The urban soundtrack

The helicopters have been relentless for the past twenty-four hours. It started yesterday with a high-speed chase ending a few block from our house. I had been out walking with the kids with my neighbor and her daughter, and minutes after coming home the noise of hovering helicopters became deafening. I turned on the TV to see what the “breaking news” was. Sure enough, KCAL 9 had the full report. After causing multiple crashes during the pursuit, the subject fleeing the police was finally stopped and apprehended. I called my friend to make sure she and her daughter had made it home safely (they had gone from our house to the corner market, and I wanted to make sure they had not been caught up in the path of the chase).

Today, the helicopters are back. As the noise filled our house, Mercy turned to me and said, “Turn on the TV.” I did, but have yet to hear anything about what is going on out there. There have been four waves of heavy helicopter activity since. Both kids are sleeping now, though Aaron has woken twice as a result of the noise. As I write this, one helicopter sits hovering a block away and KCAL 9 is showing a news report on hiccups.


  1. Souds intense. I can imagine the levels of anxiety and unrest that many in the thick of the music feel and it is heartbreaking. Here in St. Paul (we’re on vacation) the snow like a blanket muffles the noise of everything. Yet at the same time we’re certain that a different anxiety plagues hearts and minds, perhaps from the restlesness that is amplified when all other noise is dim…

    I applaud your calling and comittment to mission and healing in a place of such tension. We will pray over your neighbourhood and that the spotlight from the helicopters would dim in comparison to the one that beams from God’s presence in your family as his agents of healing there.

  2. John,
    Your vacation time sounds delightful! I lived in Chicago for seven years, and I do miss being around snow. Thanks for your words of blessing and your continued prayers. Rest and enjoy!!!

  3. We lived during the late 80’s and early 90’s in South Central and the LAPD choppers and their spotlights were regulars in our bedroom late at night. Seemed like they were chasing somebody down our street or through our backyard two or three times a week :^)

    People often ask Jan and I what was the hardest part of living in inner city communities all those years. We both immediately respond, “The noise.” :^)

  4. I would imagine it was even louder then than it is now for us.

    When we go to visit our families in the NW, that is always one of the first things that really strikes us–how very quiet and still it is there. It takes us a few days to get used to it!

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