Tuesday, January 20, 2009

nothing in '08

if you read the first post i warned you that i may slack, and boy... did i EVER. nothing written in '08 as if nothing happened. but rest assured, some shit went down. and if it weren't for a friend pointing out fuck you penguin i might have never written here again. what an inspirational site! so, thanks, my fellow penguin hating friend (i can't stand those little assholes either, by the way).

man... this job... how weird. how weird is it to laugh at that which is terrifying just because you're afraid to appear scared? how weird is it to pretend like none of this affects you... it only affects the weak? how weird is it to tell a granddaughter that you did everything you could, but tonight was his time and he's in a better place, assuming that she buys into that illusion? it's pretty fucking weird. believe me.

like the time that i got a call for a shooting in the worst set of projects in the city. these projects are not nestled into the rest of the town like some of the more updated and visually appealing loft-type, condo-looking projects. nope, these projects are well out of the eyesight of any tourist or taxpayer.

sometime in '08 i was just about to log off the system when the tones went off and my unit was summoned to respond to the shooting on the street that these infamous projects got their name. i start the rig and turn on the lights and sirens. didn't know what to expect, but i've had this call so many times that i'm not tripping. might be nothing. we pull up to the projects that look like aging cell blocks and take a deep breath. i see about six cops trying to quell at least forty people that are in the process of losing their minds. my partner and i grab our equipment and get into the center of this mess.

let me first explain the layout of these projects because they're a little unique. these projects lie on the edge of the city where no regular residences reside. they are up on a hill, away from the sight of anyone who may be driving on the street below. up on this hill there are about eight penitentiary-type buildings, each two stories, with about six or so units each. they are in an uneven circle around eachother so that there is open space in the middle with cement pathways connecting each one. in this open space are old clotheslines, broken toys, distressed bicycles, and various garbage. not pretty. there are some lights, but many of them are out, so while you can see, you have to work at it. there are no grocery stores around here and i'm guessing that most the food that these families buy comes from convenience stores. there are no schools around here. there is no hope around here... there's no way out.

we grab our equipment and walk down a steep hill to the scene. people are screaming at us to hurry. there are about six officers, all have their guns drawn and are yelling at people to "back the fuck up!" there are four firefighters, one chief, two paramedics, and six officers vs. forty extremely upset people, all of which probably aren't really big fans of "the man." i get to the patient. bullethole to the forehead. brain matter. bullet hole to the neck. a LOT of blood loss. over eight bulletholes to the legs. again, a LOT of blood loss. check a pulse. no pulse. place leads on patient. asystole. this guy is not coming back. there are no interventions that can save him.

now people are screaming at us, "what took you so long?" honestly, from dispatch to scene time... less than five minutes (i checked later, just in case). the scene was getting so nuts, and we were so outnumbered, that i honestly felt that this might me the night that i really get hurt, or worse. because we were in an open courtyard, there wasn't a wall for me to back up to, but there was a tree. i slowly walked backwards until my back was resting on this large barrier. at least now i would see it coming. the chief made the decision that we transport a dead body. sounded okay to me... a bit unusual, but at least i'd be getting out of there. we loaded him onto a backboard, went back up that steep hill, and got the hell out of there.

but this isn't the weird part.

like i said, this 19 year-old had injuries to the head, neck, and legs. but his torso was in perfect shape. the reason? he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

this really threw me off. here was this kid who was waiting to die. he KNEW it was going to happen this night. i kept trying to imagine what it would be like to be at my house knowing that i was gonna get it... that it was inevitable that my time was up. i imagined picking up a borrowed bulletproof vest and putting it on. i look in the mirror, turn around, look at my back, check myself out. fix my hair. take a deep breath. "yeah... this might do it. this might give me a little more time," and then continue on to what it was that i needed to do, maybe talk to my girlfriend, maybe my mom. one last time.

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