“Where there is no human connection, there is no compassion. Without compassion, then community, commitment, loving-kindness, human understanding, and peace all shrivel. Individuals become isolated, the isolated turn cruel, and the tragic hovers in the forms of domestic and civil violence. Art and literature are antidotes to that.” –Susan Vreeland
A man claiming to be the “grandson” of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa was apparently picking on random people with a steel chain whip in Queens. I previously encountered the individual, a muscular man, later identified as “Francisco Arango,” outside my apartment around 7:00 p.m. He was either drunk or under the influence of an illegal substance (or both) as he was unable to walk straight and was murmuring in Spanish.
His feet were unable to sustain his unruly matter and it appeared the guy could be knocked down by a push from a heaver adversary.
Arango held the chain which with both hands and prepared to smash it over my head when our eyes met – nobody blinked. While preparing to make an Usain Bolt-like escape, I said to him, “Hello. Good evening.” The wacko stopped talking and abruptly canceled his homicidal plans. He then allowed me to walk away – Thank God.
Back in my second floor apartment, it was just past 11:00 p.m. when I heard a commotion downstairs. Checking the terrace, I saw the mad man with the same weapon chasing a tall (but sober) person who was engaging him in a shouting match. They both spoke Spanish but the drugs and/or alcohol were still very much in control. Arango was wild and dangerous.
The potential victim managed to elude his attacker and I went back to sleep.
Just past 3:00 a.m., more intense and boisterous disorder erupted, which roused me from sleep. Returning to the terrace, Arango was now exchanging blows with an unidentified man (I have worked as a professional boxing referee and the action I witnessed was peanuts compared to bouts in the ring, except this fight did not have rules); and with the chain whip gone, it was an even battle.
The latest opponent, a Lou Ferrigno-lookalike, who was also possibly under the influence, overpowered Arango. In addition, another man joined in aid of the challenger. Despite his build, the aggressor was battered black and blue as he faced four fists and four kicking legs. A final kick to Arango’s chin from backup knocked him out cold.
There were no police, no ambulance, and no passersby – I was the sole witness; I was ring side to a WWE rumble.
And I went back to sleep.
I have no idea what happened to Arango, but the punishment received during the early morning bout was enough to land him in the emergency room. Did he suffer major injuries? Did the assault cause paralysis? Did he incur head injuries? Nobody knew.
To my surprise, I saw him outside my apartment last month – he even opened the game for me. Meek and ashen-looking, he avoided eye contact; the wild boar became a shy kitten.
I learned Arango was born Doroteo Arango; from Durango, Mexico; and the “grandson” of Pancho Villa.
Villa led bold cavalry charges, was said to be popular with the ladies (purportedly marrying 26 times), and loved to dance.
At the start of the Mexican Revolution, he came down from the mountains and formed an army in support of populist Francisco Madero.
Villa was later assassinated in Parral in 1923.
When Filipino boxer Francisco Guilledo debuted in the United States the same year, his handlers named him as “Pancho Villa.” Guilledo, originally from Negros Occidental, won the world flyweight title that year after knocking out Jimmy Wilde at the now-demolished New York City Polo Grounds.
He died on July 14, 1925 at 23 in San Francisco, California of a tooth infection./WDJ