Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I got robbed tonight

At gunpoint, outside of my home, about two hours ago (it's about midnight right now). Three guys, might have been teenage kids but were probably in their twenties. They pulled up on BMX style bikes and surrounded me after I got my mail. One pulled a gun and held it about a foot from my chest while the other two went through my pockets and got my phone and wallet. I was pretty pissed off and know how when things like this happen, car accidents for example, and time actually seems to slow down? "Great. I'll need to call the bank. And get a new drivers license. That's going to suck. The lines there are ridiculous. And I'm sure they'll take my phone. I'll need to suspend the service and order a replacement. I hope someone is still up who will let me use theirs"...until the gun came out and then. Everything. Ground. To. A. Dead. Stop.

I was utterly paralyzed. I couldn't move, couldn't speak, nothing. I held my arms up and stared at the gun while two of them went through my pockets. I hate guns. Hate 'em. After all, crime etiquette seems to have changed for the worse over the years. In the good old days, the Golden Rule was "Don't try anything funny and nobody gets hurt". Now, you hear about it all the time, bad guys are willing to kill (forget hurt) people for absolutely no reason whatsoever, whether you pull anything, funny or otherwise.

The whole thing probably took 15 seconds or less but I stood there in that spot after they rode off for, I don't know, what felt like ten minutes or more. Then I threw up. Then I went to a neighbor's house and called 911. A Hillsborough County sheriffs deputy showed up before it was 10:30 and took my info. I left and went to find a phone where I could cancel my bank card and also suspend my phone service. the first place I went was Wendy's on Himes and Hillsborough. Their dining room was closed and they wouldn't let me in. I tried the TGIFriday's next door and a manager met me at the door and told me they were closed as well. I asked if I could use his phone, that it was sort of an emergency and he told me that the only phones they had received incoming calls only. Isn't that interesting? I'm supposed to believe that an establishment that serves alcoholic beverages and prepares food for people to eat apparently doesn't have enough trust in their employees to allow them to make outgoing telephone calls. I know I found it interesting. More infuriating really, but still interesting. A lot of bullshit you hear these days isn't all that interesting. This was some interesting bullshit. At any rate, it says something about the society we've built for ourselves. I'm not sure what, but something.

Eventually, I found a gas station that kindly allowed me to use their phone and I was all set and went back to the apartment. I wasn't scared anymore. The gun was long gone and I think I handled business on the phone and with the deputy coherently. But now I was really angry. Because I had lost my stuff, sure. But mostly at myself for letting it happen in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the macho man type and I'm smart enough to know that stuff can be replaced and is not worth risking life and limb. But I pride myself on being alert and recognizing threats and responding accordingly. And I had seen these three assholes on their bikes when I first pulled up and had made a mental note to call the cops because they looked really suspicious (I have a simple theorem that anytime you see an adult riding a child's bicycle after dark, they're probably up to no good; this theorem has yet to be disproved). But I lost sight of them, thought they were gone and let my guard down. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Now, not only had they robbed me but were still out there, free to rob and/or hurt somebody else. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid!

I was also really angry because now I was a member of the Victims Of Violent Crime Club. I had never been mugged before and you'd think that now that I have, I'd be at ease because statistically the odds of it happening again are proportionately lower. But the brain doesn't work that way. Once you're a member of the Victims Of Violent Crime Club, you immediately start thinking of yourself as someone upon whom violent crimes are perpetrated. Hell, I've only been a member for three hours (it's about 1:00AM now) and that's how I'm thinking. I'm worried that the thugs who robbed me now know my address (they have my driver's license) and will break into my home. Maybe tomorrow when I'm gone. Maybe later tonight while I'm (trying to fall) asleep. I don't know. I've loved living in my neighborhood but now I'm embarrassed. There's no such thing as good and bad neighborhoods anymore; all manner of crime happens everywhere now. But still. I'm worrying if my friends are going to worry about being safe if they come over. As a member of the Victims Of Violent Crime Club I'm wondering if they should be worried.

And it's all because one of these punks pointed a gun at me. If you've never had a gun pointed at you, with or without malice behind it, I'd recommend you do what's necessary to keep it that way. It's really not a worthwhile experience. It doesn't build character, it doesn't test your mettle, it makes you feel impotent and somehow less-than-human. When someone indicates that they are willing to end your life to acquire some of your possessions, it's an indication that that person doesn't put a high price tag on your existence. Because of this, if they had just come up, demanded my wallet, maybe knocked me on the ground, I'd have given it to them and I'd still be pissed off but it would have been different.
Damn it, why'd they have to have a gun?

No comments: