Several years ago I read an article about South Central Los Angeles. It was describing the terrible and violent living conditions that people were having to endure.
The story said that people sometimes slept in their bathtubs at night for additional protection. Bullets that went through walls would be stopped by the bathtubs. The article said that the people heard the sounds of gunshots every night.
Hardworking, innocent people trying to eke out a living and having to put up with the violence. They actually heard gunshots just about every day. Think about that---THEY ACTUALLY HEARD GUNSHOTS IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD JUST ABOUT EVERY DAY.
You read the article and thought to yourself: what a terrible way to have to live your life--nervous when you walk out your front door because you don't know if some idiot is going to be shooting at another idiot or worse, at an innocent victim. That bullet has no name on it and it doesn't come with a sense of direction. It just goes wherever it wants. It can easily hit and kill you. It can easily hit and kill your little girl, your son, your husband, wife, mother, father, best friend. You read the article and thought to yourself, I'm glad I don't live in South Central LA.
Now fast forward to today. Talk to some of the people in some of the neighborhoods around St. Louis and they'll tell you that they hear gunshots in their neighborhood just about every day. And we just shrug it off. South Central LA is here (and has been for a long time now) and we just shrug it off and accept it. It's an insane way to live. Idiots shooting at each other or at innocent victims.
I talked to one elderly gentleman a few weeks ago after a shooting and he said he hears gunshots "all the time." He said it got worse after dark. He lived near Fairground Park and said when the sun went down it "was like Dodge City."
This past weekend there was a spike in the violence in some St. Louis neighborhoods. We reported on a group of clergy, political and neighborhood leaders who gathered for a very public prayer session. They said that they will do this shortly after a shooting or homicide in this neighborhood. Their message to others in the neighborhood---you are not alone. Very often the person perpetuating the violence is a neighbor or someone who lives a few houses down. People are scared to stand up and make a difference. This group says it is not giving up on this neighborhood.
More power to 'em.