Today was the first sunny day we have had in ages. Indiana and I took advantage of it by breaking out the stroller and heading for town. We live in such an ideal spot. We are two blocks form the liquor store, three blocks from the best department store in town (Fred Meyer), four blocks from the local mall, and five blocks from our favorite grocery! Indiana and I wandered the neighborhood. We shopped a little, we walked a lot, we shared a burger. Neighbors along our regular route were out in their yards, several saying their "hellos" as we passed; a few stopping us to admire Indiana and gossip a bit about the weather. We arrived home at about two this afternoon.
At three o clock this afternoon, in broad daylight, in our small little community, in my peaceful neighborhood, a man armed with a gun accosted the clerk at the liquor store and ran from the building with the cash, out into our neighborhood. The police asked residents to stay in their homes and apartments as the officers searched our neighborhood with dogs and shot guns. I admit it is frightening to see an officer walking past your front door with a shot gun in hand. My angel and I were out just an hour earlier wandering those same streets.
We have always felt so safe in our small town. I know nothing is "fair", but it really is so UNFAIR that one bastard like this can ruin the safety and security of a neighborhood. One of my neighbors is a young girl who lives alone. Because we are unsure of whether or not that man is still on the loose in our area, the little neighbor girl is staying at her mother's home tonight, afraid to stay alone in her own home. Other neighbors in the building have come to me and expressed concern (I am some kind of local community leader, helping form our neighborhood watch, planning community gatherings, forming our block party for national night out, etc, so it is fairly normal for my neighbors to come to me with issues). We are all being especially mindful of odd noises this evening. We have made sure we all have phone numbers of our neighbors, and are all ready to dial 911 if something feels wrong. When I contacted the police department this evening, I was told that they could not release information to me.
I just wanted to know if it was safe to sleep in our beds tonight. I wanted to know if it was safe to sit in the breeze-way and gossip with the "girls". I wanted to know if Indiana was safe in his crib. I wanted to know if my neighborhood will ever feel safe again, to those of us who call this place home.