Last night I was awakened by a burst of gunfire outside my bedroom window at midnight; it was quickly followed by a second and then the sound of a car driving off. My wife rolled over and touched my arm -- "Was that gunfire?"
It's like the sound of a car crash. Once you've really heard it you can't mistake it for much else. I've heard gunfire in my life, once had the chance to spend an afternoon at a gun range. And this would make the third time I've heard someone shot to death.
Karen calls nine-one-one; the line is busy. She tries again. "Is this about the shooting on Derby?" She wasn't the first to phone it in. People in our neighborhood have gotten a lot more interested in calling the cops about this kind of thing since the last murder on our block.
We had emergency vehicles there within minutes. I stayed in bed; if I had nothing to contribute I didn't want to get in the way. Karen went to find out what was going on; she lives here and she needs to know. We've got different ideas as to what constitutes our business -- in this case I think both positions were legitimate.
The details she returned with? There's a body on the street in front of the house next door. There's a bullet hole in the front window of that house; the glass was double-glazed and the shot failed to penetrate the second pane. That surprised me.
Well, it turns out that there were three bullet holes in that house and the young man on the street was not the only one killed in the incident. It had been an exchange of gunfire and the driver of the car died just a while after he'd left the scene. Word is that there was a dice-related dispute but at this point all I've got is gossip.
When this first happened my immediate sympathies were with the victim and his friends and family; now I have little but contempt for both parties. If you get in a gunfight and shoot up a house with kids in it and then die? Very little sympathy -- and if a bullet had gone through our porch window it likely would have hit me while I slept.
Another bit of gossip -- that the Channel Two news is going to give our neighborhood a new nickname.