Who is Jesus?thought a driver and shot a cyclist in Quiapo (link). I witnessed an incident in Munich years ago which started similarly. Driver and cyclist disagree on who cut whom. It happened in the Schlachthofviertel (slaughterhouse quarter) which is part of the district of Isarvorstadt where I live. Just near the river Isar, formerly a poor man’s district subject to regular flooding, but slowly gentrifying. But it was working class people who kept the two men from going too far. And the young man on the bike did not fight with the driver who grabbed him after some verbal conflict – he shouted “Ausweis”, meaning national ID. This means “give me your ID so we can call the cops”. Three things worked well in that incident. First of all, the traditional mentality of working class Munich – any disorder in one’s quarter is everybody’s business. Second, the rule of law in people’s heads which cause the young man to say “Ausweis”. Third, strict gun controls. Legally it is nearly impossible for people to get guns in Germany – last Friday’s massacre I will return to later. But it was not the working men of the Schlachthofviertel who killed last Friday, men who kill on a daily basis. Men who kill animals for a living. Nor was it policemen, who indeed “summarily executed” a raging bull that escaped some years ago, and also a cow which ran up to the Oktoberfest grounds and hurt a few passersby on the sidewalk.

Back to the Quiapo shooting (link). Nobody tried to stop the two from fighting. Even after the shooting someone just passed by. Used to be that in more traditional Philippines there was such a thing as “awat” – people stopping quarrels, although it usually had to be people both sides knew not strangers.  Nobody called the cops, although I don’t know if they would have come on time if at all. Or if people trust the cops or are afraid they might shoot them also. Maybe someone did, later on. Somehow the two men did not manage to stop by themselves in Manila, or in Munich – testosterone at work. Raging bulls.

All people have an animal inside them. Some more and some less, and also dependent on mood and things that alter them like alcohol – or drugs which are a rising problem in the entire world. Social cohesion and rule of law prevent that animal from causing too much damage. Social cohesion seems to have broken down in Metro Manila especially, which does not surprise me given that all cities with more than 10 million people have special issues – Tokyo is a notable exception but the Japanese have strong social cohesion and self-discipline plus they are highly organized.

Last Friday, David S. went on a rampage. “Vengeance was his” too (link) and he used the “Darknet” (link) to get a gun. Inspite of some difficult moments, by and large the city stuck together. There was no harrassment of anyone by police or residents, not even of the shooter’s Iranian father who went to the police when he saw his son on a viral video. There was some tension and still is, but there is no widespread looking for culprits, no calls for more blood to be shed. Cardboard was used for another purpose over here (link) – to cheer up a city in a state of shock at what happened.

Munich is not a city that will be destroyed by human rights, I think. We usually don’t fear each other or the police. Respect each other and the police – YES. Fear destroys respect and cooperation. Maybe Filipinos don’t respect each other anymore and know just fear, at least many in the cities.  Looking at the Quiapo shooting scene, I ask myself – where is the humanity in the Philippines? Seems the drug problem is huge and was ignored for years, but indeed crime has risen so the shortcut solutions of today are preferred. Could the rich/poor gap (even physically) be one reason?

There are rich and poor in Munich, but no ghettos and no gated communities. The city in fact as policy tries to mingle groups, which in my observation keeps some grounded and some disciplined – one example is a recent witnessed clean-up of balconies in an apartment block which neighbors saw as an eyesore. Heavy use of public transport also leads to mingling of different groups of people on a daily basis, even if they sometimes don’t really like each other. But just seeing the other is HUMAN helps – in not hating each other. And a system that dispenses justice, not vengeance.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 27. July 2016