Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Shooting of the Day

Really at this point we have a shooting every day and the reality is some are larger in scope and scale than others.  The minute Police become involved the volley of bullets and collateral damage will be significantly larger thanks to the heavy artillery local forces have access to once used in military operations.   We have a militarized local police force without the training and resources needed to understand how to use and not use said weaponry but it damn sure looks good when out on the streets protecting people from crazed shooters.

What ends up is chaos and more deaths that may not have occurred had they not had such weaponry available and as we already know Police are trigger happy under the most minor of circumstances so ratchet it up when a Cop is killed and then game is on.

The UPS Shootout will I am sure reveal some ugly truths that the deaths of the UPS Driver and the Gentleman in the adjacent vehicle were likely killed by the Police.  The truth about the death of the first responder in the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill. 

The Las Vegas Shooting that preceded it was also chaos, the Orlando Bar Shooting that lasted well over three hours another badly handled situation that went on far too long and labeled a hate crime for which it was not.   And my personal favorite the Waffle House shooting in Antioch that seemed to be utterly preventable had Police properly investigated the stolen vehicle from the day before but could not manage to find him less than a mile away from the Waffle House for over 23 hours and was found thanks to a citizen who called a hot line. Okay then.

Of course we have school shootings were incompetent School Security Officers failed to do their duty and shootings prevented by Coaches and Teachers who simply spoke to and more importantly listened to the Student stopping what could have been a fatal encounter.

So yesterday I sat though close to two hours of a Police Chief mispronouncing words and making up words to describe "Bad Guys."  Early on the reports described a pair of individuals of mixed gender. Then the original report that it was random where the final shoot out commenced only hours later being declared a hate crime without any substantiative evidence to support this belief.  But it serves to highly charge a community and in turn make it all political on top of emotional for the loss of what appears to be three individuals who may or may not have been killed by the Gunmen that were not Police.  Again we may never find that fact out for many many months. But like all shootings the speculation, the histrionics and random accusations that will lay blame and point fingers that will resolve nothing and stop the real problem - access to Guns.

But again what I truly found appalling was actual local news and the misinformation and their contribution to the histrionics of what already was a serious situation.   I came home got off the Path train knew nothing about it, went for a walk in between the rain, stopped at a store did shopping errands and grabbed a coffee and found out there what was going on.  My Barista and I did laugh at some Instagram posts that had residents dancing to the bullet fire so there you go with that Mr. Roger's in your neighborhood.  And that brings me to the Neighborhood.  The shooting began with the Police officer being killed in a Cemetery in the Greenville area about 15 minutes from where I write this.  Greenville is largely a minority community with heavy crime and violence problems then it moved into the West Bergen area which is slowly very slowly gentrifying.  This area is not served well by either light rail, buses or train system but has super cheap real estate and it is where I initially began my search for apartments when I arrived in JC in August.  It was one day in and after two days of talking to varying Lyft drivers that my conclusions and observations about the area were right - it is not safe, it is under change but about 5 years away from any type of real improvement.  I saw property after property that had been renovated to the top of the line while adjacent to abandoned houses, houses with bars on doors and windows, no grocery stores or services and maybe a block (where the shooting occurred) that had some small businesses that catered to the specific residents that resided in the area as in this case a Kosher market.   But it was not safe and not one that I a 60 year old white woman living on her own would seriously consider no matter how many gas ranges it had.

I had a conversation with a Real Estate Agent from of all places Sotheby's convincing me this was the new "it."  I have never been more insulted and abused by professionals outside of Nashville as I had with the Real Estate Shysters that work here in Jersey City.  Honestly that profession here is a con job with a quality of laziness that reminded me so much of Nashville I could not run away fast enough.  And then I just went to apartment after apartment building on my own contacting their own leasing agents and found utter professionalism, good natured intelligent individuals who followed up with my inquiries and were more than generous with their time.   I cannot say the same for the Sotheby's woman who when I asked about her other properties she informed me that they were not as modern but if I wanted to see them she could meet me there. I see so take me and drive me there no and I am to pay a fee for that?  Yes you take yourself to the property, the agent may or may not meet you there, you may never speak to them ever as they rely solely on texting and then show you a property with no options or information about others that may be available. They don't tell you anything about the neighborhood and expect you to pay them.  One asked me to drive by then text him what I thought and then we could arrange to meet there if I liked what I saw from the outside.  I actually did not do any of that instead I sat at the bank with my banker, we google searched the property looked at it on the map, knew instantly it was not a good area and then went back to our conversation.  He texted me during the meeting I informed him that I was "driving" by right now and it looked sketchy.  He then texted me and asked what time would I like to see it.  I said I am driving to the bank right now to get my finances and will text him later. And that ended that.  I did what I do best handled it on my own. 

Jersey City is in massive transition with money thanks to the opportunity zone tax breaks that have brought a great deal of investment into these areas that are in midst of gentrifying.  But that said it is a constant game challenge to see where the shiny keys land.   I suspect and see that Journal Square area is the new player as it has a Path Station and near a highway connecting to NYC.   It is the coolest hood I have found and is truly not as a dangerous or as inaccessible as the West Bergen area.  I could not believe how bad it was on a Sunday me sitting on stoops for agents to show, to not show, to show up late and the condition of the neighboring houses to think that this is okay for anyone on their own without a car (which they knew) relocating to an area that they did not know.  I have no respect for anyone in that profession and find them utterly irresponsible and the reason some of these problems occur and their role in the 2008 collapse cannot be ignored.

But when you have Journalists descending on an area, interviewing children about being on lockdown and then proclaiming after an eight year old goes, "Yeah I am used to it." as something that these children are familiar with on an ongoing basis does nothing to improve the area or the residents therein.   The reality was NOT ALL schools were locked down and that only the school across from the shoot up was at risk. The reality is that this was a Shelter in Place where kids were fine, the school was locked to outsiders coming in and going out and school went on as normal with no lights out, no hiding under desks or taking to safe locations in the building to wait it out.  That was again a bad version of events as you cannot nor should not have anyone sitting in wait for FOUR hours which they did.  Again what was the point?  Got me but to prove and demonstrate authority.  Would they have done that in the upper scale areas of the city with the larger white population of students? No.  But sure keep faces of color and poor kids locked up in school hours longer than they should, frighten their parents and in reality none of it was anywhere near them other than the school directly across the street.  Funny no one spoke to that Catholic Schools students, why was that?

It was and is a tragedy but what continues to make it as such was the media's coverage, the Police and their incessant need to show force in all situations regardless of need and the reality of our own need for drama when shit happens. This is about guns and more guns and who has got them.  I cannot tell in the words of the Police chief, who the "bad guys" are anymore.

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