I want to do better... Given that, here are some further thoughts on yesterday's encounter:
I was going to put this into the original post, but forgot about it. Dawn once said to me that privilege is just what is, and it's "doing good" for those who have privilege to use it for the benefit of those who don't have it. These two incidents have helped me to realize that being an alpha, at least, to whatever extent I am, also puts me in a position of privilege. And using that to stop bullies is using it for good.
For all that I am glad I did this, there are some take-aways for me.
First, think just a little more about weapons in the environment. I walked up behind this guy with no idea what I was going to do. It was just luck that I could use his own weapons against him, as there were so many bottles there. But I could have just walked up to him had I gone to find a garbage can lid to use as a shield, and push him into a corner. I know how to use a shield, and that would have been easier than what I did.
Second, after the second time I pushed him down, he was bleeding from a cut. I asked one of the clerks to get me a first aid kit, and I allowed them to talk me into just waiting for the police. That was certainly the easier course. But now I wish I'd asked him if he was going to let me tend his cut without causing more trouble. And if he was willing to connect with me there, to have done that. It would have been the more human thing to do. Instead I let the store people put me on the victim side with them.
Third, I would have tried to talk to him. See if there was anything I could connect with him about. Maybe he was poor, hungry and frustrated. If so, was I simply supporting the white patriarchy by just handing him over for the cops to deal with? Trying to connect with his humanity is something I now wish I'd done.
Fourth, I realized that my relationship to this kind of encounter has changed over the years. As late as my 30s, I wouldn't have done this. I was so afraid of being hurt, just like the clerks at the store. Hurt was an all or nothing thing. I could wind up DEAD! But that isn't the way hurt works. The first bully I stopped, I stopped when my shoulders were far worse off than they are now. I knew in the moment I was stressing them. But I survived. So I can risk some hurt.
Fourth point one, and possibly most important, I realized that when in an encounter with a bully, I DON'T HAVE TO MATCH PHYSICAL FORCE TO PHYSICAL FORCE. Bullies do what they do because they're pretty sure no one will match their EMOTIONAL FORCE. I am not standing up to the man before me. The first bully was smaller than I, but yesterday's guy was bigger than I was. I matched the emotional force of the person within him.
And next time, I'll try to connect with his humanity once we get past the stand off.