Courage or Foolishness?
Courage. Foolishness my eye. I think you calculated that if the punks had had a weapon and been willing to use it, they already would have done so. I applaud.
I live in Los Angeles, CA and I used to love public transportation. Not so much anymore. Michael, your story is endemic of those (mine included) throughout the city. As a family, we used to go to the Clipper, Laker and Dodger games and just about everywhere else, using the rail and bus system. That was about 10 years ago. Too many fights and now shootings are occurring on the one system that can get you anywhere you want to be within an hour for around $5 bucks per person (talk about a gas saver, today!) It was clean (mostly) and safe, (mostly).
Now, I would forbid any family members to take the train, unless it was ABSOLUTELY necessary--like as if I was dying or something. I applaud your gallantry for standing up to those punks. But what if one of them had a gun and just didn't give a damn, like much of what's happening around the country? You see my point? I am like you when I see bullies and injustice happening to another. (I dealt with a knife incident on the train and I won't go into that now). Yes, you probably never and will ever see them again. It was a "one off", it's in the ether...you can't police people anymore. There was a time when kids weren't doing that sort of thing or at least you had to go into a reaaaallly bad neighborhood to witness it. Sadly, we must put blinders on and muddle through the stupid 'ish'.
"They choppin' heads-it ain't safe no more", excerpt. Wu Tang Clan Ain't Nothing to F' Wit, by the Wu Tang Clan, 1993 RCA Records
What the boys were doing was trying to rob him of his bicycle. The law against that used to be enforced.