A student at Georgetown University penned an op-ed piece in the school’s student newspaper after he was mugged at gunpoint, and in it, he explains why he feels he can’t blame those responsible for their choice.
Oliver Friedfeld, a senior at the highly respected college, wrote “I Was Mugged, And I Understand Why” after he and his housemate were mugged at gunpoint while walking home. The article first appeared in student newspaper The Hoya, and various media outlets have since picked it up.
“Last weekend, my housemate and I were mugged at gunpoint while walking home from Dupont Circle. The entire incident lasted under a minute, as I was forced to the floor, handed over my phone and was patted down,” Friedfeld wrote in his op-ed piece. “And yet, when a reporter asked whether I was surprised that this happened in Georgetown, I immediately answered: ‘Not at all.’ It was so clear to me that we live in the most privileged neighborhood within a city [Washington, D.C.] that has historically been, and continues to be, harshly unequal.
“The fact that these two kids, who appeared younger than I, have even had to entertain these questions suggests their universes are light years away from mine,” the D.C. student also stated.
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Friedfeld went on to argue that the people who mugged him were not bad, but instead victims of an unequal society.
“Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as ‘thugs?’” asked Friedfeld. “It’s precisely this kind of ‘otherization’ that fuels the problem.”
Friedfeld also made clear his belief that “it’s a lot easier for me to choose good than it may be for them.”
“As young people, we need to devote real energy to solving what are collective challenges,” the senior concluded. “Until we do so, we should get comfortable with sporadic muggings and break-ins. I can hardly blame them. The cards are all in our hands, and we’re not playing them.”