On a relatively last-minute whim, I flew home to Massachusetts to spend some time with my family. Between my two young nieces growing up at a furious pace and my dad and uncle continuing to solve the world’s problems well into their 90s, I was massively looking forward to the trip. I’ve been here for three days now, and it’s been a complete blast. Except for the murders.
Late Saturday evening, police found a six month-old baby sitting alone in a car in front of a house right around the corner. Apart from being six months old, alone and in a car, the baby was otherwise fine. Tracking down the baby’s progenitors led the police to a apartment in which they found two gravely-injured women and a dead man—murdered by a home invader. Now, this murder took place a mere three-minute walk from where my sister, her husband and their two little girls live, and where I was staying at the time. If we had been awake when it all went down, we surely would have heard the fatal gunshot.
We soon learned from reliable sources that the murder was not random. In fact, it was gang-related. Sadly, we found ourselves sitting around the kitchen table, remarking how encouraging it was that the violent murder and assaults were targeted hits. See, that gave us the illusion that we were safe. Of course, we implicitly understood that such banter amounted to little more than whistling while walking past a cemetery. As crime and its more violent purveyors continue to encroach into the old neighborhood, taking solace that a murder was a hit is simply spraying whipped cream on dog shit.
The retaliation came one day later. Last night, three blocks to the other side of the house, another man was murdered in another non-random fashion. The local paper has stated that the murders were not related, but everybody around here knows better.
Saturday afternoon I jogged past the first house approximately 8 hours before the murder, and Sunday afternoon I jogged past the second house hours before the slaying. While I wasn’t exactly looking over my shoulder, I sure as hell didn’t feel like I felt when I grew up here—when I’d walk home alone from a football game or a friend’s house and not worry about getting jumped, or worse.
I’m too old for rose-colored glasses. Growing up with family members claiming both sides of the law, I knew that for every cop there was a robber, and I knew not to talk to strangers. My friends and I minded our own business and shit like this didn’t happen. It’s just sort of depressing to see what it’s all become.