Journaling on Sunday night in late January 2017

I’m all over the board lately. One hour looking into black criminality, the next sitting with cases of Muslim rapists attacking American and European women, the next listening to politicians here and abroad debate on topics of national interests, the next trying to make more sense out of what the fuck the American Left is up to. And on and on and on it goes. For weeks and months on end. Never stops. And I never stop in my attempt to witness what all is going on out here in the world.

Years can go by… They have before and it looks like they will again. My friends like to say I’m like a dog with a bone, I just won’t let go. Don’t know how to. Violent criminality fucks with my sensibilities. Can’t tolerate it or ignore its occurrence. And I understand that the media plays up on that psychological drive within so many of us to pay close attention to news of danger and mayhem. Hence why I don’t subscribe to cable television in my home and haven’t in years. If I’m going down into the abyss it will be according to my choosing and in relation to topics that particularly distress me.

As one American woman out here I must say that I pray this shit doesn’t go off the hook too far beyond what it has already. Some of you are strong, solid men who don’t fear other men, and good for you. I don’t personally comprehend that feeling as a 5’2″ female who lives alone and goes about my life at odd hours, dwelling in an apartment complex increasingly populated with African and Hispanic immigrants who barely speak English. All have been friendly and decent toward me thus far. Only ever had problems here with one black man who used to live across the hall who once tried to barge into my apartment while evidently high on something. Got the door pushed closed and locked it and called my landlord, leading to that man being evicted shortly thereafter. But that man had caused other problems in the building beyond that. Still have to deal with hooligans leaving used condoms in the hallway and parking lot occasionally, but at least they ceased hanging women’s panties on people’s Dish Network satellites. We’re kinda like a tiny ghetto-ish enclave within a reasonably nice residential area. People sometimes tell me to move but I like cheap rent. Always have and always will. Plus, my landlord has been fair and decent with me and only gone up on the rent $50/mo. over the last 8 years.

But I do keep various sorts of items to use as weapons around the place, plus in my car. You learn to be vigilant and to pay attention to your surroundings when you live as I do. You learn about body language and what it signals and how to not come across as an easy mark. But this place truly isn’t so bad, at least not yet. Better than it used to be, so I give my landlord credit for ridding the worst elements from this place. But we do cater to Section 8 and apparently are welcoming to immigrants. But, again, thus far most of our immigrants from various nations have conducted themselves all right. Had a few break-ins in the apartment beneath mine and actually caught one Hispanic guy kicking their window in one time — told the police that when they arrived later, but what could I say? Dark evening hours, brown guy, nothing really distinguishing about him. Hollered at him out my window, but he didn’t care. Usually I just come home to seeing one of their windows boarded up yet again. People love kicking in the windows of that particular apartment for some reason. Hence why it has an especially high turnover rate for renters, though many units in this complex do. Only a small handful of us choose to stick around here for more than a year.

When it comes to my job though, I’m all over the place, traveling from residence to residence throughout the day. Many of them live in upscale areas, but still. I don’t trust suburban kids either. Learned about them already in the past, having lived in a suburb for a little while as a young teen. I don’t trust ’em either. In fact, I’m almost more nervous of them than others precisely because they can be so spoiled and lack empathy and think everything’s about their own entertainment. So I watch myself wherever I go, aiming not to lapse into a false sense of security just because I’m visiting wealthier parts of the metro.

Mostly I worry about my friends. My guyfriends especially. One is so helpful toward strangers that I worry about him getting taken advantage of or robbed, though he likes to dismiss my concerns. (His house was actually robbed several years back.)  He’s strong, but it’s a matter of whether he sees it coming at the time. Another close guyfriend has a good many health issues and can’t take a punch in the face as a result. Would fuck up his world to do him like that. And he’d probably be even more of a target due to being kinda shy and sweet and appearing to have nice things and basically assuming the good in people. I’ve grown paranoid about their safety in recent years. Truly have. Not sure why. Probably because I submerge myself in crime-related information on a nearly daily basis and, in one shape or form, have done so forever. Mostly because I worry about this area changing someday, though it’s still pretty safe as of right now. Still, I worry.

A local development website I looked into recently predicted a 5.1% increase in population in this metro by 2020. I’m wondering where they’re going to come from. Hopefully not Chicago. Please, dear lord, don’t let rough elements move here from Chicago! We don’t need that. Too many people around here are soft, unexpecting, trusting — at least from what I can tell. The ones out in the gated community might not have much reason to worry, but it’s a bit unnerving how so many of the rest are kinda oblivious to crime, as though it won’t happen to them, lulled into a sense of security thanks to this area being so crime-free (or at least not crimes typically horribly violent in nature).

Then a couple cops were killed here locally a few months back. By a middle-aged white man who was known to be a hot-head. Ambushed them in their cars. In my neighborhood. One right down the street from me. One of the police officers was relatively new to the force; the other had been serving a while and has a family and kids and was very well-liked, so people say. Very sad situation. The man who murdered them reportedly got mad at a high school sports game when his rebel flag was snatched by fellow attendees. Doesn’t make sense, I know. Nobody comprehends this. But he had a youtube video up about it where right afterward he was talking to police and fussing about his property being stolen. Then about a week or so later, he killed two cops unrelated to his former incident. There was some mention of him being pissed off at Black Lives Matter, but that may just be a rumor. His crime didn’t make any sense even if that was the motive. He killed two white male cops he didn’t even know. In two separate jurisdictions. Lived with his mother and had a teenage daughter. Only videos he had up on youtube were of her recitals and playing with his pup before that altercation video where he was arguing with the cops (and the cops were being very reasonable with him in response, not antagonistic. Our cops around here are usually pretty nice and helpful.)

He killed them for whatever reason. And he had just written in a week prior a letter to the local police department commending them for being heroes who serve our community. None of it made any sense in the end. He’s alive and in jail currently, but we still don’t comprehend why this all happened. Doubt the dude even knows. I wonder if he’s on any drugs, prescribed or otherwise. We have no choice but to accept that this occurred, wrong as it was. I’d love to learn more about the criminal if information becomes available, but he basically appears to be not too bright and highly emotionally reactive. Hence probably why he never proved successful in anything, according to those who knew him.

Ever since, though, this town has bathed itself in blue ribbons. Little by little, they keep creeping up, strung around tree trunks and light poles, tied to antennas and shrubbery. Blue lights on the occasional front porch. Blue tape strips across back car windshields. More and more of it is materializing, which is what’s really interesting to me. Initially when the cops died there were memorials placed on the street corners where they were each ambushed. Lots of balloons and signs showing support and leaving spiritual sentiments — I’d see one of those displays everyday on the way to work. Then, little by little, the ribbons and tape and lights began emerging across the whole city. Slowly. Plus the occasional yard sign expressing support for the local PD. By now I notice the blue all the time as I’m out walking and driving each day. And honestly, I’m grateful for it. It’s actually a comfort to see that much outpouring of support not only to the officers whose lives were taken but also to our police departments in general. Even folks who aren’t cop-lovers around here at least seem to show them respect and reasonable deference most of the time. And it works. Our cops here are the best I’ve ever known in terms of temperament and helpfulness, from what I’ve gathered about them over the last 11 years.

We’re lucky. And I guess that’s what reading these horrible crime stories from all around the country, and having lived in Mississippi half my early life, has me nervous about. How we might not remain lucky for much longer. How we’re surrounded on all sides by other states’ major metros with a lot bigger crime problems than us. And we don’t want any of that. We’re reasonably good, let us remain good. And yet I understand that sadly life doesn’t like to roll like that. Shit rolls downhill. People here are maybe too nice for their own good. Too polite and trusting. I’ve witnessed it in my own ways and have remained perpetually surprised by it. Like, I lock my own doors no matter what. All the time. Obsessively. Car doors, home door — locked. And I believe in owning a gun that is always loaded and ready to go. Do they? Because I already know too many of them leave doors and windows unlocked, and I aim to rectify it when I see it. We’re getting too lax. Life’s too comfortable around here. We’re getting complacent. Hell, I am and I’m not even a native!

They probably consider me a little paranoid. I’d argue it’s for good reason. But whatever. In 3 years time we might experience an influx of what? Approximately 16,000 newcomers, at minimum? Transplants like myself who may or may not choose to assimilate. And I get it, assimilation isn’t easy. Hell, I still feel like an outsider in this town. But ah well. They’re pretty good about leaving you alone, so I deal with it. But I didn’t come here with a family and a community and a totally different culture from another nation. Wound up coming here alone as a cantankerous “vagabond” seeking greater economic opportunity, and I am content with what I’ve found for the most part, despite some of the locals ticking me off (a topic for another time). Finally starting to feel like this is my adopted home, like it’s worth standing up for and protecting. Can’t complain too much since it’s largely been good to me. Beats the hell out of conditions in that small-ass town in Mississippi where I originally sprang from.

Don’t want to see these people become sitting ducks who don’t see shit coming. And I’ve got a feeling that serious problems are on the horizon. Don’t believe any place will ultimately prove immune to facing it. Coming from various directions. Not too cool with shipping a bunch of Syrians here or to other U.S. cities. Already mentioned that it’d be best if aggressive Chicagoans stay where they are. Don’t want none. Just pondering what the future may hold in store…  Who really knows?

As a Southerner, there is a part of me that feels a bit queer about bonding with and sticking up for a Midwestern city, but perhaps that’s just evidence that I’m finally maturing.  Ha!

Seriously though, I’ve witnessed New Orleans crime and been involved in a car accident because a black woman intentionally slammed into us. She was mistaken since my friend’s mom didn’t have barely shit for insurance, but either way, she made a go for it. And I witnessed how all but one of the black people in the local businesses poured out to immediately side with her (one old man came to us — the only one out of a crowd of maybe 50 to even check on our condition), despite her getting out of her car and marching around ranting before getting back in her car and having the paramedics help her out when they arrived, complaining about her neck and back. The three of us sat there on the curb as teenagers, my friend’s mom’s car having been totaled, and just witnessed this. My boyfriend-at-the-time had the car door crash in on his hip (luckily he was not seriously injured). I didn’t have a seatbelt on (yes, bad 15-year-old me) and was just cut on my face by the glass shattering. Our driver was physically okay but shaken up. Either that black woman drives worse than the absolute worst Asian driver imaginable, or she was aiming to scam somebody. Appearances at the scene of the accident point to the latter conclusion.

Also listened to cops in my hometown in Mississippi describe having to give chase during what starts out as routine traffic stops, usually involving black men, who then take off through the treacherous woods and make you run after them. There’s barbwire all over the woods down there, just so you know. Private property and all. But it’s not uncommon, according to that lieutenant who springs to mind, that they made him chase them. Just wouldn’t take a ticket or face a warrant without a fight. He seemed to hate his job. I don’t forget that man or his stories from during the short time we interacted.

Or the asshole cops in that section of Omaha who didn’t give a damn about response time and wouldn’t respond at all for vehicle destruction by thieving thugs. Deferred people to an automated system where you could just tell them about how your windows are broken and your dash was ripped out and the hoodlums in question are known to neighbors. No follow-up ever occurred. Twenty minutes response time when non-fatal violent crime is occurring but then don’t want to take down witness statements, acting like they already assume relevant charges would be dropped by the party/ies involved (and they usually were).  Despite driving by 13 times in about an hour (we sat outside and counted them once, out of curiosity, entertaining ourselves). That was back when I was 21-23. Met a pregnant hoodrat there, which I told about elsewhere on this blog. And she wound up being one of the final straws that led me to move away. I still recall discarded needles tossed into our yard and empty beer bottles left in the back of my truck. Was a rude place to live. Made a couple friends and remain in contact with one from there, but otherwise I chalk that time up to a sociological experiment and highly recommend all other social science majors (and their intellectual ilk) to live somewhere like that for at least a full year, while also ACTIVELY and REGULARLY engaging with your neighbors. And LISTEN to them. Interact and observe. It’s an eye-opening, educational opportunity to learn more about long-time welfare recipients and EBT cards (and how those funds can be spent and used to obtain groceries for others in exchange for non-EBT-qualifying goods and services), and criminal activity and how snitching is frowned upon. It’s an opportunity to observe scrappiness/fighting capabilities even among the short and slim and to learn to gauge how drug users lie (as if they can’t even help themselves). Forces one to reckon with the notion of dignity, that much is certain.

That and my hometown are whole other worlds from where I live now. And I’d like to not see this area turned to shit like so many other big American cities. I worry that our relatively strong local economy and nods from Forbes magazine for being a great place to raise kids will also have the unfortunate effect of luring in elements looking for social welfare assistance and to take advantage—in the worst way—of what we have going on here. Makes me a bit nervous. Can’t pretend otherwise. Most of the black folks here currently are decent people, work hard and are friendly. Chat with plenty of them at my local watering hole and typically enjoy their company. Then back on Christmas I ran into a couple homeboys originally from northern Mississippi who now live up this way.  Always give my fellow Southerners a chance and take up for them a little, but these dudes I don’t know about. Can’t say that I could trust them. One spoke about Islam when I pried, and the other was sketchier in the thug sense. Not pretend thuggery like suburbanites like to try to pull, but actual thug jackassery. So I took off and called it a day. Too potentially emotionally reactive. Too likely to do something stupid and create an unnecessary situation. And it’s sad to me to feel that way about folks from my own home state. But it’s true.

And the Muslim Bosnians…  Hmmm…  Another time.

Anyway, journaled enough on here for one evening.

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