Thinking about the Unthinkable.

Sit. Stay. Aim. Shoot. Reload.

There’s what you hope to be true and then there’s what you know to be true and what you hope doesn’t always win the day over what you know. 

Last night I was getting  ready for work  and I heard gunshots in the alley behind my house. 

I knew they were gunshots.  For a  moment I entertained the vague hope that it might be firecrackers.   Might be despite Memorial Day having passed four days earlier and the Fourth of July one month away.   I really and truly wanted to believe this was only the sound of firecrackers going off way too early way too late at night, but I knew better. 

My wife was in the kitchen, my son in the living room and my daughter on the computer.   They all heard the sound that wasn’t firecrackers..  

There is one bad house two doors down that has repeatedly  been a magnet for misfits during the 14 years I’ve lived  here.   Apparently where the gunfire was coming from.  But I’ll get back  to the Neighbors from Hell.    This is just the latest in a series of events leading me to believe I need a dog.  Or a gun.  Or maybe a dog that knows how to use a gun.   

  • Last month my wife and I were driving to lunch we had to move over for a fire engine tearing down the street headed in the direction we had just come from.   When we returned  home we passed a house which had burned in the front but there was yellow police tape all around it.   Come to find out later some kid had been shot and killed when he opened the door.  Then the house was set on fire to cover the shooting.   He was only there because he was house-sitting.   I never found out if he was the killer’s target or just happened to be in the wrong place in the wrong time.
  • Coming home in the morning after work, I couldn’t take my normal route.   A block in all directions was closed with police cruisers blocking the intersection.   On the evening news an unemployed man had gone to an ATM sometime in the wee hours of the morning.  He was shot and robbed.  He didn’t make it.
  • It was 7:00 am on a Sunday morning when I passed a gas station where there were at least  four cops cars around parked in the lot and yellow tape all the way around it.  I  never did find out what that was about.

These are all random acts of urban crime and there is no connecting thread.  Except that I’m a lot more aware of what is going on around me and I can’t say I much like it.  Little by little and bit by bit, my sense of security is chipped away just a little bit more. 

Back to the bad house on the block.   Last year the police arrested a thief known as “the Shotgun Bandit” because that’s how he rolled.   He lived in that house and was arrested there after ripping off a store.  Detective were there all night hauling crap out of there.  There were at least ten other idiots including their kids who seemed to be crashing in the place at one time or another.   

I've seen way too much of this lately.

When those losers were evicted the property owners allowed some new losers to move in.  My next door neighbor who moved out last month said he was sure they were dealing drugs and I don’t doubt it.   When they first moved in there was one beat up, busted down junker of a car that used to pull up, the driver would go in and come back out ten minutes later and take off.    This crap car had a busted muffler so I always heard it long before I saw it.   This went on every weekend, all weekend.  

Last  February my wife parked her van overnight in front of their house.    The next morning two tires on her van decided to commit suicide by slashing themselves.   ce?   No way.   That was an expensive lesson learned to not park anywhere around these assholes .   Can I prove it was them?  Nope.  Do I believe it was them?  Yup.    

Fast forward to tonight.  The paddy wagon rolled past the house, went around the alley and came back to park in front of the assholes house.   I wasn’t the one who called the cops.  Not this time.  

The thought has entered my mind  that I might want to buy a gun.  Maybe.   It doesn’t seem like a completely crazy idea.    It sure seem like less of a crazy idea than it did, oh say 14 years ago. 

Am I afraid?  No, I am not.   Does the possibility of a vicious home invasion or walking in on a burglar fill my heart with fear?    Not at all.    On summer nights I sit on my porch (though I might back off even that since the assholes two doors down like to sit on their porch and smoke).    For the most part I feel safe if not totally sound.  

I haven’t used a gun since I was in the military and that came to an end 32 years ago.    I haven’t even touched a gun since a friend of mine let me hold his probably 20 years ago.   But I’m not afraid of guns.   From what I remember I liked holding one.   I’ve just never felt the need to own one.    If I ever did buy a gun I wouldn’t buy some big-ass hand cannon.  I’ve seen Dirty Harry, but I have no wish to be Dirty Harry.  

  If  the day  comes that I want to be strapped to the max I’d treat buying a gun the same way I’d approach buying a car.   I’d do my research, wouldn’t choose form over function, understand exactly what the weapon can and cannot do and treat it with respect, keep it in top condition and keep it locked up when I’m not using it.    I’m not anti-gun.  I’m pro-responsibility.   With extra big helpings of preparation, caution and common sense on the side. 

Not saying that I will, but I’m not saying I won’t either.   The wife and kids are already totally unthrilled at my making noises about buying a dog.  “We’re all too old for a damn dog so why do you want one now?” is what they’ve said.    I can only imagine what they will say to me buying a gun.   They’d probably prefer I adopt a pack of dogs before I do that.  

I don’t know if I will ever buy a gun.  I’m not the bravest man in the world and the courage a gun gives you is false.   I’d rather walk a dog and have to pick up Fido’s droppings than ever fire a pistol at another human being.   

But I can see myself changing my mind.  Especially if I keep hearing gunshots in the night way too close to home.   It doesn’t matter if  the shots have anything to do with me.   Bullets make mistakes  and especially when they’re fired in anger because somebody gets pissed off at somebody else.     Make no mistake about it; I don’t think a gun will make me safer.   It’s just a concession that things ain’t like they used to in the old neighborhood and because they aren’t I have to make the proper adjustments to that change. 

Which might include a gun.   I’m start to think seriously about something that was once unthinkable. 

4 thoughts on “Thinking about the Unthinkable.

  1. I think a dog is a better deterrent than a gun. Scumbags aren’t afraid of guns; a lot of them are afraid of dogs. Not little ankle-biter dogs, but decent sized dogs that look like they could put a major hurt on them. My Chow Chow is the sweetest thing on 4 legs, and to me looks like a big, fuzzy, huggable teddy bear, but she scares the piss out of a lot of people.

    I’m not a fan of guns – I think the owner is more likely to become the receiver of a bullet rather than the deliverer of one. But, during a Neighborhood Watch meeting years ago, the police officer told me that if you’re going to have a weapon for self-protection, a shotgun is the best choice. He said a lot of times the sound of racking the chamber is enough to scare off most home invaders. Whether that’s true these days when bad guys view being shot as just the price of doing business or not, I don’t know, but it makes a certain kind of sense. If the scumbag is a true hardcase like so many seem to be these days, a shootout might be more likely.

    Maybe you should consider moving? ; )


    • Not happening, Daffygrl.

      Moving out is the worst of the bad options. I like my neighborhood. I like that most people keep their lawns trimmed in the spring and their walks shoveled of snow in the winter. Why should I move? The assholes should go, not me.

      Once you start running away it’s hard to stop. Where can I go where things that are o.k. today might not turn rotten tomorrow.

      I like your dog suggestion a lot better, D.G. I don’t need a Rottweiler or a pit bull or anything else that can tear out your throat if you forget to refill their dish soon enough. Dogs that yap and nip are cute, but useless when things go sideways. I’ve been looking at the animal shelter website and I’ve seen a few winners. I’ve heard Chows can be high maintenance, but extremely loyal and protective.

      My type of doggy! 🙂


      • I hear ya on the moving out. I live in a “bad area” myself…oddly enough, the street where i live is quite nice.

        Any large dog cab be intimidating to a bad guy – doesn’t have to be a Rottie or pit bull.

        Chows are an acquired taste. They can be incredibly stubborn and willful, and somewhat independent (not your usual slobbery happy-to-see-you dog), but that’s what I like about them, since I’m more of a cat person than a dog person. They are indeed incredibly loyal. I saw a story on Animal Planet about a pair of Chows that defended their person against a bear – and won! And only one of them had any sort of wound. Their thick hair coat helps in that regard…oh, and about that hair…man oh man, do they have a LOT of hair! But, they are magnificent creatures, and there’s no need to disabuse people of the (mistaken) notion that they are “vicious”. 😉


  2. You’re a good guy, Jeff. But I have small children and moved the hell out of NYC for exactly that reason. I feel absolutely no need to prove my esteem for my people by staying in a place we’ve no control of. The lack of control is exactly the problem in these neighborhoods. The criminal has it; young, immature and dangerous men (boys) have it; the police and other resident saviors claim to have it as well; I JUST I KNOW I DON’T. Between the high crime, unnecessary noise levels and seriously bad public schools, I felt I had no choice but to leave.

    The gun ownership issue is something blacks really need to, at the very least, discuss as a community and as individuals. I’d like to see more legal action taken against these absentee landlords, making it expensive to rent out one’s property to lowlifes who have no problem making life difficult for everyone else. But as I stated before, you’re a better man than I, Sir.


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