Thursday, November 13, 2008

Community Policing

It was a Saturday afternoon in spring, late but still daylight outside, and the usual sports fare on the tube.


From just outside the street-level living room window. Probably one of the two college-age romeos who lives upstairs, playing slap and tickle with one of their parade of girlfriends.


Hmmm. This sounds more serious. I suppose I'd better go and have a look.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Troglodyte, First Class. Not 20 feet from my doorstep, sitting on something (someone) in the adjoining thick ivy. I can tell it's a someone because her legs and shoes are sticking out behind him.

Troggy, in fact, has his left hand pressed down about where her mouth would be, and his right is fiddling with his zipper and undercarriage. I stare in open-mouthed astonishment as he momentarily lifts his left hand to get a better grip on his trousers.


A bloody rapist! In broad daylight! On my freakin' doorstep!
Enough of this nonsense, time to step in.

I reach behind the door. Because I usually kept there a M1903A3 Springfield rifle, loaded with 5 rounds of .30-06, with 16 inches of well-honed bayonet attached. (Marines do stuff like this.)

Except, drat, dang, coal-burning tarnation, it isn't there. The then wife-unit has decided the closet is a better place for it. 30 feet and two rooms away. Lightspeed, to the bedroom I go.

Still can't find the thing. But right handy, God bless my baby brother, is his recent birthday gift unto me:
An old-timey, double-barreled 12 ga. shotgun, complete with external hammers and twin triggers. I grab it, and a handful of shells, and load it, double-timing back to the front door in the process.

I yell to wife in the kitchen that calling 911 would probably be a great idea, snap the loaded weapon shut, and step out to face the hopefully still-present miscreant.

Oh yeah, still there, in all his glory. Legs underneath still kicking. Observing him to be of hispanic lineage, I yell both "Stop!" and "Alto!" in my best parade-ground voice. In the background, I can hear wife giving particulars to the LAPD dispatcher.

Mr. Troglodyte doesn't appear to be paying any attention to me, so I repeat myself, and hear my voice echo clear down the street. And so help me, it is basso, not scaredy-cat falsetto. I would have obeyed me, by thunder. But my voice is curiously muffled and far-away.

I see Trog's left hand come up, middle finger extended, and he's about halfmast to flipping me the bird. When he swivels his beady little would-be-rapist eyes towards the sound of my voice.
And sees me standing there in the offhand position. Looking over both 12 ga. barrels, steady as a rock. Pointed at his head.

I should note that at this time, I am viewing the world through the equivalent of a loooong, dark tunnel. Imagine poking the bottom out of two sno-cones and strapping them over your face. I am told this is common in life-or-death situations. In this case, his death, come the moment.

Realization dawns on him. I can tell this, because his eyes get as big as dinner plates. His jaw drops. He stands as if on marionette strings. His prey wriggles free and runs further down the street.

I can't shoot the SOB because she's behind him. So are the apartments and houses on the street.
&@*^! He closes his piehole, and zippers his fly in one move. And begins walking towards me, towards the open end of the cul-de-sac. Which means he has to pass right under my step. Except as he gets closer, he siddles off to the side of the parkway.
I'm the only thing between this jerk and my wife. Please, give me a reason, dirtbag.
But he doesn't. Won't even look at me as he passes 4' from the muzzles aimed at him. And continues off up the street, and at a much accelerated pace.

Son of a turd's going to get away?!?
Then I notice that this whole time, I'm barefoot.
I decide to pursue, but I need shoes. I grab them and shuffle into them in a flash, and get outside just in time to see Troglodyte turn the corner and head southward. In a flash, I run outside, 12 ga. in hand, start my waiting curbside Jeep SUV, and haul after him. I get to the corner in time to see him duck into the neighboring apartment megaplex. He's gone in 60 seconds; probably lives there. Hundreds of units. I've been in there before.

Tragically thwarted, I return to the scene. Dusk is settling. It turns out the victim was the sister of a neighbor, she fresh up from Mexico. She speaks no English, but through her brother, my heretofore unknown neighbor two doors down, she tells us that she noticed Trog follow her out of the laundromat 2 blocks away. She walked fast, he walked faster. She ran, he ran. I note that they had to pass dozens of layabouts on the cross street who watched the entire tableau, and did nothing, not even follow to watch. Dropping the laundry, she'd almost made it home when he'd tackled her in the ivy in front of my bedroom window.

He hadn't done anything but scare her, and try to hush her, when I happened along. I lived in a 40-unit apartment building, most of which faced the street in question. Across the street were 10 houses, all facing the incident. On a Saturday afternoon, with everyone home.

No one else came out to help, at any time.

Relieved and thankful that his sister was safe, my neighbor thanked me profusely as they returned home. After I helped them retrieve the dropped laundry.

Ten minutes later, a lone LAPD cruiser approached the intersection a block from the scene.
True to LAPD form, they didn't even get out of the car.
I practically had to threaten bodily harm to get them to take and put out a mere suspect description on the radio.

{Thanks for nothing, you worthless wankers. You thoroughly deserve all the thanks you don't get in that town, and twice the derision you do get.}

After LAPD's sterling service, I took it upon myself to take flashlight and suitable small arms, and survey my apartment's laundry rooms, and outside areas, before retiring to TV land.

I lived in that neighborhood for 5 years, in a building equal parts black, white, oriental, and hispanic, and never had so much as a hubcap molested after that incident.

I thought nothing of it, until some years later, one night I and a couple of neighborhood kids from the houses across the street were heading towards the sounds of fire engines around the corner to see the commotion. One of them asked me "Aren't you the guy who went after that rapist with a shotgun?"

"Uhh, yeah, that was me. You must have been in grade school then. How do you know about it?"

"Oh, my dad told me all about it."

His dad, for the record, was a stranger to me from that day to this.
But you never know what your neighbors will notice.

And to this day I regret the lack of the Springfield, which would have enabled me to drill him on the scene without any worry of damage to victim or bystanders, or even better, to be able to pin Mr. Troglodyte Rapist to a convenient tree via the pig-sticker bayonet, in order to have him on hand to turn over to the proper authorities, screaming and whining.

And had he given me cause, I'd have ventilated him with the 12 ga. with the flick of a finger. But I'm glad - really, truly glad - it never came to that. His underwear cleaning bill was hopefully punishment enough. The incident doubtless convinced him to seek greener pastures. And perhaps, just perhaps, he adopted a more suitable, and hopefully law-abiding, occupation.

Bring up the subject of gun control with me. I dare you.

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