OK, I admit it. I am something of a nut.
Even though Mom’s house was about a half-mile from the Hall-of-Justice, I really didn’t expect it to be a target.
From the standpoint of the Marxists, the prime targets were to the east of Mom’s house and to the south. Those were gorgeous, ginger-bread houses of brick and slate and cedar. The gardens were manicured and the driveways sported Cadillac, Lexus and BMW marques.
I once chatted with the landscape designer who was twiddling with some of the plants in one of those yards. He proudly informed me that the owner had sunk $60k in the plants alone, that he knew about. That was one yard, one house.
Mom’s immediate neighborhood was anchored by an old, Catholic church. It was a layer-cake of workingman’s tract houses and a few streaks of slightly threadbare “nice” houses.
The problem was one of scale.
In the suburbs, one might have to travel a mile to find $100k difference in the value of the housing.
In the city, one can walk down a block and turn around the corner and find twice that difference.
The main thing was whether the building is owner-occupied or if it was a rental property.
Gentrified lived cheek-by-jowl next to “subsidized”.
Historically, this is an anomaly. The gentry have never had had any intention of sending their children to the same schools as the unwashed masses.
Except now, the gentry rarely had children. DINKS, Gay-couples and Career-celibates, and childless-couples in their forties, fifties and sixties didn’t have to worry about how their kids would do on the SAT or ACT or getting beaten up at school. They didn’t have any kids.
Time is distance. Distance is time. Combined, both are safety.
At twelve-blocks-to-the-mile, three blocks is a five minute walk.
While Mom’s house wasn’t in either of the prime target zones, her house was between them. Any flow between the two targets would likely pass distressingly close to her house.
The other issue was that Vince’s house was south of Mom’s. He was in a prime target zone. And so was Jamie’s house.
My brother Jamie traveled a lot. He was a technical rep for a electronic-widget manufacturer. Those widgets went into medical diagnostic equipment that sold for millions of dollars.
When one of those pieces of diagnostic equipment went Tango-Uniform, the buyers expected all hands on deck.
Since Jamie’s widget required a software handshake to activate, Jamie had to be there with the “key”. If memory served, Jamie was in Luzon which meant that his wife and three, no, two daughters were alone at home. One of his daughters was away at school.
Text to Marie: “Who is covering Jamie’s house?”
Text back: “Covered. Ruth at work. Nick and Josh covering.”
Ruth was Jamie’s wife. Nick and Josh were a couple of my redneck nephews. What they lacked in precision they more than made up for in volume of fire.
Text to Marie: “Thx”
Then Marie gave me a quick run-down on the other siblings. “M&A hunkered down. M&B up north. F&K in Kzoo. J&A at her mom’s”
M&A lived a block northwest of Mom. Ann was the oldest.
I brought Mom up to speed. I left her with a battery powered radio to scratch her itch for news. “Keep it low, will ya?” I requested.
She looked at me with hurt in her eyes. God, I hated when she did that.
“I need to step out for a minute” I told her.
I needed to do some scouting around. Tactically, staying in the house was a death-trap when the burning and shooting started. There were only so many windows I could shoot through and there were a hundred places people could shoot back from.
If I were outside, I had the advantage of not being where rioters would expect and I gained the tactical advantage of mobility.
The disadvantage is that I was treading on much shakier ground, legally. It would look like I was "hunting" demonstrators. In fact, that is exactly what I was doing. To anybody acquainted with both activities, hunting and shooting are two entirely different propositions. I don't know a single hunter who shoots every deer they see.
It was a fact: I was hunting demonstrators. Whether I shot them or not depended on what they did. If they were peacefully demonstrating or moving from one place to another, they would never know I was there. If one of them picked up a Molotov Cocktail and squared off against Mom's house, I was going to light up his life.
I didn’t take the rifle the first time out. There was still some light from the setting sun and I didn’t want any of the neighbors to panic.
Mom lived near the corner. The house on the corner had been abandoned in the panic of 2008 and reverted back to the city. It had been auctioned off. The new owners determined it would cost too much to bring up-to-code and let it revert back.
The house bounced back-and-forth between owners. Every year the roof got a year older and the shrubbery a bit more overgrown. The city looked the other way and didn't ticket the owners. They were eager to get rid of it.
The nails holding the privacy fence to the post pulled out of the post with just the tiniest amount of persuasion. I swung the panel out of the way and walked through.
Fifty-five year ago I used Mrs Wahl’s garbage can to jump across that same fence. She caught me about the 30th time I did it and read me the riot act. Apparently, she suddenly found it very difficult to pry the lid off the garbage can. Frankly, I think she was relieved. She was afraid her arthritis had taken a sudden turn for the worse and glad it was an obnoxious, neighborhood kid.
After that, I used other ways to filter through the neighborhood. There were at least twenty ways to get from one side to the other. Then, it was only a few years later and I could easily vault the fence. Physically, I didn’t think I could do that any more. I was in luck. The passing years had made the post punky and I didn’t need to jump.
God is good.
I slid between the two garages and then into the yard belonging to the abandoned house.
Staying low to disrupt my silhouette, and staying close to the abandoned house, I moved to the corner of the building closest to the road. I shifted around a bit until I found a location where I could look up the roads that intersected. I patted down some vegetation and broke a few branches off the yew bush that arched over the position.
Given a five-gallon bucket to sit on, it would be as comfortable as any of the stands I had hunted deer from the first five years I hunted.
Then freezing rain started spattering my face. I was glad I had the laser surgery for my eyes. Wearing eyeglasses in this would suck.
Maybe that would discourage the rioters. Then again, maybe it would just move their timetable up.