Close Call Tonight

Apologies in advance if this turns into a ramble and/or an incoherent rage-fest.

So my cousins & aunt & uncle came over for dinner this evening to celebrate the Forth of July. We had a great time overall; I haven’t gotten to see them in a few months. There was one dark spot, however, that put a damper on the whole night.

Mama Raptor took Aunt and Cousins out for a walk around the block to show them the neighborhood whilst walking The Dog. Papa Raptor, Uncle, and myself chose to stay behind and try to get Uncle’s camera connected to the TV so they could show us pictures of Cousin #3’s (who was absent tonight) high school graduation. This proved to be a mistake.

As the womenfolk were out walking (Cousins #1 and #2 are both young ladies), a black SUV full of teenage boys sped by them. As the vehicle approached them, the teens started shouting and “whoop”ing at them. Then one of the teens, who was apparently leaning out of the SUV’s window, threw a beer can at them, very nearly hitting Cousin #2 in the head. Unfortunately, none of the women had a cell phone on them, and none managed to get the SUV’s license plate as it sped away. They called the police as soon as they got home, but a preliminary search came up empty. Apparently there are a lot of black SUVs in the area.

Needless to say, I’m pissed. I’m greatly relieved that no one was injured, but I’m still furious. Partly, I’m furious at myself, because I think those little [EXPLITIVES] sped past me while I was walking about a month ago. They didn’t chuck a beer can at me, but they did speed past me, yelling and whooping and leaning out the window. Same road too. If I remember correctly, it was a black 4Runner, but I’m not sure and I don’t remember the plate at all.

If I ever achieve my goal of becoming Benevolent Dictator, any little [EXPLETIVES] who do stuff like that will be sentenced to a week in the stocks, and a sign will be nailed over the offender’s head reading “I AM A DRUNKEN LOSER. PLEASE THROW THINGS AT ME.”

On a serious note, part of the reason I’m so freaked out about this is because I can’t help but wonder, “What if those guys hadn’t sped off? What if they’d stopped and gotten out and continued the assault?” Both Cousin #1 and Cousin #2 are, as Mama Raptor describes them (rightly), “Beautiful Blondes.” A bunch of guys, intoxicated or not, might very well try to force themselves on them. To the best of my knowledge, neither them nor Aunt are really capable of defending themselves against a group of determined attackers. I know Mama Raptor isn’t. The possibility of such a thing happening, and right around the corner from our home no less, really scares me.

I know I’m beating myself up at this point, but I can’t help but thinking “I should have been there.” I don’t know what I could have done to stop it, but I still feel I should’ve gone with them.

This is a safe neighborhood, but as the police officer who responded tonight told us, the Township Police Department is really stretched thin. Several officers are out on medical leave, several more have retired, but the Township doesn’t have the money to hire any more officers. The K9 Unit’s been cut, as has the Officer Friendly program and the D.A.R.E. program, and every single officer with a badge is on the street right now, even one who is very sick with Lupus. Worse, the vast majority of the force is SWAT qualified, and as a result are members of a regional Tactical Response team that covers multiple jurisdictions, so if a SWAT call out happens, that will leave the Township’s streets virtually undefended.

As a result, I fear that incidents like the one that happened tonight will become more and more common. I can only pray that no one gets hurt, killed, or worse when they do.

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