The cast of characters included:
Three aggressive men who had cornered a street person and were threatening to beat
the crap out of him.
Now that sounds pretty bad, of course. Immediately, you are thinking "those three aggressive men are bad. I don't like them." But then there was:
The street person, who had just urinated on the three men from atop a parking garage.
As events unfolded, the street person kept making mild slurs at one of the three men who happened to have dark skin. This did nothing to calm them down.
This being the City of Roses, the scenario would not be complete without:
An earnest but arrogant young man who kept saying that he wanted to "stop the violence."
Now our friends found this to be an ethically interesting situation. They found themselves deeply sympathetic to the impulse of the aggressive men -- to wit, to lay a beating on the guy who had peed on them. But, they also didn't want any actually bloodshed to occur. And although that theoretically put them in the camp of the young man -- ie., wanting to stop the violence -- they also kind of secretly wanted to see someone lay a beating on HIM.