Some girls’ mothers teach them to not hit boys because some boys’ mothers don’t teach them not to hit girls. Artis Hughs was apparently one of those boys, and he grew up to be a man who became a bus driver in Cleveland. And, in a cell phone video that has gone viral, first on World Star Hip Hop, then YouTube, he was captured punching the living daylights out of a female passenger who was arguing with him. A full-throttle five-finger assault while at least a handful of other riders looked on.
The video is graphic, infuriating, and—as you can probably imagine—full of hot-blooded expletives, so be forewarned. But pretend the victim, identified as Shidea Lane, is your sister, your niece, your daughter, or you. Or maybe you don’t even have to imagine that at all. Maybe you just know, without reengineering the thought, that it’s wrong for a man to waylay a woman like this, no matter who she is or what she does.
After the haymaker heard around the city, a stranger protested on Lane’s behalf, reminding Hughs that he had just pummeled a woman, to which he shot back, “She want to be a man, I’m gonna treat her like a man.”
Now, Lane was no choir girl. Heaven only knows what set her off into the ranting, raving tizzy she was in when the camera phone started rolling and the footage began in the early stages of their altercation. The line of vision isn’t clear, but she may very well have pushed Hughs as he sat in the driver’s seat, which was dead wrong and a definite instigation.
My mother always told me if you hit a guy, you’d better be prepared for him to hit you back. It’s not right, but some men have no interest in splitting hairs between male and female targets for their fists of fury. They’re just going to start swinging and maybe—that’s a big maybe—ask questions later. So she should’ve had more respect for her fellow passengers and, most importantly, better sense than to roll up on a stranger like that.
But watching this video literally made me scream out loud. What kind of crazy, foamy-mouthed mania is this man operating under? Did he just snap? He’s been a bus driver for 22 years and this? This is the incident that broke his sanity and made him very consciously abuse a woman? And on the job, at that? It’s unbelievable and terrifying at the same time.
But the most disheartening thing, aside from the way her head snapped back at impact of this dude’s fist—and him being old enough to be her father, at that—is that people around the web are making light of it, cracking jokes about it, making fun of it. A woman getting her behind kicked is never fodder for somebody else’s amusement. Ever.
Hughs has been suspended from his job pending an investigation and neither one is pressing charges against the other, but the behavior that sparked this story and the reaction to it around cyberspace are so much more telling of the nonchalance we have about domestic violence. And it’s certainly not funny.
Do you think Lane was as at fault as Hughs was?