Yesterday, I went to a local park with Jordan, as I have done quite often over the past four weeks. It was a beautiful day, although I felt a little sad as I had spent some time earlier watching TV coverage of the procession of the three slain Pittsburgh police officers through the streets of the city.

Probably an hour into our time there, I saw a police car drive up. At first, I wondered if it was because I had emailed the mayor just the day before, asking, among other things, if police patrolled the park. On several visits to the park, I had noticed people young and old alike sitting in cars for long periods of time. I am not entirely sure what any of them were doing; I just know each time, it left me unsettled.

When a second police car pulled up, and an officer got out with a police dog and started walking down the hill, I figured this was more than just a patrol. I waited until two young adults finished talking to one of the officers, and I asked them what was going on. Apparently, some youth help up their friend at gunpoint and took his wallet and cell phone. This incident happened at the restroom building, which was about 200 feet from where we were. This armed robbery (is that what it is?) happened while we were there! These two young adults asked me if I had noticed some black kids running down the hill about 30 minutes earlier. I said I had noticed small groups of people running up and down the hill, but thought nothing of it as there is a skate park above this park.

I felt at once sick and scared, and I continued to watch Jordan run around and play with some other kids, completely oblivious to what was going on. The officers remained for another 30 to 45 minutes, interviewing the people, and then the officer with the dog returned. I debated if we should stay, but felt, stupidly so, there was safety in numbers.

Will I go back to this park? Probably. I don't know. I really like this park, it is close to our house, and I hate to hide in my house out of fear. But could Jordan and I be the next people to be held at gunpoint?

I wonder what happens to people to make them turn to a life of crime. I believe nurture plays a far greater role than nature (though some people will never be "right" regardless of how they are raised). Are these kids poor and did they "need" the money? Did they do it for the thrill? Are their parent(s) never around? Were they picked on at school? Was their schooling sub-par? Was this their first time or their 20th?

I have no idea, but it scares me, this world we live in.


Mel said…
well, that is certainly sobering. not the kind of activity you want around you while you visit the park with your little child. unreal. and not to be a further downer--but don't you attend the church where a person was hit by a car and killed? I guess it boils down to this: you just never know--when you'll be the next robbed, or the next killed, or the next anything. OR the next lottery winner! I suppose there are two ways of looking at this random place we inhabit.
Facie :-) said…
Yep, that was my church (hence my latest post).

I like your way of thinking about the lottery, even if we are far more likely to be struck by lightning.

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