28 December 2005

What Happens in NE Stays in NE

I attempted to post a comment yesterday on DCist, but, for the second time in as many weeks, whatever I wrote was sucked out into the ether of the interwebs. And so we start over here....

Since moving to NE in June, I've noticed many events, well, going unnoticed for the most part. Homicide? Maybe a little bit of play on the evening news. Flipped over cars (three that I know of in my 'hood since August)? Zippity-do-da. Trees crashing into people's houses, transformers blowing left and right like it was the War of the Worlds? Okay, that was on the news - remember that crazy summer storm in Silver Spring? It was here, in Woodridge/Brookland, too. The neighbor's tree was on my shed for a month since I don't happen to keep a chainsaw handy.

What started me on this tangent in the first place was the "Briefly Noted: Media storm over Christmas Day shootings in Fairfax" (bottom of the post). I don't deny that this shooting spree is a terrible tragedy, but I cannot let it overshadow two homicides that occured over the weekend in Ward 5 (thank you, inked, for the very handy link). The first occured on the 24th; Frank Kamara, owner of East Coast Auto, was shot and killed in what police believe was a botched attempted robbery. Kamara was 38 and married with three daughters. The second murder happened just two blocks from my house. Latisha Ethridge was 24; she and the suspect, William Gales, had a child together. This case should be in everyone's face, if only because of the underlying theme of domestic violence. But I digress....

Sure, I was able to find news links for the murders - hell, Kamara even made it to the front of The Washington Post's Metro section on the 26th. But the Fairfax murders have been on the front page for the past three days. Can someone please tell me what is going on here before I cannonball into the valley of conclusions?

UPDATE: The power went out for a few minutes, serving, I believe, as some sort of sign for me to cannonball into bed. Let me stop for now with this: May all the victims rest in peace, and may all the families and friends find solace in the coming year. Let's not be so numbed by the complexity/violence/senselessness of events around us that we forget all of these lives are more than simply statistics. And we can't fight the statistics by pretending nothing is happening.

19 December 2005

Take this RAC and Shove It

Bitter? Perhaps. Disappointed? Absolutely. Yours truly did not make the cut for Metro's Riders' Advisory Council:

Thank you for your interest in the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Riders' Advisory Council (RAC). We received an overwhelming number of applications, and while it was a difficult decision, our Board of Directors has selected the 21 members to serve on this inaugural Council.

We appreciate the time and effort you took to complete the application. The Riders' Advisory Council meetings will be open to the public. We welcome your participation and ideas for improving your Metro system.

Best wishes to you in your future endeavors.

Um, thank you? Though I am giving myself a firm pat on the back for applying - too often I will think about acting on a goal just long enough to watch the deadline creep past - I must admit my heart actually sank a bit (no, really, I felt something move) when I received the rejection slip e-mail.

Hell, I should just go to bed. Sleep it off....Wake up in the morning, put on some thermals, and guess when my bus is coming. This morning it didn't show up on time; 15 minutes later, two pulled up together. Yippee - a choice of how best to get to work late: old, refurbished bus or newer, "running on natural gas" bus. The bright side is that I know now I won't be fielding complaints. Oooh, I think my heart just moved back into place.

04 December 2005

Lord of the Flies

Awesome. One of the kids down the street was flashing a sharp piece of metal as he and couple of his siblings walked past my house and said into the air, "Y'all better watch out." Then he threw it dagger-style at his sister. Then at his brothers. Luckily the kid - perhaps all of seven years old - hasn't perfected his aim. After the gaggle, which we now call 'Lord of the Flies,' crossed over into the next block where they live, my husband walked down the street to see if LOTF had left the weapon. And there it was, a rusty steak knife blade.

We've been in the neighborhood since June (Woodridge/"greater" Brookland), and I still haven't a clue how many children live in the LOTF house. Our neighbor three doors down won't let her daughters play with them, but our immediate neighbor does. The four kids that live next door to us are wonderful - except when they're hanging with LOTF. In the past six months I've seen changes in the oldest girl (9) that don't look promising. Attitude, lying, disrespect, etc. Chalk it up to pre-pubescence if you will, but I've no doubt LOTF continues to have an increasingly bad influence on her.

Discussions with neighbors and friends have all led to the same goal: get in with the kids before they hit their teens. The methods, however, vary: buy their adoration with posicles; don't buy anything - just keep talking to them; get them to do chores and then buy them off with popsicles; put up an electrified fence around your yard, etc. I'm just not a fan of buying off kids with sugar - they'll always want more. As it stands, we haven't given them anything other than Halloween candy and they continue to ask us for money, batteries, jump ropes, cookies, lighters, and the like. Really, the whole situation is a core factor in my philosophy that buying this house was just the start of my investment into my community. I just don't know what direction to go - I'm not about to tell mom how to raise her kids (though I will call CFSA in a second if I see any indication LOTF are abused), but I foresee the situation escalating as each year ticks by. And we didn't take a 5 year ARM; we're in 30 to life.