APN Editor Recovers from Stabbing in Atlanta’s Midtown

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(APN) ATLANTA — APN News Editor released the following statement today:

Dear APN Friends and Readers,

I am writing to share with you a tragic incident which occurred this Tuesday.

I was stabbed in an attempted robbery only two blocks from my house in Midtown, Atlanta, as I was walking to the Exxon gas station on the corner of Monroe Drive and Ponce de Leon Avenue.

I’m okay now as far as we know, and recovering from the wound. I stopped bleeding Wednesday night finally, and was able to take small steps at the John Edwards dinner on Thursday.

It is important to share what happened not only as it relates to my experience and recovery, but so people understand the violent dangers which abound in Midtown.

I now believe there is an unspoken crime wave in my area of Midtown, one the powers that be in the City do not want you to know about. Rep. Thomas says she believes the wave is City-wide.

I was walking to the store down Monroe Drive, as two young Black men came toward me, looking kind of rough the way they were walking.

Both of the men were about 21 years of age I would guess. What was also suspicious was they were on opposite sides of the street, although it was clear they were walking together. They were walking at the same pace. One was wearing a white t-shirt.

I tried to walk around the guy on my side of the street. He blocked me by going left when I went left, towards the street. I then went right and he mumbled something.

“What?”

“Give me your wallet,” he said as he seemed about to grab me and attack me. At this moment I looked and the other guy was now coming across the street to gang up on me.

“No!” I shouted, running into the street. There were no cars.

The young man on my side of the street then reached as if to try to grab me. I didn’t see a weapon. But at that point he apparently stabbed me in right side of my abdomen. They didn’t get the wallet.

I ran to the Exxon gas station. “I’ve been stabbed! Please call 911!”

The Exxon attendant ignores me and continues to help the lady in front of me.

“Are you going to call 911?”

“You can use the payphone outside.”

“Why can’t you call?”

“Our phone doesn’t work.” Yeah right.

So then I went running across the street–bleeding out of my abdomen–to the other gas station in order to get help.

The police came shortly followed by ambulance.

I have not followed up with the police yet to see if they found the perpetrators, but I doubt they did. They asked me what clothing they were wearing but all I could remember was the white t-shirt.

At Grady, they did an x-ray and found no problem. Decided not to do a Cat Scan. They looked inside the wound–which was horrible–and couldn’t see all the way down but said what they saw looked okay. They cleaned the wound.

They asked me to stay for 24 hours for observation but, hating hospitals, I replied I would observe myself, thank you.

Susan Keith, APN Board Member, and our friend, Tim Wood, came to the hospital.

I have been on pain medication and just resting a lot as the wound heels.

OBSERVATIONS

My first observation is that the stabbing had nothing to do with the attempted robbery.

In other words, it should’ve been clear that he was not going to get the wallet at that point, so stabbing me did not help him with his goal to get money (if that was his goal).

Thus, the preferred theory about this–that they were trying to get money for crack–is insufficient.

I believe, and many people have also suggested, I would’ve been stabbed even if I gave him the wallet probably. Rep. Thomas said she believes it’s part of a new culture of street violence where it’s not just enough to rob somebody, but the goal is to hurt another person.

My second observation is, you can’t assume you’re safe because you’re in a safer part of a mixed neighborhood. People can cross over into the other side by walking.

I urge people to use extreme caution. Stay away from borderline areas at night, particularly alone on foot. If something looks suspicious, please turn the other way and run. (Relatedly, don’t wear sandals.) I thought I had learned this lesson in New Orleans a few years ago, but when I moved here, I didn’t think Atlanta was like this. I’m certain now Atlanta’s worse.

I was worried even though I felt suspicious about these young men, that maybe I was wrong and I would hurt their feelings if I turn and ran. But here’s an idea, maybe I could’ve pretended to have gotten a really important phone call or something and then ran.

Also, as I’ve spoken with my neighbors about this, it turns out there are a lot more stories of attempted robberies and car breaks ins that I don’t even know about. And I live on a nice residential street. So, there’s more violence out there than many Atlantans might think, and only by having dialogue will we understand the nature of this problem.

My third observation is, Exxon needs to be held accountable. This is a community store. The fact they wouldn’t call 911 for me, when I got robbed on the way to their store, is an absolute collapse of the compassion one human being is supposed to have for another human being.

I may call a community protest of this Exxon store. Stay tuned for details.

My fourth observation, when I went to Grady the ER people said, “You’re lucky you’re a big guy.”

The wound was 4 centimeters deep.

Therefore, if I hadn’t put on some weight recently, I might have had serious organ damage from this wound.

Not exercising for a few months probably saved my life!

(Now that’s deep. No pun intended.)

Obviously, we’re still not sure if there was maybe a little organ damage they couldn’t see. But so far it’s been like 4 days with no strange signs.

I’m also a bit worried if maybe they stabbed someone with HIV before stabbing me, so I’ll be getting tested in a few months.

Atlanta Progressive News will continue. The news will not be stopped, although I hope our readers will understand if the publication of new stories slows a bit for the next week or so.

It’s obviously difficult to understand why a person would do something like this to another person. I wonder if it was mis-placed rage. I wonder if these young men were angry about poverty and inequality, about a messed up world where it seems there’s nothing you can do to change it.

Why can’t all this rage be channeled into something positive? Into voting and community organizing?

The guy who stabbed me doesn’t know, obviously, about any of that. What do we do about people in our society who seem so lost they’ve resorted to nonchalantly hurting people, cultivating a gangster image, at the risk of murdering another person?

About the author:

Matthew Cardinale is News Editor for Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at matthew@atlantaprogressivenews.com.

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This article may be reprinted in full at no cost where Atlanta Progressive News is credited.

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