Detroit’s Justin Alesna, 23, says when he went to buy cigarettes at a BP gas station on March 7, the man standing in front of him in line, who grew agitated over not having enough personal space, showed off the gun he was packing during an anti-gay tirade that turned into a brutal fist fight. None of the store’s employees, nor other customers who witnessed the attack, called the police — despite Alesna asking the store clerk to call the cops. And who was asked to leave the store? Alesna. He’s since sought medical care, and may have to have surgery to fix his shattered eye socket. “What happened to decency? What happened to … what the fuck happened? … I don’t understand why this happened.”

My first instinct is to not fault the bystanders, because here was a man brandishing a gun, and even I would be hard pressed to get involved in a violent situation where I could get shot. But as Alesna tells it, the other customers weren’t scared; they were laughing.

My second instinct? If Alesna hasn’t gone to the police, and at least filed a police report, that should be his immediate next step. There is security footage (at risk of being recorded over) that could help identify his attacker. And BP, which already has its own public relations nightmare on its hands, would be wise to step up and deal with this.

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