Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I Had a Feeling
It was after 9pm, and we were in the midst of our usual, reading all about the Adventures from the Black Lagoon. Those sounds, those distantly familiar POP POP POPs, sounded as if they were right outside our window. The fact that we are located on a second floor immediate started the wheel turning in my brain. My mind left the story and settled on the idea of stray bullets flying through the window. Can't you just see the headline now? Mother is Struck and Killed by Stray Bullet as She Reads Bedtime Story to Daughter. Its not like mothers don't ever take bullets that were meant for someone else. I just had a feeling. The sounds were too close and I was too uncertain. Was this a drive-by? Were they just shooting up in the air? And if so, where do those bullets usually land? And then came the second hail of gunfire, this time more automatic, followed by the loud screams of sirens about 5 minutes later.
I told Emma that we'd save the next chapter for the next night. I tucked her in and hit the lights. A mixture of concern and street smarts. I've been hear before. I'm equipped to deal with this. But this time, I have a child to protect, one who knows nothing about street survival, about hood survival, one who peeked through the blinds upon hearing gunshots for the very first time in her life. Lord, I forgot this child grew up in Albany, where folks don't do shit quite like this.
An announcement over the radio during the morning commute, and so it was confirmed.
"A stray bullet went through the wall of a house in the 1100 block of 89th Avenue, hitting a 49-year-old man who was in his bedroom watching television. He was hit in the back and is expected to recover... six wounded in East Oakland shooting... It was the most victims shot in Oakland at one time since nine people were shot Oct. 31 at a downtown Halloween party" - The Oakland Tribune