June 2, 2003

How was *your* Monday?

So, I drive home after work today, arriving at about 6pm. I wave at my wife, who happens to drive past heading the opposite direction towards the neighborhood tennis courts. I park my car, noting that a large group of neighborhood kids ("kids" - they were upper teens or slightly older perhaps) were hanging out just a bit down the way. Not uncommon, as we live in a fairly friendly condo community, and lots of folks chat in the parking lot and whatnot.

I walk in the house, putting my wallet and keys on the table. Stroll into kitchen looking for a quick snack before heading to karate practice. Pop an oreo.

And hear five *pops* that sound, to my ear, like gunfire.

Now, I've shot guns before, so I know what they sound like. I'm not a huge fan of them, but I used to occasionally shoot skeet and have even tried handguns a few times at a shooting range - nothing uncommon for someone who grew up in southern Virginia. I do not keep guns in the home and never plan to - I think they tend to cause more problems than they solve, and I have fairly strong opinions about gun control laws, none of which I was thinking at the time. I was thinking: that sounds like gunfire.

This is an odd thing, because aside for an occasional stolen car, we live in a fairly safe neighborhood. Generally no violent crime. The rowdiest our neighbors tend to get involves jumping up and down during a basketball game, rooting on the university team. So, I walked outside to take a quick look (which, by the way, I've already had pointed out to me as quote-unquote not the brightest thing you've ever done, genius). We're on the first floor, so I stepped out onto the "deck" (read: slab 'o concrete). I can't really see most of the parking lot from where I live, but I did see two adults with a good field of vision looking curiously - but not excitedly - towards the parking lot. I stand there for a second, watching to see if some horrible realization dawns on them and they start sprinting for (or away from) the parking lot.

But that doesn't happen. The just gaze over and then return to their conversation.

Firecrackers, I think to myself. I shrug, go inside, and mosey about my business. Pop another oreo.

Which is when I hear the helicopter.

Now, again, this isn't so odd, because I live under what probably constitutes the airline superhighway near DC. We tend to get a lot of air traffic, either heading towards BWI up north, National in the city, or even Andrews air force base. We also tend to see a lot of traffic reporters hovering over a gridlock on BW parkway, oftentimes laughing at the fools in the cars. Flying is so easy, they think, waving at the earth bound commuters. Shrugging, I pop another oreo, making a mental note not to buy oreos again, because this is what happens - I just eat them non-stop.

Putting the oreos away, I hear the helicopter again, circling apparently in an ever-widening pattern. A spiral pattern.

My curiosity is peaked.

So I gather my things and head out the door. Turning past the building, I look into the parking lot. Five police cars are there, lights flashing. A helicopter circles wider and wider. Yellow tape blocks one lane of the parking lot. Police officers are collecting bullet rounds.

So, about three minutes after I parked my car, a drive-by shooting happened about 30 yards away from where I parked. I heard later that one of the kids was shot in the leg and refused (huh?!?) transport to the hospital.

This is just a few weeks after a woman was found murdered in a condo down the road.

I tried finding news about the shooting, but I guess if no one is killed, it's just not news-worthy. Sheesh.

Anyone want to come by for dinner?

Posted by Jason at June 2, 2003 8:34 PM | TrackBack

Similarly, I stuck my head out the apartment window to try to figure out where the gunshots were coming from one night a few months ago.

Genius, indeed.

Posted by: George at June 3, 2003 1:55 AM | Permalink to Comment

Hey J - I tried to call y'all last night around 6:30, but got no answer. You must have been outside looking at all the pretty flashing lights at the time. Thank goodness you and L are both ok!

Posted by: Natalie at June 3, 2003 11:34 AM | Permalink to Comment

Yeah, I think Lisa was at the tennis courts and I had left for practice by that time...

Don't you miss the old neighborhood? ;)

Posted by: Jason at June 3, 2003 12:24 PM | Permalink to Comment

damn, j.

you got any more oreos?

sorry to hear that those weren't firecrackers. let's be safe out there.

Posted by: dave at June 3, 2003 6:49 PM | Permalink to Comment

Wow. That's heavy. When we hear helicopters over our apartment in Norcross, GA, it's usually news shows filming a traffic accident on the highway nearby. But then again, one day a few months back it was because a body was discovered in the trunk of a car that had been parked around the corner from us for a few weeks. Nice, huh?

I'm not crazy about bodies being dumped here, but on the other hand, it certainly beats drive-bys.

Posted by: mike at June 4, 2003 8:55 PM | Permalink to Comment
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