heels of an obese, irate Mexican lesbian.
Am I exaggerating?
Remember the two bouncers who were murdered at the Bonita Store? Remember the big, loveable San Diego strip club door host who was shot and killed walking a dancer to her car. Remember the shootout at Blue Tattoo?
Am I exaggerating?
One time, working the door at Winston's with Duane and Guy, we found ourselves in a melee with three drunken assholes who tried to push their way inside. The battle quickly evolved into three separate one-on-one fights: Duane had his enormous fingers wrapped around the trachea of Asshole No. 1 and pinned him up against the outside wall. I was trading punches with Asshole No. 2, who then snapped off a car antenna and began whipping at me. And Guy was on the ground, on top of Asshole No. 3, repeatedly banging his skull into the sidewalk.
At one point, I turned to see how Guy was doing. To my horror, I saw No. 3's eyes had rolled back inside his head. Oblivious, Guy kept pounding him against the pavement. I had to expose my back to Antennae Boy and pull Guy off before he killed No. 3.
Sometimes, when an all-out melee breaks out, you go into this primal survival instinct blackout mode. It's a completely normal and common human phenomenon. We should grant much legal leeway to those in the midst of a primal survival blackout; especially to bouncers, cops or, oh yes, even sailors.
Remember, war is brewing. Fuck us if we-the very people who will send them to war-can't understand why they're a little wound up right now. Bouncers, sailors, cops-it takes a certain personality trait to even consider such a job. Welcome to the Testosterdome, yo. It's all part of who we are.