Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Safety Is Only An Illusion

I knew about a week ago when it happened that it was something that I was going to have to write about.  

About a week ago, while Lucas and I were sitting in the sofa watching PBS cartoons, I began to hear a woman shrieking in the distance.  She wasn't just screaming noise, but screaming words.  I can't really repeat what she was saying, or rather, I won't.  But it became very, very clear very, very fast that this woman was pissed off to the point of rage.  And I've seen enough news broadcasts (don't really watch them anymore, who needs them anyways apparently) to know how quickly south these things can go.  

It probably went on about 15 minutes or so when I saw someone else (a woman) from across the way go bolting up the street towards all the commotion.  It wasn't long before I could hear her yelling herself at the two of them (the fighters) to open the door and open the door now.  It was at this point I first heard the man's voice.  Amid all the swearing and referring to both women in what can only be described as derogatory terms, were these nuggets:  "Oh yeah?  I got one too", and "shoot".  I'm assuming, like me, you can put two and two together.  

I finally saw the lady who had gone running up the street come back down the street, where by this point a few people were standing around wondering what was going on.  She eventually walked off, and about five minutes later no fewer than four police sheriff's cars rolled up.  The cops rolled out pistols and guns drawn.  Enter random lady who apparently wanted to be a hero (Do the words "Billy Don't Be a Hero" mean anything to ya?).  Dunno where she had procured it, but she was literally walking towards the cops with the gun our friends the "fighters" must have had.  At the shouts of "Put the gun down and back away!" and "Everybody get back in your houses!!", I had of course had enough.  I grabbed Lucas and ran him into his bedroom and told him to stay low on the floor.  It might seem overkill (no pun intended), but with all this happening no more than 10 feet from my front door, well, fatherly instinct kicked in.  Not enough to save myself, though...

To shorten it up, the cops got the gun, managed to arrest the man (never saw the woman but no doubt they nabbed her, too), and went to work on the paperwork.  Oh, and they made sure to tell our hero what a dummy she was and that she was lucky they hadn't drop her where she stood, too.

I was talking to the wife about it later (of course).  It was kind of funny, because one of the first things she said was, "all the more reason to get out of here and into a house."  But I think we both know that doesn't really mean much.  

The truth is, nowhere is safe.  Nowhere on this entire planet is exempt from evil (or bad things, if you prefer), or its reach.  We do live in a good neighborhood.  The kids school right across the street is a good school.  We do live in a fairly affluent city.  Rent's not cheap, here, let me tell you.  All of what society says will keep you safe (sans me owning a gun myself, which some days seems more and more like a fantastic idea) we pretty much have.  

Moving won't help.  Running won't help.  If last week showed me anything, it's just how close to the edge we truly are all the time.  Sobering thought.  But running from the truth won't make it safer, either.

Lots to think about in the coming weeks and months.


  1. Interesting story. Besides the violence, I'm most interested to learn that you're still able to live within 1000 feet of a school! ; )