Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Last night we had a bunch of folks over at our house to study the Word, hang out and share about how our day went. We were just getting into the groove of things when we heard three shots fired outside. It's been a while since we'd heard any gunfire action, so it caused a bit of a stir among us. Even more so when we realized that Jaime was out there by herself so Travis and I walked over to the cluster of houses to locate Jaime and make sure that she was safe. It was an eerie atmosphere, with people creeping about all over the place, sticking to the shadows or predatorily moving across lawns, passing under the streetlights. Something was going on, somebody was settling up with someone else about who knows what.

I stopped when we got to Jaime and Jesse's house, Travis crossed the road to the community house, to check for Jaime there. When no one answered my knock, I turned around to survey the situation. Next door, the neighbors had had their car windows shot out. The owner of the vehicle was pretty ticked off, he didn't live at the house, his sister and her son did. I heard his sister's voice from within the house, yelling at her son to hurry up and get his shoes on before 'they' come back around. I sat down on the porch to see what would happen next. Four people came bustin' out of the house at a frantic pace. the little boy was hurrying to keep up with his mom and aunties. They were leaving quick, off to find a safer place to pass the night. I asked the woman, Is there anything we can do? Do you need us to take him (the boy) for the night? She said no, that he was fine with his auntie, and that there was nothing we could do...it was a helpless feeling for me indeed.
At that point, Travis returned from the community house where Jaime was - she had assumed that the shots were firecrackers and hadn't paid them no mind.
As Travis and I were standing there, assessing the damage, we heard sirens, and before we could disappear ourselves, two patrol cars came screeching onto the court. One slowed down and began a steady search with the searchlight through the bushes while the other sped to the end of the court to begin his search there. We felt that was a good time to take off, lest we be stopped for questioning...

This morning, on my way to class at the community house, I stopped to get a good look at the shot-out car. Bullets had passed through the side and rear windows of the vehicle. Anyone who had been in the driver's seat or rear of the vehicle would have been hit, likely fatally. I could see where the bullet exited the rear of the vehicle, and, I'm sure if I'd had the time I could've poked around on the ground and found the casings, or maybe even the bullets.

Now, none of this is news to me. I get that bullets are fired, stuff gets hit, damage is done. And yet, for some reason, the reality of the situation hit home to me. The gunman had to have been standing in the shadows between the two houses because of the bullet's angles of entry and exit through the vehicle. He wouldn't have hit anyone in the house, but he could've hit either of the neighbor's houses.
We have all sorts of kids wandering around in little packs throughout the neighborhood after dark - anywhere from age 8-15. He could've hit kids. I've often heard of kids being victims of drive-by shootings, gang warfare, etc. but never really understood how a kid would get in the way of live gunfire. After giving the events of last night some thought, I realized that the kid doesn't even have to be IN the way, because people shoot guns off in all sorts of random directions.
It makes me really really angry. One of my little friends shot at,injured, killed over drugs, territory, cheating spouses, money...one less little face at the corps on Sunday. One less little face asking for a freezie or jumping up for a hug.
Not only that, but when I think about the little boy, 8 years old, in his pyjamas hurrying away from his house at 8:30 at night, fleeing in the dark because someone is shooting at them, i could go right off the chain - because that same little boy should be in bed. He should feel safe. He should be getting rested up for school tomorrow. But he's not. Yet this morning he was still expected to be at school like the other kids, focused like the other kids, prepared like the other kids. But how can he?
How does he stand a chance at having a normal, healthy life when he's never experienced anything remotely like that?


Stephanie said...

In the words of Jack Kerouac, "Yes Yes Yes!"

What is this system that our society has set up going to be able do for this child? Not much. That's where the rest of us who realize and know it have to step in and provide what this child and every other child like him can not receive from his family, school, friends, and neighborhood. And that's where those of us who realize it and know it have the responsibility to make others realize it and know it.

Thank you for doing that.

Jennifer said...

That's quite intense...
Bless you guys for your boldness to go out and ask if any one needed help..

Peace to you.