So . . . I was walking back from the home of Megan McArdle and Peter Suderman and instead of doing the normal thing and taking Q Street west to 5th and then walking south, I wanted to take a shortcut by walking south on North Capitol to then cut southwest on New York. But then lo and behold right by Catania Bakery [i.e., a little over a mile due north of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.] a couple of dudes ran up from behind, punched me in the head, then kicked me a couple of times before running off. Once, years ago, in Amsterdam a guy threatened me with a knife and took my money. These guys took nothing, and just inflicted a bit of pain. All things considered the threaten/rob model of crime seems a lot more beneficial to both parties than the punch-and-run model. But I guess it takes all kinds.I'm terribly sorry to hear about this crime. Yglesias should make sure to take it easy for a few days after being punched in the head in case there is some delayed reaction affecting his balance — e.g., don't ride a bicycle in traffic.
Beyond physical injuries, well, I've never been the victim of street violence, but judging from the psychological trauma I've felt merely from being the victim of burglars — the reminder of one's own insecurity, the insult to one's self-respect — that aspect of crime shouldn't be overlooked. And being punched and kicked by strangers is far worse.
Like me, Yglesias greatly enjoys walking, and being mugged while out walking can ruin a wonderful hobby. No details on the attackers, but, with no apparent monetary motive, this might have been a racial hate crime.
It will be interesting to see whether this despicable violence againstÂ perhaps the leading opinion journalist of his young generation createsÂ much media attention, or whether it's dropped down the memory hole as too uncomfortable to think about. Yglesias, with his enthusiasm for promoting urban living and walkability, is a leading spokesman for a broad movement I feel warmly toward — well-educated younger people who are attempting to reclaim urban areas for the urbane. But this crime against a public face of the movement — while he was walking through an urban space, no less — demonstrates the risks involved.