It seems like it’s been weeks since we’ve had a decent rain, unlike last year when it was way too wet. So I’ve been scurrying around from garden to garden, watering like a fountainhead. I saw this disturbing scene on Hull Street and Rockaway on my way to the Phoenix Garden this morning:
Walking back, I noticed Dana, who is an amazing gardener, standing on her stoop on Hull Street. I haven’t seen her for a while, so I weaved my way through huddles of grim-faced cops. Of course I had to ask her if she knew what was going on. She said there was a killing. “If you look right over there, you’ll see there’s a gun in the street, along with a hat and gray matter.”
“Do you mean brains?”
“Yeah. Gray matter. Brains.”
“I’ll take your word for it.”
That’s the surreality of living in a “high crime” area. These horrendous acts happen in the same places where you conduct your daily life. But what can you do, except be a peaceful person, help out where you can, and maintain your claim to the streets and to a normal life.
The rub, though, is very real issue of over-policing. Coming home from the Granite Street Garden, a detail of police where frisking the group of middle aged guys who always hang out in the shade of the deli. John calls them “Blue’s guys.” Blue is the nominal leader. He drives a blue van, always wears blue. He must like Blue. I know these guys — several of them I know are in recovery and mainstays of the 12-step groups that meet at the Biko Center across the street. Of course the police didn’t find anything. I stood and acted as a witness, and when it was clear that nobody was going to jail, I went home, to make saag panir.