*Warning: Although this post is not intended to be political in nature, it does mention my political stance on some very hot-button issues. I don’t typically share my stance with the world because I don’t have any desire to turn my blog into a political war-room. However, when I started this blog, it was intended as a spot for the thoughts, feelings and experiences that I had on my journey through parenthood and living frugally. This is one of those experiences. I do not expect anyone else to feel the same way.*
When Faced with a Life or Death Situation, Who Will Protect Me & My Family?
Like the majority of mothers, I live with constant worry. Did my kids get enough to eat? Did I tell my kids I loved them? Am I teaching them enough life skills to become responsible adults? What if something happens to them? Is our household safe? The list of worrisome questions that cross my mind from day to day don’t end there. I admit, I try not to dwell on all of these issues, as I know that my children have full bellies and are well adjusted. However, the safety issue is one that I do tend to dwell on quite regularly. As you read through this post, you’ll understand why.
Like most cities in the U.S., and I would venture to say nearly anywhere else, most of the violence occurs on the weekends. Friday and Saturday nights tend to be extremely busy for police officers, firefighters, EMTs and emergency room staff. That complicates situations for citizens that need the services of first responders…greatly. Although a dispute may not result in a life or death situation, it can very well become that serious…and quicker than one might consider. Although a robber may not intend for a person to be home when they break into a house, many are armed just in case. And although breaking up a dispute may not seem like a violent act, it can become one very quickly.
This is Not Political, It’s Personal
As anyone that follows this blog knows, I try to reserve my political beliefs for those who choose to initiate discussions on politics with me. That’s a choice that I don’t just reserve for this site, but for my personal life as well. Political views can quickly drive a wedge between you and the people you love, so I choose to be silent until an issue is presented. In the event I’m asked my opinion, I try to state it and move on. Sometimes I’m met with disagreement and other times I am not. I’m level-headed. I roll with the punches and do my best to keep any negative thoughts to myself.
What I cannot be silent about is having a my family threatened by people acting as if they are no more than common street thugs.
A Neighborhood in Decline
Our neighborhood was a nice, quiet place with the majority of our neighbors being quite friendly and helpful to each other. Some of us still are. Unfortunately, over the past few years, our neighborhood has changed. A few of our elderly neighbors have passed on and several families have moved away. The economy has taken its toll on many families as well. This has resulted in many new neighbors, some good and some not so good. Several homes have turned into rental properties, so new neighbors come and go.
Our policy whenever we were preparing for a large get-together at our home was to inform (and many times even invite) our neighbors so that they had plenty of advance notice and so that they could let us know if there was some special request that they had, such as to instruct our guests not to park in a certain area, keep the music or voices down after a certain time, etc. We have never had an issue abiding by our neighbors preferences because we respect them and want them to respect us. However, many of our newer neighbors are not at all respectful.
Friday and Saturday nights have become party time for the younger (and even some older) adults that have moved into our neighborhood. Last Saturday night, we heard quite a bit of activity. Car doors were slamming every few minutes and people were talking very loudly well into the early morning hours. Sunday I went outside to find a plethora of trash and a large number of empty cans and bottles of alcohol — some wrapped in paper bags, others just discarded openly — in my front yard. Apparently, the neighbor across the street and 4 doors down decided to have a bonfire. Her guests evidently felt my home was the best place to park (as I live on the corner and their vehicles were parked on the side and in front of my home – I saw them) and my yard was the best place to toss their trash. I gathered the majority of it up, took it to her home and let it be known that I do not mind people parking around my home, but I didn’t appreciate her guests being loud in the middle of the night and discarding their trash in my yard. Then I set the trash down in their yard and went home. No violence. Point made.
Last night was yet another fabulous Saturday. We were all winding down after watching World War Z when we heard a commotion outside. Evidently our house is popular for parking and gathering in front of, despite all of my neighbors being very aware of my unhappiness regarding last week’s party. Well, this time it wasn’t trash. Instead, there was a dark red crossover vehicle (looked like a Ford or Chrysler) parked in front of our house with 4-5 black males in and around it. Then there was a girl in the street talking to them. She looked like she could have been anywhere from 16 – 22 years of age and she was picking up large rocks. I didn’t see her throw any of them, but I did see her carrying them. She had one in her hand when my spouse watched one of the males come running up behind her and full-force SLAM her, face first, into the street.
My spouse threw our door open at that point and yelled at them to break it up, telling the male that he had no business treating anyone like that. Then I heard the males outside start arguing with him. Through all of the commotion, I heard him yell for me to call the police. I complied by dialing 9-1-1 and was quickly connected and my report taken. All the while, I was trying to comprehend what was going on outside my home. As I hung up the phone, I heard two of the males yell, “Yeah, you’ll see what we do to snitches,” and “You know what happens to snitches?” We’re well aware of what those threats were insinuating. If you’re not, consider what it rhymes with…stitches. It’s a clear threat of bodily harm. The problem is that there are many people that will kill a person for bringing police into a matter.
So now, instead of protecting someone else, the tables have turned and we’re feeling the need to protect ourselves. Hopefully the police will get here before things get worse. That’s all I kept thinking as the minutes passed. If they would threaten us for defending this girl and calling the police, then what exactly might we have to deal with?
The Police Never Came
My call to 9-1-1 was placed at approximately 12:03 am, CST. After enduring several minutes of threats from the perpetrators, I started wondering if the police would ever arrive. Approximately one hour later (1:03 am), I called again; this time directly dialing our police department and speaking with the dispatch officer. I was informed by the officer that they were busy and that there were two calls ahead of ours. This was after an hour of waiting. I expressed my concern, mentioning that we had been threatened and she said someone would be there as soon as they could.
By 2:05 am, my significant other called the police himself and they said that they had taken care of the problem. Funny, since he was sitting on our front porch the entire 2 hour period and didn’t see a single police car. Instead of being able to drift off to a peaceful sleep, we tossed and turned all night, barely getting any sleep at all. We had no idea if we would be targeted in a drive-by shooting, if we would awake to find someone standing over us with a gun – or worse, if we would wake up at all. Yes, the threats could have all been just a bunch of hot air, but what if they weren’t? What if these men actually make good on their threats? What if me, my significant other and our children’s lives are genuinely in danger? Who is going to protect us? Because at the flip of a switch, that’s exactly what could have happened last night and the police didn’t deem that worthy enough to answer our calls.
What’s the Solution?
Is my family supposed to live in fear? Are we supposed to cower down and remain silent when we see another person being victimized or when we’re being victimized ourselves?
No, we will not.
Throughout my lifetime, I have put myself in some very precarious situations in order to protect people that I cared about, and many that I didn’t even know. I certainly will not waver in the protection of my family; the people I love more than life itself.
THIS is why I never want to lose my right to keep and bear arms. THIS is why I will NEVER support a law that infringes upon my right to protect myself and my family. THIS is why I WILL have a gun in my home and I WILL learn how to not only use it, but use it well. I will NOT cower down. I will NOT live in fear. Instead, I WILL rise to the occasion and act as necessary according to MY RIGHTS as a citizen of the United States of America.
I want to note that I do not fault anyone for their own personal beliefs. If you don’t believe that owning a gun is the answer for you and your family, I respect your thoughts and feelings. Please respect mine.