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Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 17: Domestic Disturbance in Black-balled Suburbia

Sharp screams broke the silence as I sat sorting through my thoughts last night. I didn't even flinch, assuming the neighborhood teens were out, rebelling against the city-wide curfew of 10:30. They don't respect authority 'round these parts. The screams grew louder but it was the repeated cry for help that froze my fingertips on my laptop's keyboard. I strained my ear to hear. These were not young teens looking for a good time in the middle of the night.

I opened my back door expecting the worst. Flashbacks of the tape from the Trayvon Martin case popped into my head as I stepped out on the deck to see what was going on. Anxiety gripped my heart as I scanned the darkness staring blankly back at me but I couldn't see anything other than the motion lights over garage doors. My mother joined me, already dialing 9-1-1. We listened, only imagining what was happening right on the other side of the privacy fence that separates my grandparent's backyard from the narrow alley. Two women were screaming at the top of their lungs at one man. I could hear a squeaky screen door opening and closing, clashing with the shrill cries for help and someone throwing something heavy, probably the man's belongings.

I was still expecting to hear the all too familiar sound of flesh hitting flesh but it didn't come (thank God). Surprisingly, the man involved was calm, as he called the police himself, trying to explain to the dispatcher what was happening over the screams of these two irate women.

"My girlfriend and her daughter just jumped on me..."

Whatever discarded items lay in the alley were thrown with force fueled by adrenaline, smashing into my neighbor's garage doors and fences. I remember wondering if anyone else was witnessing this. Probably not. Too afraid to get involved, let alone step outside into the dark madness to get a better listen.

The woman doing the most screaming was who I assumed to be the girlfriend. It was only when I heard her state she was on probation and how defiant she was about not going back to jail that I deduced this to a domestic dispute indefinitely. I couldn't decipher from the screams what the reason was behind all of this. Did she catch him cheating? Did he sexually assault her daughter? I knew nothing other than the fact that she needed help (even though she seemed to be the aggressor in this) and demanded that he leave her house now.

"I can't believe no one else is hearing this," my mom said in disbelief. I just shook my head, both at the unfortunate situation and at the fact that the neighborhood watch, usually so quick to report something, had failed to report to duty. My mom (who isn't apart of the watch team) inhaled deeply as she turned on her heels. "Welp. I did my part," she said as she disappeared back inside the house.

I never did hear police sirens. When I got tired of listening, I stepped back inside and locked the door. Now that I think about it, I don't recall even hearing them argue past that point. It's as if the whole thing never happened. This is not the first time I have witnessed a domestic dispute. Actually, from what I heard, this was a fairly mild one.

I'm still in shock as I type by the lackadaisical attitude of the police department. It feels like they knew what type of foolery they would encounter once they got here and just decided not to even show. It is unfortunate that because of the neighborhood we live in, we can't even get the respect of a police visit in an obviously dangerous situation.
photo credit: beyondblackandwhite.com
This type of stuff wouldn't go on in Tinley Park.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely not. Last Sunday I was in my bed watching 24 around 11:30 pm. I heard three gun shots and then I heard the men running. One of them stopped to talk right in front of our place. He was stopping to ask if the other guy was ok. I am guilty for not calling the police myself. I watched the ambulance sit there for 2 hrs. Not knowing what was going on, cause could not see anything. I was just praying upstairs that the men would run past my house and leave us me. Just hoping they weren't looking for a place to hide. It's just crazy because stuff like that didn't happen in Park Forest and it was right outside my door. But after the ambulances pulled off there was nothing there and it was as if nothing happened. Crazy how that works out. But you're absolutely right, this kind of foolery would not happen in Tinley Park.