27 August 2006

An Army of.....(only) One?

It's far from easy these days to defend what is YOURS, whether it be YOUR property, YOUR integrity, or even YOUR rights. With our lawsuit-happy-go-lucky mentality which pervades this nation in general, it becomes clear that most any deck you find yourself shuffling will most certainly be (pre) stacked against you. Case in point...my current residential status in the city of Fort Wayne (ahh...you KNEW I was going there, didn't you?) which will invariably be subject to change sometime in the future. I've lived in this city of 223,000+ for the past NINE (excruciatingly LONG) years, and all during that time, I have maintained what many could call a "low profile".
MY nature has always been to:
1) live your life, and not merely "exist"
2) live by EXAMPLE
3) bother no one until bothered BY someone
4) turn a few cheeks now and then
5) defend yourself when needed, be it for your life, your nation, or your honor.
6) and speak up for that which NEEDS speaking up for.
Simple stuff really, right?

It might be considered a bit Victorian, but yet it DOES make for a sound sleep most nights, thanks to a clear conscience. Gee...maybe THAT'S why I have no criminal record..... Keeping your nose clean...whatta concept, eh? However, within those NINE years, people, total strangers in fact, have sought to thrust themselves upon MY life to no small end. And I didn't even ASK them to. These purveyors of mayhem have actively chosen to inflict THEIR lifestyles on me and my family, in spite of my repeated attempts to dissuade them. And forget about ignoring them...they won't allow that. You know the people....everything from the loud boomcars that shake you from your sleep at 4 AM on a Wednesday morning. Or maybe it's the guy down the block whose daily late-night beerfests can be heard the length of the block. Perhaps it's the barking dogs, the honking cars (they do STILL make doorbells...I've seen them at Menards), gunfire (never knew we had OUTDOOR pistol ranges in THIS part of town), unsupervised kids ruining your flower beds, or the frequent drunk that meanders up the street at 8 AM, already 3 sheets in the wind.

Now I must NOT be the ONLY person that not only notices these aberrations. I just can't be. And I surely can't be the ONLY person that thinks that THIS sort of behavior is not only typical, but OK with everyone else. But given the fact that no one else seems to want to DO anything about it says a lot about not only the state of our city and society, but also speaks to our degree of involvement to reverse this trend. Whenever I have sent a letter to the editor noting such things in our neighborhood, NOBODY responded either in kind, or in contrast. Whenever I have had an article in print ABOUT our neighborhood, NOBODY either defended my assessment OR decried it. In essence...NOBODY gave a rat's ass. Not ONE person came forward and said ANYTHING...AT ALL. And that seems to be the REAL problem with the South side of Fort Wayne. Where I seem to have drawn "a line in the sand", everyone else seemed to line up and place their head IN the sand BEHIND that line.

For example, when you submit information to the police department, and all that comes from it is MAYBE one arrest after several YEARS, you've got to wonder to yourself what the f$ck is going on here. When you send lengthy letters to the MAYOR, and all that comes of it is a nice reply condoning and praising your passion for making your area better, and NOT ONE THING else gets done, you just have to wonder. When the ONLY positive response you get is from either CODE ENFORCEMENT or SOLID WASTE, that makes you wonder. But at least THOSE 2 departments are doing something, right? Such cannot be said for all the others, with the possible exception of ANIMAL CONTROL.

You do find out that the police are "complaint-driven". OK...big f$cking deal...so is NCE and Solid Waste and Animal Control, but at least THOSE departments are making PROGRESS!I used to be a very staunch supporter of the FWPD (coming from a police family in Philly), but over the years, I am getting more and more reticent about their intentions overall. Sure they make some busts, and keep the city "safe", relatively speaking. But when there seems to be absolutely NO "proactivity" in keeping smaller crimes from developing into larger, more heinous crimes...well, it makes you wonder even MORE. It's small wonder that so many people have a preconceived notion about the police here...hell, the police seem to foster that notion to no small degree, and I find that alarmingly disquieting.And to "corral" all the undesireables into MY part of town and THEN tell me the city wants to "revitalize" this area...yeah, right....I don't wanna buy THAT bridge in Manhattan THAT bad. Who's bullshitting WHO now? And why even bother to revitalize...it's only going to be a "nicer" ghetto for a few years anyway before it devolves back INTO that same ghetto. I have your answer to "revitalization"...but no one will allow me the courtesy of applying MY 12 gauge solution to the problem.

Suffice it to say that I've gone from a "platoon-sized" group in our area, to a "lone wolf", thanks to all those that have moved away to seek greener pastures, less stress, (and some quality sleep). There is always "safety in numbers", yet today, that safety is all but gone.There are no more "numbers" to speak of. And I suppose I can thank the city for all of it's "Non-Intervention" policies. In a block of ONLY 10 stand-alone houses, I am the ONLY homeowner left (aside from one retired guy who is rarely home) that is trying to hold the high ground (well, the house does sit up on a slight hill). My wife and I are the ONLY ones left on the block that have ANY idea of what it's like to own a house, take care of it, and bother no one. I have sign in my garage that says: "The Ghetto Stops Here". Noble sentiemnts indeed, but I fear that nothing will halt this ever-rising tide of disrespect and human vermin from COMPLETELY washing over and inundating this once nice area. It is a fight against a subculture that is rendering asunder the fabric of our society. And I seem to be the ONLY one (still here) that sees this. That's simply AMAZING!

So often we all but ignore the "last man standing"...the anachronistic individual, the "Mr. Everyman" that attempts to do what is right by holding his ground, instead of bugging out. Yet there does come a time when all that person does goes for naught, simply because of the sheer numbers of antagonists he might encounter. And since any form of today's justice favors the greater number (in many cases unjustly), our staunch defender becomes lost and devalued by that system.What HE does doesn't matter. Who HE is becomes inconsequential.

The right to have a home, raise a family, enjoy a walk or a bike ride, and even sit in one's living room talking or watching some TV are ALL in dire jeopardy on the South side of this city. When that lone wolf is all that is left of a neighborhood that once included caring parents, working-class folks who DID work, and people that took pride in their houses and property, we have to stop and ask ourselves WHEN will it end...and WHERE will it end? Who can we turn to when no one is there? What can we do when there is nothing LEFT to do anything with? Where can we go when there is no place left to go to?

That pretty much sums up my current residential status in my neighborhood.
Never thought I would wind up being that "Lone Wolf".

Maybe that's why I enjoy the full moon so much...

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