Why someone’s children might get shot

I picked up pieces of paper left behind by those who rummaged through my car the other night. On a routine weekday morning, I was disappointed to discover someone had gone through the vehicle and stolen a few items including my insurance identification card.

This is just a short scene in an escalating problem on my block and I imagine blocks across the city. Shootings, thefts vandalism, stabbings in broad daylight, these are just the crimes that are reported.

This spring has been a challenge to say the least, during the most recent episode listening as neighbors two doors down dodged projectiles from a pellet or B.B. gun fired by young teens. “This is for Lincoln Park” followed by a barrage of gunfire similar to a gun with a silencer. “Ping ping ping ping ping ping ping ping.”

It was dusk and I was sitting out back with the dog in my fenced-in yard, which actually is so small my brother has joked that my dog has learned how to run in place.
“Woof, woof, woof,” barked Spike as he looked towards the door motioning as if to say, “Get me the heck outta here! Let’s go inside, now!” My brave dog was signaling that he wasn’t having any part of it.

The shooting continued. This went on for what seemed like five minutes with the kids retreating to a school playground directly across the street from the row of quietly kept homes on the city’s west end. Pellets ricocheted off windows and clapboard siding. This was not TV gone wild – this was real life in real time.

What happened on my street didn’t just happen overnight; as snow melted temperatures increased so did activities of young people with nothing better to do than to terrorize people in a neighborhood. Oh, I’m sorry. I’m supposed to say, “They have nothing to do so we must have compassion for them. Fund after school programs into the early evening” Sorry, I digress.

I listened as these kids called the adults everything but a child of God. In addition, one of them threatened to “Get my father who’ll come with a real gun.” Now almost daily when the kids pass the neighbors’ house they shout obscenities.

I’ve seen kids from the Boys & Girls Club make this a regular route as the facility closes, along with the kids who wore Fowler High School shirts apparently walking from some after school activity. I had an asphalt projectile whiz by my head as I watered my lawn.

In this post 9/11 world I’m not afraid of Al-Qaeda, Hamas or any Ku Klux Klansman burning a cross on my lawn. I don’t fear any one of the 12 million illegal immigrants that have sneaked into this country.

But I’m afraid of some dumb-ass kid with a gun. A kid who looks black, like me.

Living in city neighborhoods you might as well dress up like “the-little-Dutch-boy” of folk lore pressing his finger plugging a hole in the Dike. If he dared let go all of Netherlands would be flooded. Such is the case in some of our ‘hoods. If a few of us let go the whole block is gone.

I’m tired of city officials secure in their tree-lined pristine neighborhoods streets paved with good intentions.

It’s an exercise in futility to seek their assistance because all they’ll do is tell you how absolutely powerless they are to do anything about the problem.
What has the city’s Department of Community Development actually developed in the last decade? These imitation progressive democrats have intentionally run down this city for political and personal gain.

I noticed since moving onto this block almost two years ago that all the homeowners have invested in making their place look a little better. New paint, curb appeal projects and a petition to the mayor from neighbors have energized this small block of 100-year-old homes.

I don’t want to see anyone shot, but confrontations with armed youth attacking on private property is a recipe for disaster. Personal injuries, property damage and fear will lead people to defend themselves. Usually when situations spiral out of control there are no clear winners just losers. As Martin Luther King once said, “There are no winners in a dog fight.”

My neighbors used to sit out in their driveway in the evening, enjoying the weather and the company of friends. Since the shooting and repeated harassing activities by kids I don’t hear them laughing across the fence at night. In fact, I don’t hear them at all.