Heading into this last week of 2008, from a personal perspective, I'd have to say we've had OUR share of "interesting" situations.
--Trees Fallen and limbs everywhere
--Power line yanking the weatherhead from the house
--Curb strip street lighting outage
--Visits from FWFD's Engine 11 AND 12
--A basement sewer clog and leak
--Wonderfully unintended bills to pay
You get the idea...
But we hunkered down, toughed through it, and now we just want to say good-bye to THIS year (so we can start the whole thing over again).
Begin with a CLEAN SLATE, as I like to say.
I also predicted (or was that wagered?) we'd hit 25 homicides this year in Ft. Wayne, and depending on who YOU believe, the number stands at (either) 24 or 26. I tend to favor the 24 myself.
This latest homicide killed a 17 year old (Jaquan Allen) nicknamed "Man-Man", and THAT moniker is SO familiar to people like me, it's not funny. If you're thinking drugs, gangs and guns, then you're pretty much on target with YOUR assessment of this troubled (and recently deceased) individual.
Now he's dead, newly departed, deceased, no longer among the living....and I say one LESS troublemaker on OUR streets, regardless of what age. Yeah, that sounds pretty callous, but when thugs (of ANY flavor) attempt to dislodge normal people from THEIR homes, and otherwise cause problems and bring their brand of violence into whatever neighborhood they're in, I say good riddance to bad rubbish, no matter HOW OLD they might be. They CHOSE that lifestyle, and they WILL reap the "benefits" of it as well.
Call it payback.
My take on the shootings is that there looms on the horizon, a power struggle for "control" of this city, and unfortunately, you have to weed out the dead wood to get the right players in place. Jaquan Allen was not the "right player", apparently. Gotta make room for the guys from Chicago...or Detroit, or wherever.
And our FWPD best be on alert for such activities, because these perps are here NOW, and they've had plenty of time to scope out the prospects and the territories to conquer.
Fort Wayne is ripe for the pickings, and the sheer GEOGRAPHY of this city makes it such.
Along those lines...
This Wednesday night will be another NEW YEAR'S EVE, and I don't know about YOUR neighborhood in YOUR city, but OURS will be replete with gunfire on a scale equal to, if not exceeding the area OUTSIDE the "GREEN ZONE" in Baghdad.
I've notified the FWPD for the last several years about the INCREASE of such activity, but I NEVER see ANY cars patrolling the area. So if you don't have cars IN the area, you can't really CATCH people shooting guns within the neighborhoods now, can you?
Of course, you can always say something like: "If we don't bother with that area, maybe they'll all just shoot each other, and make OUR job easier". Well, those ARE noble sentiments, as well as a nice piece of IDEALISTIC rhetoric, but it doesn't help whoever is just trying to keep from becoming a statistic, does it?
It's getting like that in OUR neighborhood, sad to say.
Sooner or later the house WILL be hit by stray fire, and then we'll have to call the police, who won't be able to do much, other than file a report. This is NOT CSI: MIAMI, people. We'd be lucky to FIND the perp, let alone bust his sorry gun-toting ass in a bloody HOUR...or a WEEK...or a YEAR!
I fully intend to alert the Quadrant Captain down here about which houses I believe will be involved with firing off their guns, as the "neighbors" change yearly (thanks to rentals and their occupants).
Then again, if you call dispatch and report it, they'll ask WHAT DIRECTION the gunfire is coming from, to which you reply EVERY direction - take your pick of compass points, Einstein (shades of the TET offensive and Khe Sahn).
Yeah, this area is NOT for those suffering from combat "flashbacks", that's for sure.
NO amount of "gun control" will stop this, either. We HAVE laws that disallow "recreational / celebratory" firearm discharges within the city, but you'd NEVER know it. Like the NOISE and FIREWORKS ordinance, it's relatively UN-enforceable.
But it IS only ONE DAY a year...sorta.
I'd intend to take an even firmer stance next year.
I've given these mooks a pass for years, now, it's MY turn, MY neighborhood...MY rules.
((Note to neighborhood:
You don't like it? YOU move.
I'll move when I'm damn good and ready...and NOT before.
All of you morons are on NOTICE as of 1 Jan 09, 0000.01 hours.
So be careful WHO you decide to f$ck with...it MIGHT be ME.))
Finally, as we bid farewell to THIS year, I have a few thoughts:
--I sure hope the J/G paper carrier decides to get his $hit in gear and start delivering the paper BEFORE 0700! He USED to always come by around 0645, but he's later and later now. You want MY business? You get on the stick, pronto!
-- To Serv-All, who cancelled their pickup due to weather (even though I DROVE in the same weather) on OUR pickup day, and chose to fore go ANY pickup in my area until the NEXT slated Thursday...NOT GOOD, people.
It becomes a HEALTH issue, just like it was with all the trash BAGS that were set out and torn asunder by critters and birds.
Already got a nastygram into Serv-All about this clusterf$ck.
--And to all the utility crews that suffered having GUNFIRE around them as they came from surrounding states to OUR city to reconnect power to OUR homes...thanks a million, guys. There ARE those of us that DID appreciate all that you sacrificed to come HERE during Christmas. I spoke with one crew from Kentucky that was working several blocks away from our place, and heard shots REAL close to them (the one man said it was a full mag being unloaded) after sunset on Friday evening, then witnessed two black teens running from the scene. The supervisor told the crew to get the hell OUT of the area.
THAT is ONE story you will NEVER see or hear about on ANY local newscast or paper!
But it WILL be told here (as it was on Mitch Harper's blog).
-I really don't plan to make any "resolutions", with the possible exception of resolving to NOT make a resolution...LOL.
Nor do I plan to wax philosophical about my "expectations" for the new year.
There are simply WAY too many variables and new faces in the crowd to effectively do that now.
I'll just stick to my "quick resolve" and brilliantly-conceived cynicism to get me through.
It'll be more of a "wait and see" (and THEN say I told you so) attitude...
And I think that in today's world, that's about AS optimistic as one can hope to be.