Friday, February 23, 2007

My street

I just called the cops on some of my neighbors, I was in the garden about to go in because it was getting to dark to see. I heard a couple of the teens walking rapidly down the road talking aout how they were going to "jump" some guy. After following them a few hundred meters down the road I saw my 13 year old neighbour standing with a baseball bat sweat runnign down his face while another kid knocked on the door primed to sprit off when the guy opened it. I jumped in front of my neighbour thinking he was about to bash another kid.The kids had heard a domestic dispute going on and thought the guy was about to kill his wife. They didnt want to call the cops so they had jumped the back fence to see what was happening, when they saw knives being thrown and the kids terrified hiding under a blanket and then running outside.

So they went home to get a baseball bat. I called the cops with my cellphone and through the fence saw things flying across the room, things went quiet and all I saw was the guy crouched over wiping something up. I started yelling at the guy and trying to find out if the lady and kids were ok I thought at that stage he was cleaning the walls of blood. The garage door opened and the women and two kids drove off, she looked upset and the kids looked scared. A minute or two later the cops turned up they went in and talked to him, he was huge - the cop was taller than me and this guy was a head taller than the cop. He was only wearing underwear and the two cops were talking to him in the garage.

The kids explained that this happened every week - that she had "the crazy disease" another said "bipolar" and that they saw knives being thrown. The whole time kids were playing on the street throwing balls to one another only stopping to let the cop car through, familys were sitting in their garages parents were leaning near cars. No one apart from this gang of kids seemed to have any interest in the fact that a murder could be occuring one or two houses down. And the kids had a false bravado about it, they were terified when they were about to confront him with a baseball bat but a few minutes later they were joking about it.

The cops had got her cellphone number but it was on answephone, they didnt know where she was going and after taking my details and statement they said they would pass the details on to their family unit because they could not do anything. Im sure most of the kids on the street have grown up with the same thing, and their distrust of authority is such that they would rather take on a guy with a knife than call the cops. Im going to try and talk to one or two of them to try and get them to call the cops next time something happens but I dont know if I will have any luck. No one else on this street seems to care about whats going and its probably only a matter of time before this street becomes another statistic.

The boys joke about rape, break stuff for fun and replicate their parents abusive behaviour towards each other, we've called the cops on them before and last week one of them stole one of our bikes. They are aimless young people, looking for respect and something to do - frequently asking to borrow one of our dilapidated kayaks or a net that hasnt been used in a decade, building forts and wandering round in groups. Unfortunately they have been exposed to violence, abuse and have been told that they will not amount to anything.

I dont really know where im going, im just upset that the only response available is the cops and by the time they have arrived it will be to late for the next generation. These are not problems that can be solved by welfare cuts, they require time, support and for someone to help these kids.


jo said...

just a thought, perhaps you could see if they would like to do some gardening with you one afternoon.
They might really appreciate your interest in being involved positively in their life, even if they don't take up the offer.

John said...

Yup I already garden with them when the oppurtunity arises and they do appreciate it. The tree hut and other such things keep them coming back as well :)

jo said...

hey thats really cool. Its probably something they won't forget. Once a gardener, always a gardener.