dimanche, juillet 13, 2008

Things I Don't Miss: Gunshots

Most of my readers know that I grew up in the city. I lived in what would later be called Washington Heights, right outside of Washington Park. I went to Washington High.... and I loved where I grew up.

But starting in the late 80's I heard sirens all night long - the sound carries for miles and miles and miles. Then around about the time after Troy Ashford was killed in 1987, it seems the city never went back and just went downhill.

I began sleeping in earplugs a while ago. I always liked sleeping with the windows open in the summertime. But since the sound of a gunshot report carries for miles as well, you have two choices: sleep with your earplugs in and block it out of your mind, or be woken up because you can't help counting how many are being fired in one shooting. And I want to tell you something. You might read about a shooting, but shots are fired constantly all night long in the city. I mean ALL night long.

As I laid in bed last night with my windows open I could hear some horns out on the lake. Maybe some people walking to their cars, and from time to time the sound of an ambulance since I am on a fire route. But I no longer hear gunshots anymore. I know they are out there, and I know that people I know and people that I love are living in Washington Heights, Sherman Park, the north side, and Riverwest. And they are just like me - all they want to do is live and conduct their lives without intimidation or violence. They want to have the basic joy of falling asleep without falling out of sleep because they are counting shots.

4 Comments:

Blogger Sonya said...

So true, unfortunately. We hear more where we are now, a few blocks west of Holton St., even though the block we live on is quieter and more owner-occupied. The sound really does carry. I don't think I'd dare sleep with earplugs, though...

You must be a light sleeper -- I only hear them when I'm awake already.

11:22 PM, juillet 13, 2008  
Blogger Patrick said...

The scary part comes when you realize that you don't even notice that gunshots have become so common in your neighborhood.

6:15 AM, juillet 14, 2008  
Blogger The Chad said...

I spent about a year and half in Washington Heights (51st and Vine), or as my roomies and I called it, "Six Blocks from Scary".

I love the neighborhood, but the closer you get to North Ave, the worse it got, especially when you cross over Highway 41.

I too, was aware of the gunshots late at night as I'd hear them when I'd get home from work at 12:30 in the morning, walking my roommates dog.

10:24 AM, juillet 14, 2008  
Blogger Silent E said...

I lived a few houses away from Hi-Mount School.... I don't miss it. The gunshots. The stolen Jeep..... I don't miss it.

12:03 PM, juillet 14, 2008  

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