Billy Joel once sang about crazy people walking through "Bedford-Stuy alone," but a group of men is making sure that will never be you.
After a series of muggings in the community of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, these 20 men have decided to help out in the way only unarmed men can do -- by being there.
Now, when people arrive in the neighborhood and get off the train, members of this group walk them to their destination.
"We're not the Guardian Angels, we're not armed," said Kareem Varlack, 35, a field technician for Verizon and a founding member of the group We Make Us Better. "We're about encouraging males to be involved, because you don't see men in their 20s, 30s and 40s involved in the community anymore, so we're trying to bridge that gap."
Wow. Just when you think city living is a mess and everyone is evil, you read something like this ...
The cynical side always asks the obvious question: what are these guys going to do when someone pulls a gun or a knife?
After all, they are unarmed. Still, their focus is primarily on women and children and, like most women know, having a man around when you're walking home at night is a comfort. It's likely also something that makes you safer.
On the other hand ... as someone who lives in a city, it's hard for me to imagine that a strange man -- even one with perfect intentions -- would make me feel safer. At least not initially.
And perhaps that is a sad truth about what a distrustful society we live in. Because these men do have the best intentions.
The idea for the group was formed after one member got a call in the middle of the night from a friend who had just been robbed. It was one of 300 robberies so far this year, which is 10 percent higher than last year.
"She was on her way home, came out of the Utica Ave. A train station and made it onto her block when a group of young males approached her and robbed her," recalled Richard Beavers. "I decided we can't have these people terrorizing our young women and children, and we're not speaking up and making our presence felt."
And even if they can't really kill anyone who approaches -- they are not cops or vigilantes -- they are still angels. Maybe this article will help them seem less scary to a woman who is walking home alone. Because for any woman who has walked alone after dark, a friendly companion should always be a welcome presence.
They are heroes and more communities should take initiatives like this.
What do you think of this idea?
Image via Facebook