After reading Michael Blowhard’s thoughts on important events, I realize now that the 45 seconds in which the teenager held a gun to my head was in fact an important event (although neither he nor I realized it at the time). At the time I was more surprised than frightened and never seriously entertained the possibility of being shot. Simultaneously, the Mexican with the gun never seriously thought about getting caught and incarcerated. He had a gun and knew that (for a few minutes anyway) he could control anyone around him.
And yet when eventually he is caught and is hopelessly ensnarled in the legal system (not because of me, but whichever victim happens to bring about his arrest), he will look back at those moments and recoil. How could he have risked for so much for so little? Truthfully, I had a life full of security and comfort; I even had insurance to cover my losses. I had a reasonably stable future. But this individual with the gun–one thing will lead to another–he may gain things, but never be able to value them, never able to enjoy them with a modicum of satisfaction. If by some chance I were to be shot, I could say that yes, I lived a reasonably fulfilling life; I had many opportunities, many joys, many adventures. But if this individual were to be shot or receive a long sentence as a result of his misdeeds, the result would be a tragedy–not only for himself but the world as well. No one would know who he might have been or what he might have done if given the right opportunity and set of circumstances. No one would know the joys he could might found or provided to others.