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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bullet Hills

So I was sitting here playing Civilizations IV yesterday afternoon (being thoroughly annoyed by the drum-beating Aztecs) when a scream shot out of the police scanner at 1:45 PM…”Sherman Hills…shots fired.”

And what quickly followed was as upsetting as it was disturbing…

“Officers need assistance!”

“Put an X on it…child shot!”

“I got a gunman running around loose!”

“I need that medic unit yesterday!”

“Two children shot!”

“Tell those medics to get their ass up here now!”

And from the responding medics, “a baby shot in the neck, victims three and five,” and “5-year-old shot in the face…exit wound under left ear…in and out of consciousness.”

Sorry, but it’s time we curb the entitlements, take the savings and build more prisons. If endless gunplay really floats your listing boat, you need to rot in a cage.

Because of my specialty--wood-destroying insects--I spend an ungodly amount of time working in public housing projects as well as privately owned subsidized housing developments. Name a town and a project and I’ve spent days there. And in some cases weeks.

The reason for this is that these projects are slab-on-grade, meaning these structures have no basements. Basically, they poor a slab and then erect multi-storied structures on top of it. And when the inevitable stress fractures appear across the slab, termites move right in.

If you spend a goodly amount of time toiling away in these communities as I have, over time, you pretty much see everything. It runs the gamut, and a lot of it is downright bad, even deplorable. Plus, in my case, I actually resided in a public housing townhouse for 6 or so years.

Now, I’m not stupid. When I’m working in these sorts of environments, I am well aware of my surroundings at all times. It’s less of a head-down rush to completion and more of a scan-the-scene sort of approach. And depending upon which locale I am scheduled to work it, I arm myself accordingly.

On some occasions, I am given a master key so as to inspect apartment after apartment, something that gives me some degree of pause with so many handguns lying around in plain sight in your typical subsidized housing setting.

With all of that typed, there are relatively safe locales, while there are those places where you should probably be ready to take cover in an instant. No, I should say, a place where you might need to hit the deck. One. One single place. And that place is none other than Sherman Hills.

All of which takes me back to the management 101 days, where it was written on ancient stone tablets that the atmosphere and the condition of an operation is a direct reflection of the attitude and the approach of the management and ownership of said operation.

We have this one housing project gone Dodge City in this county. We have this one locale where gunplay is the norm. There’s but one place that appears to be spiraling out of control.

So, this leads us to conclude that the management and ownership of this project gone shooting gallery is incompetent, uncaring or both.

And while I’m no city solicitor, nor did I ever play one on television, it’s time that the legal hammer comes down and comes down hard.

Thirty-four years ago, while spending a relatively quiet year in apartment #813 with my wife and my baby, I dubbed that complex “Pregnant Hills,” which aptly described the demography at the time.

These days, it’s become Bullet Hills.


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