In the wee of hours Sunday morning I was awakened by gun fire. About a dozen shots in all. A bunch fast. A half a nano second pause. A few more. A slightly longer pause. And one final shot. It sounded extremely close so I was on full alert, waiting for either silence, more shooting or sirens. Sadly, this has become a routine occurrence in my neighborhood.
This time there were sirens. Many, many sirens. I heard on the radio last night that someone was indeed shot. And killed. So as I was laying there, waiting, I was also listening to him die.
According to this morning’s newspaper the deceased had been visiting a house about a block away from mine, got into a fight outside and was shot. It doesn’t specify whether or not the fight was with someone passing in the street or someone who was also in the house. Either way, it was a specific shooting,
Horrible though it is, in my mind it is somewhat better to be specific rather than random. Specific means that unless my luck is even worse than normal, I won’t be shot by mistake. Though that’s not quite true. Just a few weeks ago there was a gentleman shot in his living room by someone shooting outside who missed the intended target.
Growing up, I lived in the middle of nowhere. There were no lights other than the moon outside my bedroom window. The only noise that wasn’t part of nature was a train that echoed from about 10 miles away. When I moved into the city it was to the nice section of town. Oh it was still an adjustment but I made it. I used to roam in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep because it was a decent area. That stopped years ago though the desire hasn’t which makes it very difficult some nights.
There’s so much gunfire these days that I barely react when I’m awake unless it’s right outside my window. Yeah, I’ve learned to drop to the floor instantly when it’s that close. It still startles me if I happen to be sleeping. Statistics indicate that crime is down in Reading. Um, no I disagree. My theory is that reported crimes are down because the police force has been cut so dramatically. Why report something that’s not major when no one is going to come?
No, I’m not afraid to leave my house. I am however, beginning to be intimidated to return to it, depending on the time and activity in the neighborhood. My illusion of safety, which was never very strong anyway, is crumbling. It’s becoming more and more obvious that I do not belong here though, after surviving here I suspect I could exist anywhere. Exist, not thrive which is something that everyone, including me, should have the opportunity to do.
Forgive me for rambling but there’s a lot swirling through my head today. I’m having some trouble sorting it because honestly, I don’t know what to do.
And in other news, the FDA has approved an antibiotic for plague. Now doesn't that just make the state of things so much better?