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per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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an open heart wins out over violence... (also posted to allgoodstuff)
...or was it the wine and cheese? Kinda bizarre, but it made me happy:

A Gate-Crasher's Change of Heart
The Guests Were Enjoying French Wine and Cheese on a Capitol Hill Patio. When a Gunman Burst In, the Would-Be Robbery Took an Unusual Turn.

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 13, 2007; Page B01

A grand feast of marinated steaks and jumbo shrimp was winding down, and a group of friends was sitting on the back patio of a Capitol Hill home, sipping red wine. Suddenly, a hooded man slid in through an open gate and put the barrel of a handgun to the head of a 14-year-old guest.

"Give me your money, or I'll start shooting," he demanded, according to D.C. police and witness accounts.

The five other guests, including the girls' parents, froze -- and then one spoke.

"We were just finishing dinner," Cristina "Cha Cha" Rowan, 43, blurted out. "Why don't you have a glass of wine with us?"

The intruder took a sip of their Chateau Malescot St-Exupéry and said, "Damn, that's good wine."

The girl's father, Michael Rabdau, 51, who described the harrowing evening in an interview, told the intruder, described as being in his 20s, to take the whole glass. Rowan offered him the bottle. The would-be robber, his hood now down, took another sip and had a bite of Camembert cheese that was on the table.

Then he tucked the gun into the pocket of his nylon sweatpants.

"I think I may have come to the wrong house," he said, looking around the patio of the home in the 1300 block of Constitution Avenue NE.

"I'm sorry," he told the group. "Can I get a hug?"

Rowan, who lives in Falls Church and works part time at her children's school, stood up and wrapped her arms around him. Then it was Rabdau's turn. Then his wife's. The other two guests complied.

"That's really good wine," the man said, taking another sip. He had a final request: "Can we have a group hug?"

The five adults surrounded him, arms out.

With that, the man walked out with a crystal wine glass in hand, filled with Chateau Malescot. No one was hurt, and nothing was stolen.

The homeowner, Xavier Cervera, 45, had gone out to walk his dog at the end of the party and missed the incident, which happened about midnight June 16. Police classified the case as strange but true and said they had not located a suspect.

"We believe it is a true robbery," said Cmdr. Diane Groomes, who is in charge of patrols in the Capitol Hill area. But it's one-of-a-kind, she said, adding, "I've never heard of a robber joining a party and then walking out to the sunset."

The hug, she said, was especially unusual. "They should have squeezed him and held onto him for us," she said.

Rabdau said he hasn't been able to figure out what happened.

"I was definitely expecting there would be some kind of casualty," Rabdau said this week. "He was very aggressive at first; then it turned into a love fest. I don't know what it was."

Rabdau, a federal government worker who lives in Anne Arundel County with his family and lived on Capitol Hill with his wife in the 1980s, said that the episode lasted about 10 minutes but seemed like an hour. He believes the guests were spared because they kept a positive attitude during the exchange.

"There was this degree of disbelief and terror at the same time," Rabdau said. "Then it miraculously just changed. His whole emotional tone turned -- like, we're one big happy family now. I thought: Was it the wine? Was it the cheese?"

After the intruder left, the guests walked inside the house, locked the door and stared at each other. They didn't say a word. Rabdau dialed 911. Police arrived quickly and took a report. They also dusted for fingerprints -- so far, to no avail.

In the alley behind the home, investigators found the intruder's empty crystal wine glass on the ground, unbroken.


So, I wonder what (or Who) prompted Rowan to say that?

And I can understand the police spokesperson's comment that they should have subdued the man... but it feels to me like that would be a betrayal. I'm hoping she wasn't really serious- I don't think that unarmed civilians should try that sort of thing unless there's a clear danger to someone...

Anyway, another example of the "Divine Wow" in manifestation, perhaps...

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BEHOLD THE POWER OF WINE!!!!! (..and cheese)

It is one of my most potently held beliefs that if we continue to see EVERY PERSON we encounter as a friend or ally, rather than a competitor or criminal, the world would be a vastly safer place. Sure, there will still be nutjobs who take advantage of the hospitality and run, but my experience living in poverty and on the street taught me that more than money or medical care most people just want to be recognized as real and existing.

profound thoughts that I agree with, especially the part about living in poverty. We all need to be recognized as real and existing and with that recognition many can pull themselves out of the low point in their lives, pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make positivve changes that make their lives better.

That's some of what compassion means to me... to acknowledge the individual humanity of each person we meet... because of some spark of inspiration, that man was treated as a person, a guest, and not a cipher like a criminal. And maybe that divine aura that hangs over proper, intentional hospitality was what changed the situation, changed his heart... how long was it, I wonder, since someone had touched him in anything but anger or greed or fear?

I wish him well. I hope it takes...

And, in the synchonicity department, the woman's name... Rowan, one of the druid trees of power, protection...

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