There was a gang shooting in my neighborhood today. (Or at least, according to a neighbor that's what it was. This isn't confirmed by an official source.) Just after noon, I walked out of my building to my car, which was parked a few blocks away. Lots of people were out in the neighborhood on this warm Sunday. People walked by with dogs on leashes. A house had a castle-shaped moon bounce set up on the lawn, and a series of tiny girls in pink princess costumes glided out of the house toward it.
At the corner of Gramercy Place and Third Street, people stood looking at a block that had been cordoned off with yellow crime tape and blockaded by at least six police cars. I stared too, but then almost just got into my car, because I had to be somewhere. Then I got curious and asked a woman still wearing gardening gloves if she knew what had happened. She said it was a gang shooting, and then proceeded to detail where in their building the gang members had lived, how she had told the woman who lived above the gang members with her small children that it wasn't safe, how people should go to school and become "professional people" instead of gang members. We shared amazement at this all happening in broad daylight on a Sunday at noon, and she noted that it was particularly dangerous because the building where the shooting occurred is next to a church whose service was just getting out. Sure enough, people began to emerge from the church, blinking in the bright sun, and blinking again when they saw all the police cars.
I drove off to meet up with my friends. "There was a gang shooting in my neighborhood," I mentioned.
"Was it targeted or random?"
"Eh. I live near Santa Monica City College; it happens all the time in my neighborhood, too."
It didn't really faze me that much, either. Helicopters circle overhead all the time in this neighborhood. And I grew up in a middle-class neighborhood in west Houston that had spurts of gang violence, too. I do worry a bit, but generally consider the worry a normal part of urban living. I almost debated whether to bother posting about the event at all. Then for a moment I wondered whether I was too jaded, or too over-confident. Finally I thought, yes, having someone get shot where you live is noteworthy. But it's also worth noting that there were plenty of other people from a variety of backgrounds out on the same streets throwing birthday parties, holding garage sales, and cultivating their gardens.