Yesterday we walked with the babies in their stroller to vote at our polling place at a nearby church. The people working the polling place, our neighbors, were all happy to see the babies. They were admired and complimented and pushed around in their stroller while we marked our ballots. One poll worker said, “You brought them to a room full of grandparents!”
We headed home, enjoying the beautiful, sunny, not-too-hot day. Occasionally I could smell the gardenia bushes in people’s yards as we passed. Early summer is one of my favorite times of the year here.
As we walked home, we started to hear sirens. At least five police cars roared past us, and we soon realized they were heading to the street one over from ours. Before long, the street was blocked off, and more and more first-responders arrived.
It turns out two people died one street over yesterday. A robbery ended in death for both a victim and a suspect. A tragedy all around.
This makes me a little uncomfortable, because this is my neighborhood. And this is just another incident, like people getting carjacked at the nearby bar, or people getting shot at the nearby EZ Mart, that makes people say it’s not a safe place to live.
In a conversation recently, we told someone where we live, and he said he wouldn’t live here. He chooses to live in the ‘burbs because “crime hasn’t learned to use the freeway.” Really? I’m pretty sure people still get hurt and robbed and raped and killed even in suburbia. And I’d be statistically more likely to die in a car accident on my way to the ‘burbs than to be shot right here in my city neighborhood. And please don’t suggest I get a gun…I’d be statistically more likely to shoot someone I didn’t intend to than someone I did.
Our pastor Ryan wrote a great post about how we respond to violence in our neighborhoods. In answer to his post, I just have to say, we’re staying. We love our house, and we love our neighborhood.
Sure, occasionally bad things happen here. But I’ve yet to see the news report on all that is good. Like the way people hang out on their porches and stop to chat and invite you over for a cold drink. Or the way a neighbor found our dog when she got out and got hit by a car, and Jon and I were both out of town, so he took care of her. Or the way even a new resident threw a spaghetti party for our whole street. Or the love we’ve been showered with since the babies arrived, in the form of pies and free yard work. Or the eggs we get from the neighbor with chickens. Or the fact that the guy next door loves our dogs so much, he put a gate between our yards so they now have twice the yard to play in.
If you think my neighborhood is a scary place to live, you’re missing out on all that is good here that vastly outweighs what is bad.