4.26.2011

putting the bullets away

I work in West Oakland and it's a violent place. There have been 11 shootings within three blocks of my office in the past three years. Most go unreported because most of the time no one is hit. A young man with a modified assault rifle shooting from a moving vehicle isn't the same as a trained Marine. It's often times more dangerous being a bystander than being targeted. Early Monday morning two men were murdered inside a club around the corner from this desk. The details are sketchy, but it seems like four men rolled up in a Dodge Avenger and one got out and tried to rob several patrons of the club as they stood on the sidewalk. At least one person resisted and several men ran back into the club. The assailant signaled to his cohort who then stepped out of the car with an assault rifle, walked several paces to the door of the club and opened fire on those inside. Six people were shot: two died, two suffered life threatening injuries and two are expected to fully recover. This took place four blocks from the Oakland Police Headquarters and a block away from Jack London Square. Less then an hour later there was another shooting at a club even closer to my desk but this time only one man was superficially injured. The difference between a superficial injury and a mortal wound is frequently a matter of inches, only luck kept the body count down. Four hours after the second shooting we were back open for business, another work week started and nothing had changed because nothing ever changes. West Oakland is West Oakland is West Oakland. It's cliche that this is the wild west and I think that might be wrong. The wild west had a code. There isn't a code here. Out this way, you can be sitting in a bar, minding your own business, and then catch a bullet because some kid decides to light up the whole room for no sensible reason. You can be walking to your car and catch a bullet from a block away, from a flare up you didn't even know existed. It's always hard to write about this stuff because I don't believe anything will change. Everything has changed. Human life is less and less valuable and you can see it everywhere you look.

1 comment:

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