Monday, March 25, 2013

Those random moments of life

I read stories such as the Sunday morning account of a shooting incident in the Marquette Park neighborhood caused by a driver who double-parked his car and left other vehicles trapped and I wonder when it will be my turn to be impacted by one of life’s random moments.
A stupid incident nearby results in gunfire

Because it is at times like this that I feel lucky in life. None of the stupid, trivial incidents that could have encountered me turned into anyone’s overly-violent temper tantrum!

IT IS THESE moments that ought to remind us how much we should enjoy our lives while we have them. Because something absurd could always happen.

There doesn’t have to be a legitimate reason why someone gets hurt. It literally can be “just because.”

Take the incident that occurred around 71st Street and Maplewood Avenue early Sunday. According to the Chicago Tribune, the incident involved a car with two men inside who were upset that another car had parked alongside it.

Witnesses told the newspaper that there was some room and the driver who felt trapped probably could have driven alongside it, then out into the street. Words were exchanged, and after the car managed to get by, the driver felt the need to get out of the car and walk back a few feet.

AT WHICH POINT the handgun came out and the shot was fired.

The man who was shot was “walking, talking, breathing, living,” police told the Tribune. He was eventually taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in suburban Oak Lawn.

As for the person who was shot, he was from DeKalb, and was in the Marquette Park neighborhood to attend a birthday celebration of a relative who lived on the block.

Now if I wanted, I could turn this into a diatribe about concealed carry. The problem I have with the idea of more people packing pistols on their person is the potential for someone with a temper (particularly someone who thinks they need that weapon to defend themselves at all times) to get stupid amongst the rest of us.

BUT THAT’S ACTUALLY a lesser point.

I’m more bothered by the randomness of the event – since I suspect no one who was in the neighborhood was “out to get” anyone. This really was a matter of tempers flaring, and someone getting hurt as a result.

Any one variance in this event, and perhaps that pistol wouldn’t have been reached for at all.

It reminds me of an incident a quarter of a century ago, back when I worked at the now-defunct City News Bureau of Chicago. There was a year when I was on the overnight shift (you should see the Medical Examiner’s office at 5 a.m.), and on this particular day I was finishing my shift.

IT WAS ABOUT 9 a.m., and I had my car parked on lower Wacker Drive near the old City News offices at Wacker Drive and Wabash Avenue.

I got into my car, started the ignition and wanted to back out of the space I was parked in. At that moment, another car had just passed me. The driver saw I was pulling out, and she decided she wanted to back up a bit so she could take the parking spot once I vacated it.

The problem was that another car was right behind her, and THAT driver saw me wanting to leave. He decided (rightfully so, as far as I’m concerned) that the spot would be his.

Soon enough, I had these two people shouting at each other. Verbal violence being spewed all over the place. And I was potentially right in the crossfire.

BECAUSE OF THE way their vehicles were positioned, I was trapped. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t leave.

It wound up taking a couple of officers in a squad car that just happened to pass by to get these people calm enough for one of them (I don’t remember which one) to move their car just enough so that I could get out.
It could have ended not far from here!

What would have happened if one of them had lost their temper? I would hate to think my life would have ended on lower Wacker Drive at age 22 with a tiny, long-forgotten story on the City News “wire.”

Then again, my fellow reporters probably would have seen how stupid the incident inherently was, and would have “cheaped” me out – as in not worth writing much about.


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