Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 31, 2021

A Vicious Attack

The video footage is disturbing.

On Monday, security cameras captured the brutal attack of a 65 year-old Asian woman on her way to church in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan — an area known as the Crossroads of the World. Her attacker was a big man, easily twice her size.

The footage shows the man approaching the woman and then, without warning and without provocation, he kicks her in the stomach. The woman then falls to the ground where her attacker stomps her head and continues to kick her. The attacker yelled, “You don’t belong here” — and then walked away.


However, just as disturbing is the presence of three other individuals who witnessed the attack from the lobby of a luxury apartment building. One of these, believed to be a security guard, walked to the glass entry doors of the apartment building and closed them.

Earlier today, an arrest was made. New York City police identified the suspect as Brandon Elliot, a 38 year-old black man released from prison in 2019. Elliot, it turns out, is on lifetime parole for having fatally stabbed his own mother.

Elliot was charged with two counts of felony assault as a hate crime and one count each of attempted assault as a hate crime plus assault and attempted assault. If convicted, Elliot could face years in prison.

The woman was hospitalized with serious injuries and released the following day. She was identified as Vilma Kari from the Philippines and a legal resident of the United States who has every right to be here.

This story has sparked more dialogue about hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. And so it should. Hate crimes are among the ugliest violations of the sanctity of human life — the failure to recognize the dignity and worth of others created in God’s image.

This story, however, should also spark debate about the ugliness of doing nothing in the face of evil. The bystanders failed to seize a moment that could have made a difference.

Our lives are, essentially, a series of moments that tell our respective stories. As we travel through time each of us leave history in our wake — one moment at a time. Each moment that we live is filled with the potential to do good, to do the right thing, to make a difference.

The potential of each moment, however, is unlocked by our choices. And once a moment has come and gone it forever carries with it the imprint of those choices.

The most important and significant moments of our lives seldom present themselves at a convenient time. We rarely receive any warning that our lives are headed toward a moment that will be unlike any other moment we have ever faced — a moment that will present us with an unprecedented opportunity to make a difference beyond the ordinary.

Sadly, three people stood by and watched an ugly thing unfold. Any one of them could have acted or they could have moved together to confront the threat. Instead, they chose the safer option for themselves. As a result, their moment has come and gone and because they did nothing, an old woman was injured and, even worse, could have lost her life.

There will always be haters who do evil things. May we choose to be champions who courageously confront those who, like Brandon Elliot, do evil. May we always stand ready to move in the direction of need when our lives intersect with the ugliness that one human being can unleash on another.


  1. The current world we live in isn’t our Home. Evil is rampart apart from the saving grace and power of Jesus Christ. It sickens me to even watch the news. May we, as Christ followers, stand up and live out our love for Jesus by loving all people, and refusing to look away when we can make a difference.

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