Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Naked Man

I knew I was responsible for this guy in some way the second I saw him in all his nakeness.

He didn't act suicidal when I encountered him but I knew he could be -- he was raving like he had multiple personalities, in two distinct voices, and he didn't seem happy. Obviously, someone like that, out on Echo Canyon trail, might want to hurt himself. The other feeling I got was that I should be a citizen policeman and stop this man solely based on the fact that he was naked. Little kids and easily offended people would see him. No question, this was illegal.

But I knew as I watched him (and he watched me, for a time), that he was in no mood to be easily stopped. He was well-muscled and I felt sure he would fight me if I used physical force to stop him, or even if I positioned myself directly in front of him, blocking his way. In retrospect, of course, I have no idea what he would have done.

As mentioned in the Jackalope post, I passed him, then came back down to him. I can't stress enough how I felt the weight of my compressed schedule.

When I was thinking about stopping the guy upon my first encounter, there were no big dudes around. An Asian couple and their 6-year-old kid, none of whom were speaking English. Three Hispanic teenagers. A middle-aged couple. Some single male or female hikers who stayed in the zone even as they expressed shock at seeing Naked Guy. Those are the sort of people I remember being in my general vicinity at the time. Before I could have convinced people to help tackle the guy, I would have first had to get their attention and convince them why we should do it.

The next time, the "hero" woman was there and it seemed like a couple of other people were sticking with the guy. In other words, I felt comfortable that my responsibility had been watered down enough to let me off the hook. The woman, pretty sure she is the same Ewelina from the ABC-15 newscast, was in full rescue mode. The naked man asked for water, and when I pulled out my bottle of Dasani, she insisted on taking it to give to him, even though I was standing right next to him. She must have convinced herself that she was fully responsible for him. Obviously, she's not as selfish, callous and apathetic as I am.

But to give myself some credit, I did try to hang with guy a little bit. I gave him water. I tried to talk to him. I called 911 and talked to the police. But it's clear enough what I should have done: I should have blown off the fair and stuck with the guy to the bitter end. I should have been there at the top -- at the very, very least, to capture the tackling on video.

Not sure if I would have joined in on the tackling. If a couple of burly guys were trying to restrain him, I suppose I could have helped one way or another with that. But only with those burly guys. Otherwise, it would definitely have been too risky to try to restrain him myself, (or with one or two non-toughs). He could have gone crazy on me -- which wouldn't have been a big stretch in his condition.

It feels weird not to have this man's name, and to know nothing more about him than he's uncommunicative and naked. He's probably a nice guy, and I got the feeling he was familiar with the trail. I'm sure he passed a few people, even in his slow-mo way. His physique suggests he might even be a rock climber or uber-hiker.

I've put in for the police report, intending to write a follow-up article for NT. Possibly, I may be able to find and interview the man. Cops have already told me that he's 22, had had a fight with his parents on Saturday morning that may have triggered the incident, and that there was no evidence yet he'd been on drugs.

I'm glad I got involved as much as I did, (notwithstanding my pangs over what I could or should have done). I did more than most, though less than Ewelina.

It was yet another Camelback adventure, for sure.


E said...

Hi Ray, 
Thank you for writing your story. It brought tears to my eyes. I rescued the naked man on Camelback Mountain last Saturday November 5th. Naked man was hallucinating or mental or both. When I realized he didn't know he was naked and that he was going to commit suicide I decided to step in. I directed a tackle tie down with the help of 3 men at the summit just before naked man could jump off a 500ft cliff to his death. Once naked man was held down by THREE men I tied his hands and feet until fire rescue handcuffed him. I was first to respond on scene. Fire Rescue was 10 minutes behind me. Thank you Fire Department for taking him safely down the mountain to the paramedics. God help this man. And thank you again for writing your story. 
Ewelina Federkiewicz

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the good word, Ewelina. And again, great job on coordinating that rescue.

The naked man's name is Brian, I now know.

I plan to write a follow-up article tonight for the New Times blog.

Take care.