Saturday, September 20, 2008

living in the o

we do not live in a quiet neighborhood. this is nothing new; we have lived here for two years, and let's just say there is a lot of action going on around here 24-7. i discovered even more how noisy our street can be when i was first up at all hours nursing little m. i'm a pretty sound sleeper, so many of the middle of the night side shows, bass blasting cars, incessantly barking dogs and random firecrackers were lost on me.  before we knew that m was deaf i sort of congratulated myself on the fact that she seemed oblivious to all of the noise; i figured we must have acclimated her well in utero. anyway, it is so common for people to set off fireworks year round, that i don't really even think about it. once in a while, i'll think it sounds more like a gun, but i rarely think about it for more than a few minutes. 

last night, around 10:45, as we were getting ready to go to sleep, i heard 5 shots? 5 fireworks? going off in quick succession. hard to tell, but it sounded much more like shots than usual, so i ran into the hallway, kind of freaked out, to tell matt. as usual, all of the neighborhood dogs started howling, but it also sounded like a woman was screaming. matt went outside to see if he could hear more or if  he needed to go in the direction of the sound to help. we still were unsure of whether they were actually gunshots, but within minutes we heard sirens approaching our neighborhood (not unusual)...

today, checking email, i saw a news item on yahoo local news confirming that they had been gunshots. a young couple walking their dog on the street behind us had been shot at, killing the young man, and injuring his girlfriend. of course, there is a very strong likelihood that this shooting was not just random; shootings like this rarely are, but it is sobering. the fact that oakland has had 103 homicides at this point in the year is not ok. i don't care if they are gang related or drug related or miscellaneous related. it is still not ok. 

does it make me want to move? if not out of oakland at least to a nicer neighborhood? some days, i guess. but most of the time, no. even more than scared to live here, i feel powerless and overwhelmed. i feel like there are root causes that are deeply ingrained which are not being addressed. i have no clue how to be a part of a neighborhood in a way that brings renewal and hope and reduces violence, without at the same just bringing gentrification. i really am at a loss, but still with a kernel of hope for something.... what that is i don't know.

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