Yes It Can And Does Happen In Your Neighborhood
Listening to the crickets chirp, watching the lightening bugs float around the night, a slight hint of gardenia in the air, and sporadic sounds of life. We have several family of deer living among us; rabbits and chipmunks try to stay out of the way of the cats, various dogs walk their owners during daylight and night time. Tonight an eerie shadow is cast upon us, the inhabitants of this safe enclave just a little north of Atlanta. I look down to the end of my block and the un-naturally lit, lifeless house serves as a reminder of the events of the day.
How many times have you watched the news and heard someone who is interviewed say,’This kind of thing doesn’t happen here. This is such a nice neighborhood”. I cringe each time. I say, ” What are you thinking idiot, your community is immune to bad occurrences?”Today I would have been that idiot. While I may have not verbalized my feelings, it certainly was my thought pattern and behavior as well.
I heard the beeping sound of a truck backing up at 6:30 A.M.; it is trash day, but still early. The blue and red lights flashing from various police as well as fire department services illuminate the block. Yellow tape surround the house in question, that is NOT a good sign. About a dozen officers enter the location and about five minutes later they emerge, but there is an odd scene as a woman being rolled out in a sitting position follows. I see a few familiar faces down the block but cannot get to them because the police have created a barricade on my block.
Later we would find out there was a murder and a home invasion. Later we would find out the two children who lived there survived but they we not unharmed one physically but both impacted psychologically. Later we would find out the perpetrators were still at large. Later we would find out it was the first and only murder that had happened this year in our fair city. However for now we are in a state of shock, denial, and disbelief.
You might ask, why are we all so disheveled; I have many times when I was simply an observer of others in similar neighborhoods. What makes us think that simply because we live among those we deem to be upstanding citizens, people who keep their lawns tidy and their houses painted, that their lives are as spotless as these home’s exteriors. We bought into an illusion and in that illusion good people you live next door to don’t argue, don’t have abuse going on, don’t hoard animals and debris. The people we live down the block from mind their own business, but they look out for their neighbors. We can leave our doors unlocked, parcels can sit on the porch or in the driveway without the worry of someone who does not belong here entering our places or taking our things. We wave at passersby so they will know we are good folk, but we are watching you.
We have all allowed ourselves to forget the common denominator, we are all just people not immune to the flaws and frailties that make us all human. This kind of thing doesn’t happen in our kind of community, but somehow it just did.