Near Harm’s Way

Today I want to talk about something that isn’t going to be fun but is prevalent in the city where I live, violence. According to World Atlas, Memphis ranks number two in the country just behind Detroit as the most dangerous city in the United States in terms of violent crimes committed. While I love living here it is an undeniable fact that violence is a problem in a city where 168 homicides have been committed this year already surpassing last years total with a quarter of the year left. It is a sad fact of life that these things are going and while I’d fallen into a state of comfort nearing the end of my third month living here, yesterday I was reminded of the reality of life in Memphis.

Yesterday I wrote about eating breakfast at The Blue Plate Cafe but what I didn’t talk about was what was going on just right across the street while we were dining, primarily because while we ate we had no idea what was happening on the other side of Poplar. While we complained about the saltiness of the potatoes and how the sausage was undercooked several people wearing clown masks and threatened to detonate their explosives they had with them if they didn’t get the money they wanted. Luckily, they got what they wanted and fled the scene without having to hurt anyone. It is also lucky that I didn’t know what was going on at the time because if I knew someone was threatening to use an explosive just right across the street from me the Blue Plate Cafe would have a brown booth where I’d been sitting. I’m terribly afraid of a lot of things and probably near the top of the list behind balloons popping would be angry, irrational men with guns or explosives.

The second near-danger experience came when we arrived home last night. As we got out of our car we saw our neighbor approaching us and telling us to make sure we keep our doors locked because just moments before someone had tried to kick in her apartment door. The force of the kick was so hard that it rattled her bathroom door down the hall but luckily for her the door remained bolted shut. It is worrisome to think that you might get robbed at some point but it is downright scary to know that someone might kick in your door and enter your home while you and your loved ones are in the house. What really made me sick was the reality that there were obvious signs that people were in the home and this criminal decided to enter any way at the very least suggesting he was prepared to deal with an encounter with the homeowners which would almost definitely involve violence or threats of some kind. The man fled after his failed attempt and the police were called but I never saw them show up. My wife and I weren’t taking any chances and with skills only matched by Macauley Culkin my wife rigged together a contraption to reinforce our front door in case the kicky monster returned.

My wife and I are both okay, not that we were ever really in a dangerous situation but we were pretty close to two yesterday. What is really odd to me is that for almost three months everything has been perfectly safe and then twice in the same day we are next to harm’s way. Another weird thing is that when I got to work this morning my co-worker told me about her husband who is a minister getting robbed in his car yesterday. They had been living in the area for eight years and this is the first time anything like that has ever happened to them. Although September 28 is the birthday of both my brother and my mimi it is now apparently a day to be extra cautious. Stay safe out there and if I don’t write a blog tomorrow I might be dead. Sweet dreams.

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