I used to always have to work on the 4th of July. When I was in high school and didn’t have a car, I had to walk home after dark, and I always made the joke that it was like walking home in Northern Ireland with random booms and pops scaring the crap out of me the whole way. Of course I was waiting for a stray bottle rocket to skewer my wrist, or for a string of Black Cats to dance too close to my shoes. Now my neighborhood is being terrorized by a Laotian gang known as “Laos Pride” who shot and killed a kid six blocks from my house.

“PROVIDENCE — A decision by two Smith Hill teenagers to walk through a pack of Laos Pride gang members cost one of them his life, the police said.

Jeffrey Lopez, 19, was gunned down Monday night on the front porch of an apartment house less than two blocks from where the confrontation took place on a Camden Avenue sidewalk. A second shot grazed the back of Lopez’s friend, Carlos Javier, also 19.”

Apparently the Providence Police’s Gang Intervention Unit has made this a top priority, but I’m not sure what that means since the paper tells me that gun violence has surged in recent months. This is why I don’t read the paper or watch the news.

I was talking to a co-worker about this the other day and she asked if I had heard the gunshots from this recent event. I was out of town at the time, but I told her that I always seem to hear random pops and cracks at night, so much so, that I’ve really stopped paying attention. Her eyes got really big, and she didn’t say anything.

When I lived in downtown Fargo, my parents feared for my safety. My mother told me that the entire year I lived in that apartment, she slept poorly. They find my neighborhood in Providence colorful and charming, “I think people really take notice of me when I’m walking around your neighborhood.” my dad told me when they were here visiting before.

“Why do you think that is?” I asked him.

“I think it’s because I’m so tall, and I have my khaki pants pressed…”

“And because you’re white?”

“I am white.”

I have no big plans for the 4th of July. I have a stack of books and travel DVDs, and a cold I’m recovering from. Apparently Smith Hill is also known for a super kick-ass 4th of July party. I think I’ll sit home, and listen to the festivities hoping all of that booming is the good kind.

Advertisements