Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sleeting Justice

Bad weather must be my motivation. It seems like that’s the only time I am moved to write these days. And it isn’t for lack of fodder for writing; there is always plenty of that in this world.
There may be too much. That’s why I feel paralysis so often. I can’t move, and I can’t speak; I can only blink my eyes.
What should I write about today? The father who killed his transgender child? The Christian woman who beat her Jewish friend in an effort to convert her? The atheist who murdered his Muslim neighbors because he didn’t like where they parked?
I could write about my own neighbor, the one who discharged her firearm through her overhead garage door at people she did not see. Her neighbor told on her. The woman told the neighbor that she “heard Mexican voices” and shot through the door. When I contacted the police by email, the cop said the report was confidential because a small child was involved. He also said the garage door was pried up in the corner (Really? That’s quite hard to visualize and must have taken some work.), and since she was home alone with a small child, she had a right to fire her weapon. What happened to leaving the garage, going back in the house, and locking the door while dialing 911? How about calling out, “I have a gun. Leave my property now!”
A few weeks later she was on our HOA Google group complaining about her new neighbors who had not even lived in the house a week. Will she shoot them because she doesn’t like the sound of their truck?
I don’t know if the new neighbors are Muslims, but I know they are black. Almost all of her complaints are about black or Hispanic men or boys. She logged 33 calls to the police in 5 years. But the police don’t think that is excessive. 
That doesn’t count the times she complained or bragged on the Google group. I sent all of those to the police and he said not all matched up to a police report.
She’s the same person I wrote about in my post Profiling Fatality 3: The Demonization of George Zimmerman. She described the intruder from that incident as having “evil eyes.” She also admitted she may have left her door unlocked.
Just like she left her SUV parked on the street with her purse in the front seat. The doors were unlocked then, too.
When the temperature is above 50 degrees, which occurs most days of the year down here, I leave the front door open. I love the extra light it lets in the house. We picked this house because of all the oversized windows. I love a light-filled home. The difference? We have a security screen door. It locks with a huge hook bolt that fits into a slot in steel-reinforced timber. The glass is bulletproof. An elephant might be able to knock it down, but I haven’t seen any of those in the neighborhood. We also own a dog and a security system, and there is a wrought iron gate on my porch – you’d be surprised how many people can’t figure out how to open it. We have motion lights and the yard is open all around the house, no privacy fences or hedges.
We aren’t paranoid, but we understand when the police tell you to make your house an unattractive target.
It’s not that there is a lot of crime in our neighborhood. Including the neighbor that called the police 33 times in 5 years (averages out to 6.6 calls per year), we averaged 7.8 break-in/property damage calls per year in the same period, 2009 – 2014. There are 78 homes in our neighborhood. Suffice it to say that most of the calls were hers.
I’ve called the police 4 times in the almost 8 years we’ve lived here: twice when my car was hit in the driveway (we live on a curve, and after the city installed a sign letting people know there was a curve up ahead, it hasn’t happened again); the third time was when a rabid coyote was rolling around on my front lawn; and the fourth time was when the house next door to me was in foreclosure and I saw two white guys come out carrying the heat pump and loading it into the back of their pick-up.
I suspect the white guys were members of the construction crew because that heat pump was well hidden in an attic crawlspace inside a closet.
We live in the city. There will be crime. That’s what happens when there are a lot of people living fairly close together. The economy down here is terrible, too, and the state government has removed or shortened the term of just about every safety net. Some people will turn to crime out of desperation and some will turn to crime because they are bad people. Remember all the rat experiments we read about in psychology class?
But city living is a choice. I prefer the city. There is more going on, more people to run into, services like trash collection are better, and the fire departments are full time, not volunteer.
Living out in the country is a choice, too, and lots of ultra-conservatives choose that option because they don’t want to be around people who are different. Why doesn’t my neighbor move? She keeps talking about it, as in, “I mean I was ready to pack up and go yesterday over break ins but this unnecessary noise has got to stop!”
My husband said, “Then go already.”
He was ready to go over to the new neighbors and warn them. I emailed and warned their landlord instead. I didn’t want my husband (for new readers, he is black; I am white) walking near that woman’s house, and I don’t want to read in the paper that a neighbor was shot and killed because another neighbor thought his truck was loud (she could hear his music as he pulled into the driveway). It reminds me too much of the atheist who didn’t like where his neighbors parked.  When did that become a reason to kill someone?
When did the pried edge of a garage door become a reason to discharge a firearm in a residential city neighborhood?
The cop I sent my complaint to reminded me of our 2nd Amendment rights. He said I was judgmental and my statements were inflammatory.
Protect and serve. I’m glad my neighbor, whose husband is a deputy in another county, is getting the full benefit of the city police service while the rest of us worry about our right to walk and drive our neighborhood streets and live in our homes safely.
I reserve my right to wonder if that garage door was truly pried at the corner or if what the other neighbor related is really the truth: the woman “heard Mexican voices,” never laid eyes on anyone, and shot blindly through the door. One of the NRA rules of gun safety (Yes, I went to the “experts.”): Know your target and what is beyond.

I just hope I don’t read about her in the paper.

The sleet made last night's storm worrisome

No comments:

Post a Comment