My daily runs last between thirty and sixty minutes. On Monday, during the forty minutes I was out of the house, six people were shot in the vicinity of my home in Oakland. When I say "vicinity," I mean that I saw two of the crime scenes as I was out exercising. Three of the victims died.
That seems like a lot. To me. And I have lived in Oakland for nearly thirty years. The news that a shooting took place in Oakland does not always garner the attention it might. These tend to be reported as part of the "in other news" section. Or if you can put a helicopter over it, then you might wind up with some "breaking news" to punctuate your broadcast. Holding on to the conventional wisdom that "if it bleeds, it leads."
Had I put in a few extra miles and made my way south from the second crime scene, I might have encountered the third. It should be noted that all three of these events occurred during what most folks refer to as "rush hour." This might have some bearing on the way things went down. They might also be connected to the ongoing fear and anxieties stirred up by living through a plague. A colleague and I were discussing what we believe is a slow deterioration of social contracts. We were noticing this as we tracked the number of cars blowing through stop signs on either end of the block where our school is situated. Our job is to sit out in front and wait with the children who have yet to be picked up by their parents. On a somewhat frequent basis, this wait lasts past the time that our crossing guard works. Once her orange vest and hand held stop sign is out of the intersection, it seems as though brakes become optional and acceleration holds sway.
I am happy to report that our students have remained safe, and whenever we can catch a license plate we make note of it. And sometimes, the scofflaw turns out to be a parent rushing to pick up their kid. At which point we sigh and appreciate the way they managed to rush over in such a timely fashion.
At least they haven't had to dodge any bullets. That would probably make it to the headlines. A shooting in Oakland may not be front page news, but a shooting in front of an Oakland elementary school might rate.