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Haunted by Regret

Some stories aren't easy to tell.

 

This is going to be one of them.

 

I went out with a friend last night to celebrate his getting a brand new Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera.

 

I promised him I'd teach him to shoot street.

 

He bought the tequila.

 

And lots of it.

 

By the time we ran into Dave we were probably in no real good shape to have the conversation that we ended up having.

 

Dave's not been doing too well.

 

You can see it on his face.

 

A few weeks ago a young woman was raped by a gang of men not too far away from where I took this photograph.

 

It was a shocking story and no one deserves to be treated like that.

 

The men who violated this woman are lucky to be in jail right now.

 

I can only tell you that they're safer there according to my friends.

 

Because my friends aren't in that jail.

 

Dave feels responsible for this girl getting raped.

 

And he holds me slightly to blame too.

 

But mostly Dave blames himself and it's tearing the guy up.

 

I've never seen him like he was last night.

 

The whole thing's just destroying him.

 

What happened that night is that a group of about seven men and one woman approached Dave where he usually hangs out when we talk.

 

Dave's one of the fixtures of the street in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago.

 

He's become very well known from the photographs that I've taken of him and the stories that I've told.

 

Dave's always been ok with it but he swears he's never seen a single picture or read any of the stories that I've written.

 

He says he doesn't do the internet.

 

Some of those pictures and their stories have been picked up by some popular Chicago publications and websites.

 

This is where the story gets kind of complex and where Dave begins to blame himself for the horrible trauma that that young woman survived.

 

Lots of other people have read those stories and seen Dave's picture because that nickname that I gave him kind of stuck and people would call him 'Bikenstein' when they talked to him.

 

When the group was talking to Dave that night apparently they made fun of his resemblance to Albert Einstien.

 

Something that I'd noticed the very first time I took his picture.

 

Dave wasn't exactly clear if these guys referred to him as 'Bikenstein' or 'Einstein' in their taunts but Dave told them to 'fuck off' and there was a confrontation.

 

You don't come to Dave's corner and pull shit like that.

 

And Dave told these guys off.

 

They wouldn't back down and from what I gather the woman who was with them told them that what they were doing was bullshit.

 

They kind of turned on her Dave said.

 

That was the end of it as far as Dave's concerned and the group of men and the one woman walked off into the night.

 

The next day as the city was shocked by the news of the gang rape on the street Dave was horrified when he found out that the woman who was raped was the woman who defended him the night before.

 

She was raped by the group of men that were taunting Dave.

 

Dave feels like it's partially his fault that the woman was raped.

 

Because of how he got pissed off at the guys taunting him.

 

And he feels like somehow I'm responsible because I've put that nickname out there.

 

I disagree that either Dave or I are in any way responsible for the abominable and animal behavior of these thugs.

 

My heart so goes out to the young woman that suffered the inhumanity of their barbarism that night.

 

If I would have stopped on the scene there'd be a few guys with some big cracks in their head from my Nikon.

 

I don't accept that kind of bullshit in my world.

 

Dave would have done everything in his power to stop it too I'm sure.

 

Any decent person would have.

 

Dave went to the police and ultimately the assholes that violated that young woman were identified and apprehended.

 

We all hope they get what's coming to them.

 

But Dave's going through hell blaming himself for the atrocity that went down that night.

 

Man... it's really hurting him.

 

It's affected him deep down to the core of his soul.

 

I tried to expain how I felt about it to him last night but I didn't seem to get too far with my point.

 

The man will struggle with the demons unleashed on his soul that night for a long time.

 

It's hard to look at the effects I can clearly see the episode has hit him with.

 

He is haunted by regret.

 

I sincerely hope the woman who was raped can somehow heal and find wholeness after what those monsters did.

 

I hope Dave can quit blaming himself for the actions of those same monsters.

 

There will never be justice Dave.

 

We both know that.

 

But we both also know a thing or two about this city.

 

They'll get what they got coming.

    

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Taken on February 4, 2012