Probably started in the second grade when a friend threw a snowball at me.  The normal reaction would be to start a playful exchange and end by making angles in the snow.  Instead, I tackled him.  I’ve got an older brother who trained me well. 

A few days ago, my neighbor got shot.  Before dawn, I heard a barrage of gunfire followed by a man screaming and retching from the pain.  I raced out to help him, figured he’d been hit by a drive-by.  We used to have those in my neighborhood, but it has been a good ten years since the last one.  Gentrification, baby.  The last drive-by shooting was over a drug deal gone bad, apparently baby powder makes a poor substitute for cocaine.  As a result, the offended party came back into my neighborhood with a MAC-10 while we were playing dominoes on the front porch.  Middle of the day, we were grilling ribs, kids playing ball in the street.  And when we heard that unique sound of pop-pop-pop and you think is that fireworks?  but you know it’s gunfire even though you’d rather not admit it, well, those kids hit the deck like trained soldiers while I searched for the double-six tile.  Besides, I was wearing a white shirt and didn’t want to get it dirty by rolling on the ground.  Anyway, the cops were right around the corner and busted those dumb-asses.  I heard they’re doing 15-20 for endangering children.  I begged the judge to give them an extra year for messing up our game.  Seriously, I was about to chip out.  Like Cube said, “Domino, muthafucka!”   

Maybe the drive-by had something to do with the barbeque grill.  Maybe crack-head gang-bangers despise propane, who knows?  On the very first day after moving into the Blocks, my bike was stolen.  My neighbor simply shrugged and said, “Welcome to the Blocks, son!”  A few days later, I heard my bbq grill fall over.  Looking outside, I noticed this guy who must have been high AF because he was repeatedly pulling on the grill.  After the bike incident, I had quickly learned to lock up everything and had chained the grill to a tree.  It’s the only place I’ve ever lived where someone actually stole a shovel.  Nobody steals a shovel because tools imply work and thieves steal because they’re inherently allergic to the idea of working.  When I first saw this guy yanking on the grill, I laughed.  He was probably thinking, I’m just gonna wheel it down the street in the middle of the afternoon, nobody’s gonna notice!  Freakin’ crack-heads.  So, I grabbed the nearest weapon because you never want to ask someone why they're stealing your stuff without being armed.  Well, one look at me and he took off running.   Like a dog, I gave chase.  I was about three steps off the porch and realized I probably shouldn’t pursue this guy down the street with 3’ foot steel katana raised above my head.  I’d certainly make the news, and not in a good way.  Needless to say, he never came back. 

Anyway, when I heard the shots the other day, I figured this was another drive-by.  I ran over to help a brother out, and three steps off the porch (apparently, that’s how long it takes me to come to my senses), I saw about a dozen cops pointing their guns at my neighbor’s house.  That’s when I realized, “Oh, they shot his ass.”

Literally.  They shot him in the ass.  He had been in the backyard arguing with his girlfriend and popped off a couple rounds, which used to be a normal Tuesday around here.  Nowadays, we’ve got an awesome Neighborhood Watch that doesn’t put up with that kind of shit.  When the cops showed up a few minutes later, he waved his gun at them, which was the exact moment my neighbor learned about the linear temporal relationship between cause and effect.  Point your gun at a cop and you gonna get shot.  Welcome to the Blocks!  

 

(*Watch the interview with KRDO news under the "Reviews" tab)