Saturday, March 8, 2008

Police Line ... Do Not Cross ... Police Line

There’s no worse sound than the sound of crime.

The scream of a woman being attacked. The cry of a child in the house across the street being beaten by a parent. The sound of gunfire that breaks the otherwise quiet reverie of a Saturday morning.

In rapid succession, six shots go off somewhere in the neighborhood today. Given the density of fog and humidity this morning, the gun could have been fired on the other side of the block or down by the school more than a mile from here.

Within minutes of these gunshots, the all-too-familiar scream of sirens: police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks converging on a scene somewhere where life will never be the same for those who have been caught in today’s melee.

Imagination runs wild.

Was it a robbery gone awry? The desperate and selfish taking from the hardworking and law-abiding, being thwarted in their attempt and lashing out with that most readily available of weapons—a(n illegal) firearm?

Was it a domestic dispute? The anger of a husband or boyfriend boiling over to the point of violence or the defensiveness of a wife or girlfriend tired of being a victim of violence?

Silence has fallen on the neighborhood once again, but somewhere out there is a street marked off with tell-tale yellow tape and lives shattered by six volleys of gunfire.

Photo copyright: 36 Frames

12 comments:

Phoenix Touch said...

whew...

I am moved.

Cele said...

Excellent post. And it once again makes me thankful I live in a small rural town. Yes I know it can happen here, but I am thankful that 99 percent of the time I hear gun fire (which is on a daily basis when it's sunny) it's because the firing range is a mile from my house...or hunting season.

Di said...

Hate that sound. Hate that feeling.

I haven't heard a gunshot in three years and seven months. I hear a lot of sirens here though.

D.C. Confidential said...

* * * UPDATE * * *

I've just read the MPD District 4 Yahoo Group page and learned that a shooting did, in fact, take place in the neighborhood yesterday in the 4800 block of 9th Street, which is up by Walter Reed Army Hospital. About five blocks north of where I live.

Needless to say, the traffic on the community page is hot. Neighbors are begging the city for ShotSpotters--devices that can hear and pinpoint gunfire--and cameras. I'm not sure any of that deters crime really, but something is better than nothing, I suppose.

Phoenix Touch said...

Cameras??? Ugh....

I shudder every time I hear that cities are considering adding "security" cameras in the streets. I know for some time there was a bill up for vote in Chicago (I think) to have them added everywhere. I don't know if it passed...

I feel SO scared about the idea of having those cameras in the streets. I already feel like our government agencies have way too much access to my inner world, too much control. Those cameras, the higher "security" at the airports, the stricter laws... they do (will do) nothing, really, to deter the criminals. It only keeps the innocents in line.

One by one, I see the USA stripping away the rights of its people all in the name of "controlling" crime. OMG... I feel afraid for our future...

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of living in apartments in California. I wanted to report the drunk woman who beat her kid every night when she came home from work. But my neighbor warned me not to do it -- that living with foster parents is a worse nightmare than living with an abusive parent. I didn't know shit, but I knew this lady knew what she was talking about. There were used needles and condoms on our playground, and graffiti on the outside walls. We heard sirens every night, but thank god no gun shots.

Living in that atmosphere really gets you down. You don't realize how bad it affects you until you've moved away and get a different perspective.

Nice description, Tewks.

- Phoebe

Merujo said...

Very, very scary. I don't hear gunfire here in Bethesda (except on New Year's Eve), but it was a familiar sound my last few months in Moscow. I knew it was time to leave when the sound of gunfire turned to the sound of a rocket-propelled grenade one night.

Scary stuff. I know people say it's part of living in a city, but it doesn't take away the fear, sadness, and uncertainty.

hm-uk said...

Someone in a news story estimated that in inner London you are on cctv no less than 300 times per day.

Phoenix Touch said...

OMG ~ H!!!!

300 times???? UGH... ye-eah... so much for privacy. Yet another reason to be freaked out by "security" cameras.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Abgue: CCTV is put to very effective use in cities like London. Look at their terrorist attacks a couple of years ago. MI-5 was able to track and identify the perpetrators. I'm not saying that makes it right, but it does give one pause for thought. Somehow, there has to be a way to maintain privacy while also stopping crime.

Frankly, having been a victim of crime myself, I'd be willing to give up a little privacy if it mean the asshole who stole my car four years ago had actually been caught and sent to jail.

Phoebe: What part of California did you live in? Southern? Regardless, crime is crime and it's awfully scary. I remember sitting in my apartment in Walnut Creek and listening to the man across the courtyard yelling at his wife in a manner I'd never heard before. Shortly after that, they moved out in a cloud of mystery. Very odd and unsettling.


Merujo: It is definitely unsettling, especially when you've moved into a part of the city that should be quiet compared to other parts.


HM: Oy. 300 times per day?! Little chance of getting away with crime there, eh? As I stated earlier, though, maybe that's not such a bad thing. I don't know....

Phoenix Touch said...

Hello again, Jay...

Apparently I am ALL riled up about this whole camera thingie...

Did you see Children of Men? While I realize it was only a movie and someone's opinion on the possible future for mankind, I was greatly disturbed by it. I have a huge issue with Big Brother watching "over" me at all times and that there is nowhere to turn for comforting privacy, away from the prying eyes of the "protector".

I understand the need for "stopping crime" and, yet, I believe we will never be able to stop it. More laws equal more crime. More "security" means more cunning criminals and weakened victims. Like I said earlier on... the criminals, for the most part, don't give a hoot for "laws" or "security measures." They are going to do what they are going to do. It is the innocent people who are reigned in more and more by these security measures.

Have you ever been "tagged" for one of those modern, HIGHER security body searches at the airport? The ones where they make you miss your flight all because YOU are the lucky "random" winner. The ones where they empty your purse, your pockets, your suitcase and make you take off your shoes and socks and look in your mouth and ears? Well, I have. And, I was pissed.

I... ugh... yeah... having the government even more up in my face than it already is does not make me feel safe at all. Probably because I believe that the government is behind some of the terrorism. (Perhaps I shouldn't have said that out loud...)

LG said...

Loss of privacy is scary, but I find it interesting that many of the people I've met who complain about it also complain about the lack of security.

I'm never thrilled to have to get frisked or searched or "screened" or whatever, but if me standing in my socks (or one time my wife beater tank, lol) for 10 minutes in the airport makes me even just a little bit safer, I'll do it.