Thursday, August 13, 2009

When it's Your Neighborhood

I was just reading details about the 72-year-old shopkeeper in Harlem who killed two robbers while defending his shop. 

I'm shocked by how violent this whole situation is, even for New York City, even for Harlem—which you know if you've lived in New York, can be pretty good or can be pretty bad, depending on which block you're on. And I never knew Harlem well enough to know how this particular block is. 

But even if it were a rough neighborhood, for four men to enter a shop in the middle of the afternoon, announce their intent to rob the place, and pistol whip one employee, and then for that to be followed by the elderly shop owner opening fire with a shotgun on all four robbers, killing two and injuring the others. Man! That's graphic. 

I feel bad for the neighborhood. Something like that would be tough to shake off. It would be difficult to go back to the illusion of safety and invincibility—something we all need to some extent to go through everyday life. 

Once, when I lived in Seattle, there was a fatal police shooting on my street. Just that left me feeling like an exposed nerve for a couple of weeks. I don't know how you would reclaim your sense of home and community after having this down the street. 

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