because you are a captive audience (not really, though),
and because you are awfully patient (yes, really),
and because this blog is very therapeutic (absolutely true),
and because i think it is super fun to navel-gaze (the most honest statement of all???),
i am going to go through what was going on in my head during the shooting (the famous shooting of 2013??? why yes!) and pick it apart for your reading pleasure.
first i didn’t believe it was real. i heard the thrunk-thrunk-thrunk and i looked over and i saw this teenager fall sideways against a pole. i thought he was totally kidding around.
but it didn’t look right.
his shirt and jacket were askew and he was bent funny at a weird angle that just looked too twisted to be fake. i don’t know how this registered as ‘holy crud, this is real‘ but it did.
and in that second he picked up his gun and just started shooting. and i was so mesmerized by his gun for a second or two that i couldn’t take my eyes off of it. i didn’t even hear it as much as see the recoil of it, and i just puzzled over what make it was (i think a glock).
and then the adrenaline washed over me and i looked over in the direction of where he was pointing the gun and realized that:
a) it was toward a bus-stop full of people, where two teenagers stood nearby shooting back;
b) all of the cars at the light, including mine where in the direct line of fire;
c) they were never going to hit each other but none of us could get away.
and i started looking for a way to get my car out of there and realized that i couldn’t drive around or forward or anywhere and i had one quick flash where i thought, ‘ohmygosh my kids are at home waiting for me‘ and then i thought, ‘you better calm the heck down and pull it together and not freak out or you are gonna mess up and do something dumb‘.
so i took a deep breath and realized that:
a) the people at the bus stop were freaking out. some of them were just standing there glued to the spot. none of them had the sense to run away. the shooters were standing too close to them and using them for cover, then running away a few paces and then coming back toward them. dirty scoundrels;
b) the other pair of kids was running in the opposite direction, but they shot once or twice as they ran too. there was no point at all to the bullets, and i have no idea where they went. the people on that side of the street had all taken cover, which was a good thing, since it was in front of a high school. scary stuff;
c) i tried to get my cell phone out of my pocket- yes i did- and realized that i couldn’t get it out without undoing my seatbelt and shifting so much in my seat that it would have drawn attention. bad idea. i thought about doing it anyway but decided that to risk getting noticed was about the worst idea possible. so i sat there trying to be very invisible and feeling very powerless. not nice at all;
d) i actually thought for a passing minute that this was so ghetto and so stereotypical and then i felt bad for being racist and then i was ticked off that people do things that reinforce racist stereotypes and make other people look bad. that really made me wanna call the police.
then someone tore away from the light and that made room for traffic to move and everyone started to go and all i could think about was to drive ahead while i could… as i was going i was wondering, ‘am i being a coward right now? should i pull over and call the police?’ and i kind of made the deal with myself that if there was a police officer at the grocery store then i would tell him when i got there, but really my immediate goal was just to get distance between me and that shooting.
and that doesn’t make me too proud.
because that’s not the type of person i think of myself as being.
but there it is.
so i got to the grocery store and there was no police presence in the store for like the first time ever- and i was thinking i would call them. so i was really trying to bring up details in my head about what i saw, and i realized that i was sketchy about what they were wearing. i could sort of describe the outfit of one of them and not really give any good details about the others because it was a blur. and my mind was racing so much to get away from the scene that it had become a mess in my head and i was really afraid that if i did call the police i would be basically sending them out to just harass any black teenager in baggy jeans they saw on the street.
so in my big zeal to be a righteous crusader i would end up causing bad stuff to happen.
yes, they might find the “bad guys” in the area- or i might tie up police resources and they might create even more animosity in a population that traditionally has little tolerance for the police just nosing around in their business.
so would i have made the streets safer or more angry?
this is what i thought about the whole time i was in the store and i was honestly in real turmoil. this was no small thing for me to ponder; i went to a mostly black high school, so i know firsthand that this stuff is no joke. you don’t just go accusing people if you aren’t solid about who did what because “they all look alike”.
so for me to see some kids from 30 feet away when i’m not even concentrating on their faces and then call out the police was not an insignificant matter to me.
so that’s also a big part of why i didn’t call.
and then there was the matter of reprisal.
on the way home i did see one police car in a parking lot. i actually pulled to the side, but then at the last minute, something stopped me from going over. call it intuition, or call it something else, but for some reason i had this creepy feeling that having my car seen next to a police car in that neighborhood after the shooting and before a potential arrest was a very very bad idea.
so once again i drove away.
and i came home.
and this many days later i’m still conflicted about whether i did the right thing (can you tell?).
i think i’m at peace with the fact that i truly have no useful information at this stage, and when i see it typed out in black and white that i couldn’t get to my cell phone in time (and that is the absolute truth) then i feel vindicated on that front as well. because truly i believe that, all other things being equal, i would have called from the car as a drove away had i been able to get to my phone.
so, that’s all the news that’s fit to print.
tomorrow’s a gardening day, and a day to bake and make soup for a dear friend who is very very sick.
he has stage 4 lung cancer and his name is dave, and if you could keep him in your prayers i would really appreciate it.
and now i’m off to bed because i’m emotionally D-O-N-E.