“Where there is no human connection, there is no compassion. Without compassion, then community, commitment, loving-kindness, human understanding, and peace all shrivel. Individuals become isolated, the isolated turn cruel, and the tragic hovers in the forms of domestic and civil violence. Art and literature are antidotes to that.” – Susan Vreeland
NEW YORK CITY – A man who is reportedly the “grandson” of Pancho Villa was apparently picking at random people he wanted to hurt with a steely chain whip when he chanced upon me at the gate while I was on my way outside the apartment at past seven o’clock in the evening recently in Queens.
The muscular man, identified later as “Francisco Arango”, was either drunk or high on illegal substance. Or both.
He couldn’t walk straight and was violently murmuring in Spanish.
His feet could not sustain his unruly deportment and he could be knocked down with a strong push by a heavier adversary.
Arango was holding with both his hands a heavy chain whip and was preparing to smash it into my head without any apparent provocation when our eyesight collided. Nobody blinked.
“Hello, good evening,” I told the amok nicely while preparing my legs to make a dash like Usain Bolt, just in case.
The wacko stopped talking and cancelled his homicidal attempt.
The violent man allowed me to walk away. Thank God.
Back in my apartment room in the second floor at past 11 o’clock in the evening, I heard a commotion downstairs.
When I checked in the terrace, I saw the mad man chasing with the same deadly weapon a tall but sober person who engaged him in a shouting match. They’re both Spanish. The drugs and the alcohol were still very much in control and Arango was wild, woolly and dangerous.
The victim managed to elude the attack with his own tantrums and quick feet.
I went back to sleep.
At around past three o’clock in the morning, a more intense and boisterous commotion erupted anew and I was roused from sleep. I dashed to the terrace and saw Arango exchanging blows with another unidentified man (I have been a professional boxing referee and the action I was watching downstairs was peanuts– except that it did not have the rules).
The chain whip wasn’t there anymore, thus the slugfest was even.
Lou Ferrigno-look alike Arango, who could still be under the influence of alcohol and drugs, overpowered his foe.
To his misfortune, another man joined the fray to rescue Arango’s opponent.
Fighting against four fists and four kicking legs, Arango was battered black and blue despite his superior built.
A final kick delivered by the second person hit Arango’s chin and knocked him out cold like a sack of rambutans.
There were no police; no ambulance; no passersby; no witnesses other than myself.
It was like a ringside view in a WWF bout.
I went back to sleep.
I had no idea what happened to Arango, but the punishment he absorbed that dawn was enough to land him in the emergency room.
Did he suffer from major injuries? Did the physical assault paralyze his body? Did he die from head injuries? No one knew.
I haven’t seen him for several weeks after that fatal fisticuffs.
To my surprise, Arango was alive and kicking. While I was on my way outside the apartment one morning in August, he was sitting outside; he saw me and opened the gate voluntarily.
Meek and ashen-looking, this time he avoided an eye-to-eye contact.
The erstwhile Eurasin wild boar has become a shy kitten.
I learned that Arango is from Durango, Mexico and is the “grandson” of Pancho Villa, born Doroteo Arango.
Pancho Villa was a Mexican revolutionary hero, a man of bold action with an uncanny sense of destiny whose exploits–whether actual or mythical, inherently good or evil–have become the stuff of legend.
As a general, Villa staged bold cavalry charges that overwhelmed his opponents even at great risk to his own life. He was very popular with the ladies (purportedly marrying 26 times) and loved to dance.
With the start of Mexican Revolution, Villa came down from the mountains to form an army in support of the populist platform espoused by Francisco Madero.
He was assassinated by unknown persons while visiting the village of Parral in 1923.
When Filipino boxer Francisco Guilledo made a debut in the United States in the same year, his handlers named him as “Pancho Villa.”
Boxer Pancho Villa was an Ilonggo from Ilog (now Kabankalan), Negros Occidental who won the world flyweight title by knocking out Jimmy Wilde in the 7th round on June 18, 1923, at the Polo Grounds in New York City.
He died on July 14, 1925 at 23 in San Francisco, California of tooth infection.