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    Unhappy Beyond Shocking. What Say You?

    Its for reports like this that I sometimes wonder why I spend so much time reading through the news. Most of the time the stories are funny or at least give food for thought, but sometimes the story is beyond comprehension. This is one of those. I will refrain from further commentary, although I could give a very direct opinion on some aspects of events and human nature in general, but NO. I will not, this time.

    Inaction in boy's killing called justified.

    Demian Bulwa, Chronicle Staff Writer. Wednesday, June 18, 2008

    (06-17) 19:07 PDT TURLOCK (STANISLAUS COUNTY) -- The town of Turlock and much of the rest of the nation was shocked when a 27-year-old man beat and stomped his 2-year-old son to death on a rural road. But what was nearly as stunning for many people was that none of the motorists and their passengers who stopped and saw the attack tried to tackle the man.

    Police officers and psychologists familiar with violent emergencies, however, said they weren't surprised at all.

    A volunteer firefighter and at least five others saw Sergio Casian Aguiar assaulting his son Saturday night on the road west of Turlock (Stanislaus County), but it wasn't until a police officer arrived in a helicopter that the attack finally ended. Aguiar refused to halt the attack and raised his middle finger at the officer, who shot him to death, authorities said.

    Bystanders are justifiably scared and confused in such situations, the experts said Wednesday, and they lack the experience needed to respond with force. They can also be mesmerized by shock.

    John Conaty, a veteran homicide detective and former patrol officer in Pittsburg, said that in interviews of witnesses to violence, "the common thing you hear is, 'I was frozen in fear. I just couldn't take action.' "

    Conaty questioned whether the witnesses had even been capable of stopping Aguiar. "If they were physically able, you have to take a look at whether they were psychologically prepared to intervene," he said.

    "I would not condemn these people," said John Darley, a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University who has studied how bystanders react in emergency situations. "Ordinary people aren't going to tackle a psychotic.

    "What we have here," Darley said, "is a group of family and friends who are not pre-organized to deal with this stuff. They don't know who should do what. ... If you had five volunteer firefighters pull up, you would expect them to have planned responses and a division of labor. But that's not what we had here."

    Darley said he was also not surprised that people who weren't at the scene of the killing believe they would have been heroic Good Samaritans.

    "It's an aspiration," he said. "They hope they would have done differently."

    First on the scene
    One of the witnesses, Deborah McKain of nearby Crows Landing, said she was the first to pull up to the beating scene with her boyfriend, a volunteer fire chief who is 52, as well as her 20-year-old son, her son's wife and her son's male friend. They called 911 at 10:13 p.m., police said.

    Over the next seven minutes, McKain said, Aguiar kicked his son at least 100 times as he calmly stated that he needed to "get the demons out" of the boy.

    "It was like I was on some type of drug or something," McKain recalled Tuesday. "I couldn't believe what was going on. It was like a dream."

    She said her boyfriend, Dan Robinson, forcefully argued with Aguiar in an effort to get him to stop, but that he would not. At one point, another woman, 23-year-old Lisa Mota, pulled up in her car, but stayed inside.

    "We were looking for rocks or boards on the ground, just to knock him out, get him under control. But we couldn't find anything," McKain said. "We didn't know if he had a knife or any kind of weapon on him."

    McKain said she wondered whether Aguiar was on hallucinogenic drugs and whether fighting with him might lead him to hurt several of the witnesses.

    She also said it appeared the child was "gone."

    People who are second-guessing her and her family can "never know until they're in that situation," McKain said. "We would have loved to knock his head off, too, but we had nothing to knock it off with."

    Deputy Royjindar Singh, a spokesman for the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, acknowledged there was some "Monday morning quarterbacking" taking place, but said his agency had no problem with the actions of the witnesses.

    'Everybody acts differently'
    "Your headlights are shining on a person taking the life out of an infant, and not just shaking and slapping but punching and kicking," Singh said. "Everybody reacts differently."

    Sheriff's investigators are still trying to determine why Aguiar, a grocery store worker who recently split up from his schoolteacher wife, killed his son so savagely. The boy's name still has not been released.

    Investigators have learned that Aguiar left his home near downtown Turlock before the beating, but they don't know why he drove about 10 miles into an area of cornfields and dairy ranches, Singh said. He said investigators had found no evidence of drug use at Aguiar's house or in his pickup, though results of toxicology tests have not yet come back.

    Aguiar's wife, who was in Southern California at the time of the slaying, and others have told investigators that Aguiar "wasn't acting differently than how he normally acts," Singh said. Aguiar's family members, who live in Mexico, were traveling to Stanislaus County to talk to deputies, Singh said.

    "As of right now," Singh said, "nobody's saying he was having problems at all. It's baffling. It sounds like there was nothing anyone could have done."

    E-mail Demian Bulwa at dbulwa@sfchronicle.com.


    For those who don't know (like me) Turlcock is east of San Jose, just south of Stockton, CA

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    Too many sheeps and wolves, not enough sheep dogs anymore. This story best sums up what I want to say in response.

    "One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: “Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident.” This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another."
    Read More..

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    I gotta be honest, I'm having a hard time judging the bystanders. Here is a obviously aggressive, deranged, violent man who may be armed. None of the Bystanders (at least from the article) were trained at disarming or hand-to-hand. This story could very easily have the headline "Man stabbed while trying to thwart assault".

    They did try to verbally intervene, so its not like they ignored the situation, but stopped short of physically addressing it.. something none of them were trained in.
    So you call this your free country
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    In reading the first stories that came out, my thoughts were along the lines of why with so many witnesses, they did not just gang up and pull him off. The thing is, although I find the actions of the man repulsive beyond words and I mentally found myself wanting to beat the crap out of him, at the same time, if you are not physically on the scene, any judgements you make as to why or why not the witnesses did not attempt to stop him en masse, cannot be answered. Although I still cannot understand why, I cannot judge those who were there since I was not.

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    Voyager, unfortunatly I have to agree with you at least in part. Although we also know about how crowd (swarming) works - just ask any teenagers, they'll tell you all about it. I guess that's what makes this story such a heart breaker. Good folks were there and watched it happen. Unfortunately their own personal limitations prevented them from doing more than saying "STOP".

    Sounds a lot like the United Nations...... "I say! STOP... STOP. Or I'll say STOP again." Or at least that is how it was during my tour in Cyprus way back when.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    Good folks were there and watched it happen. Unfortunately their own personal limitations prevented them from doing more than saying "STOP".
    I imagine those folks are reliving their own personal limitations over and over every day since this happened.

    I'd like to think that if one of the onlookers had been an off-duty LEO, military, or even someone who studied martial arts they would have the training and would have intervened.
    So you call this your free country
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    I may be off-base on this one, but...

    Do you think that you see behavior such as this because our society, in general, is not involved in physical altercations as much as they used to be? And I realize that this may be the point of the post above.

    Back when I was in school, there was a fist fight between students virtually every day. You would fight, go to the prinicipals office, get yelled at, shake hands and then go back to class. Now, it is a federal case. Often the police are called, parents are called, kids are suspended, schools are locked down, etc.

    It, in my mind, is kind of like fighting fire. Unless you have been there, you have no idea what it is like. Unless you have been in a physical altercation, you really don't know what to expect.

    I have been in my share of fights (on duty) in my adult life (a few off-duty, once got my *** handed to me on a plate. Sobering experience). I would like to think that I would not have hesitated to take this guy on. But, you never know....

    I wouldn't criticize these people either. I believe that there are things that your brain isn't able to process normally. Something like this would fall into that category.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    studied martial arts
    You do not "study" this topic, you do or you don't do it.

    As George said, when the fur flies in the real world it flies hard and fast. Most people would be way the heck out of their depth dealing with an aggresive offender about .1 of a second after it starts.

    Remember the 6 P's.

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    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
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    Like George says, most people are not exposed to this type of thing so people are shocked and can't react, even if they want to.

    At least the firefighters who were there knew enough to call 911 while everyone else just watched. For myself, and other current and/or former law enforcement people would not hesitate a bit to take him down because that is what we are trained to do. Just like a firefighter doesn't think twice about pulling a hose and fighting fire. In fact, firefighter training says to make sure the scene is secure. In a situation like that, you become automatic in your training. You are trained to do something and you just do it. Afterwards, you have time to think and you say to yourself, holy $hit! I just did that!

    I, also was a scrapper in school getting into fights a lot for some reason. I agree that society has changed. I have been in some very violent situations working in LE and didn't think twice about it until afterwards and almost freaked myself out sometimes. Guns, knives, drugs and thugs were a norm and I became immune to the "holy balls, that guy had a gun" type of thing. Like George said, I would like to say I would have reacted, I would hope I would, I'm sure I would have without thinking about it.....but I would never know for sure until I would be in that situation.

    The general public cannot be judged for this at all. The "trained" firefighters on scene did the best they could it seemed so they cannot be judged. As sick and twisted as this person was, he would have hurt others who tried to step in too.
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    See, thats the tough part of this that causes the proverbial Catch-22 Syndrome.

    While I was never a fighter in school nor in my adult life (or at least managed to avoid them most of the time anyhow) I have never had qualms about stepping in to break them up if it seemed necessary. Although somewhat different, stepping into a dog fight is not often considered among the brighter things to do on any given day, but I have more than enough scars on my hands from being bit while doing so. {some funny stories come with that statement}

    I feel for the folks who witnessed this, because I know they will forever live with the "What If" question. Just glad its not my question to answer. I acknowledge that they did the best they could, and in reality that is all that any one can ask of another.

    For what its worth I hope they visit the same treatment upon the father as that what he gave to his son. Although in reality he will likely get the standard three squares, a roof over head, clean dry clothes, cable tv and live more or less happily ever after. And maybe a big redneck roomy named Bubba.
    Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 06-19-2008 at 08:50 AM.

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    Another factor that I can add to this is, if you have never seen the damage that an adult can inflict upon a child, it is not possible to compute the statement that the child looked like he was "already gone". The foot and fists can be lethal weapons. A beating looks nothing like a car wreck or a fall. I truly believe that lady when she says this.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Just recently a man and a woman were murdered here,

    It started with a derranged man ruthlessly attacking an innocent woman outside her store front, her husband coming to her aid falls victim to the attacker, stabbed mutliple times.

    Both the woman and man were pronounced dead at the scene. The attacker was shot on-scene by the first arriving officer as he charged him with the weapon (A Knife) he was brought into area hospital in critical condition, later recovering and subsequently remanded into Police custody and awaiting Trial.

    John Q. Public for the most part has very little if not no experience in dealing with these types of people, certainly not in these situations. I can easily understand the situation.

    It's the Publics duty to notify the authorities (911 or another emergency number) offer assistance if at all possible. As first Responders the last thing you really want to see is unnecessary casualties.

    Anyhow that's my take

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post


    For what its worth I hope they visit the same treatment upon the father as that what he gave to his son. Although in reality he will likely get the standard three squares, a roof over head, clean dry clothes, cable tv and live more or less happily ever after. And maybe a big redneck roomy named Bubba.
    Just a note, Malahat, the father was SHOT to DEATH by the police after he refused to stop beating the child.

    "Aguiar refused to halt the attack and raised his middle finger at the officer, who shot him to death, authorities said."
    I fish for a living, but I have to work for money...

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhvfd1214 View Post
    Just a note, Malahat, the father was SHOT to DEATH by the police after he refused to stop beating the child.

    "Aguiar refused to halt the attack and raised his middle finger at the officer, who shot him to death, authorities said."
    Oh ya. Right. I did forget about that part. Too bad the cop didnt take him down by starting at his ankles and working his way up, but then the "Do-Godders" would get angry with that, as being use of excessive force or something.

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