It is horrible when you hear that there has been a killing in your neighborhood. There are times when we will get the news that one or two or even three people (almost always young men) have been killed in a matter of days. I feel so strange when we get this kind of news and I have had no inkling that anything has been going on. Sometimes the deaths are literally a matter of blocks from my house, and yet I have completely missed the tragedy. It stuns me how quiet and unnoticed brutal slayings can actually be here. Life simply goes on, each of us doing the survival thing in whatever form that takes…
It is even more horrifying when there is a killing and you hear the bullets fly. It completely changes your relationship with the event. Last night I had just come upstairs with the kids after playing out front with our neighbors when I heard a steady stream of gunfire, obviously a few blocks in the distance. As I do in these instances, I flipped on the news. I heard sirens racing down Jefferson but it turned out to be a major collision a bit south of us that had fire trucks and aid vehicles rushing to the scene. I was about to turn the TV off when the regular news was again interrupted with new footage from our neighborhood. This time they were reporting that three people had been shot a few blocks from our house.
I don’t know any more about the incident than that, but I feel haunted by the sound of those gunshots. I feel haunted too by the strange white vehicle I saw with the dark windows minutes before; the one that pulled up and double parked on my street; the one that sat, waiting, for a young man who came around the corner and looked around quickly before sliding in. I felt uneasy about them when I saw them, a feeling that I do not get that often, and I wondered what was causing me to feel so unsettled. I have learned to trust those feelings when they come, and that was when I decided to bring the kids upstairs. I cannot help but wonder if they were somehow involved in what happened a few minutes later.
I think that is why this shooting just won’t leave my thoughts.
Meanwhile, “The Unit”, a show about covert military ops around the globe, films a few streets from here. It reminds me of a blog discussion I followed briefly today discussing war and abortion and how to reconcile different “pro-life” stances around those two issues. There is so much passion, on all sides, for these issues (and there should be). I just wish that more of the passion I hear from so many for the “end of tyranny and violence” (war) and the “protection of the innocent” (abortion) would be directed to communities like mine as well.