Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Continuing Urban Adventures

Perhaps urban living is becoming too much of an adventure. This past weekend shots were fired just outside our house.  Nobody was injured - this time!  I heard one of the responding police officers refer to it as "like the shoot out at the OK Corral".  The people involved are, by general standards, kids.  I am not certain of their ages, but it is safe to say they are under 25, and maybe a good deal under.
It is a frightening experience to hear young people arguing outside your open window and threaten one another. It becomes frightening on an entirely different level when, after the threat, you hear several gunshots in rapid succession.   

My neighbor's car was hit by one of the gunshots. Another hit the garage of the business next door to her.  This woman is a quiet neighbor with little kids who, thankfully,  were not at home when the incident took place.  If they had been, innocent children may have been wounded or killed because her kids are often playing in front of their house, or riding their bikes in the area that was the line of fire.

I am not scared; I am angry and astounded at these latest events.  When did  it become the norm for arguments to be settled  with guns?  I heard these kids outside my window yelling at one another. Much of their conversation was unintelligible to me.  But, it certainly didn't sound like the kind of fight that would lead to shots being fired. To be honest, it sounded like the kind of thing that might end up with a punch or two being thrown. The last quote I heard before the gunfire was, "Come on, _____, don't make me hurt you."  It never entered my mind that this kid planned to "hurt" the other with a gun!  That's the part that astonishes me.

The part that makes me angry is that they have guns at all!  How easy is it for a young person to get a gun?  Apparently very easy!  And how is it possible to have so little regard for life that an argument escalates to gun violence?  I am angry that people no longer feel safe to sit on their front porches. I am angry that the Mom little kids across the street will think twice before allowing her kids to play in front of their own house now.  I am angry that  this is happening and that we all feel ill equipped to deal with it, because it is so far outside of our experience.

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