Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Our safe, supportive community
A horrible, horrible event happened in my neighborhood a couple of weeks ago when two lowlifes went into a couple's home on Lane Street early in the morning, held them at gunpoint and assaulted them - all for some money. The wife was taken into another room for God-knows-what. When her husband fought back, he was shot, resulting in him being paralyzed. But because of his bravery, his wife was able to escape to a neighbor's house, where the police were called.
While I personally have not heard any negative comments, I do know of friends and neighbors who were subjected to comments like, "well, what do you expect from living downtown?" or "these things don't happen in the suburbs."
But here's the thing: these things DO happen in the suburbs. In fact, the two accomplices were practicing this same devilry (apparently a stun gun was in their arsenal, meaning they kinda-sorta hoped people would be home) all over Raleigh. These weren't just guys from Raleigh's inner-city targeting an adjacent neighborhood.
Allow me to brag about my community for a bit. The Oakwood/Cooke Street/Mordecai/Hungry Neck area certainly isn't perfect, but a number of things happened because of and after this horrific event that brought home to me just how special it really is. First of all, it was because of the brave efforts of a neighbor, who heard noises that morning and actually ran outside in time to read part of the license plate number of the getaway car, that the two bad, bad men were apprehended later that morning.
Almost immediately there was an outpouring of support for the young couple. Meals were organized. A prayer service was held at the church literally at the end of their block. A foundation was set up. This coming Wednesday, William Peace University's Singers will host a benefit concert at Trinity United Methodist Church, during which a love offering will be collected.
Now, I know that just about any neighborhood would come to the aid of those in need. But the outpouring of support for a couple -- relative newcomers to the neighborhood -- is reassuring. As far as I know, no one moved out. No one called for an "Us vs. Them" discussion between the poor and the well-off.
And then there's this: In the days that followed, while the respective downtown neighborhood list servs were working overtime to discuss alarm system referrals and additional security measures, someone noted that the oldest of the two accomplices, who is 26, has two small children and a third on the way. The premise was that even in times like this, we should remember the innocent victims on the "other" side of the battle line, so to speak. Yes, what happened to the young couple on Lane Street was a nightmare and was absolutely terrible, but we must remember that there will likely be three children who will grow up without their father around. I wouldn't be surprised if the same community offered to take care of them too.