I can’t imagine anyone having to live in an area where the sound of gunfire is so common an occurance that no one calls 911 when it happens. On Saturday, October 16, 2010, 80 year old Richard Schmalenback of Phoenix, Arizona shot and killed his dog, his 50 year old son Thomas and his wife before turning the gun on himself. Murder and Suicide in a residential area. In a neighborhood where the crime was not discovered for 5 days. The son was outside in the back yard in a chair. It wasn’t until a neighbor realized that the family hadn’t been seen in a “couple” of days that anyone even bothered. She peeked over the backyard fence and saw the dead son. She called 911. Once the bodies were discovered and the police began their investigation, other neighbors reported hearing gunfire on Saturday.
I live in the country and I admit that the sound of gunfire is not likely to get reported to authorities during hunting season, but in a residential neighborhood in a big city, hunting just doesn’t happen. If you reside in the city, the sound of gunfire indicates a crime of some kind in progress. If I lived in the city and heard something that sounded like gunfire, I’m likely to wait to see if it’s repeated before calling the police. I’m also going to look out my window to see if there’s not an older vehicle out there that might have backfired. However, if I hear the sound of a gun being fired 4 times, I’m going to pick up that phone. My mind simply will not wrap itself around the idea that someone didn’t report it.
I suppose the excuse would be that it’s none of our business, we don’t want to get involved. Think about that for a second. How would you feel if you were a victim of some sort and no one stopped to help you? If you wouldn’t be willing to get involved, why would you think that someone would do it for you? See? That’s the rub here. In order for someone to make a difference in someone elses life. Someone has to do something. Making a difference has to start somewhere.
On my way home from shopping today, I pulled onto the road I live on and something caught my eye. One of my neighbors, an elderly man had apparently fallen when exiting his pick up truck. He was laying in full view of passersby and again, no one stopped to help. He was lying in his driveway next to the open door of his truck, not 20 feet from the road and no one saw him? Thankfully, he wasn’t hurt, just shocked. It was a matter of getting his keys and entering his house to call 911. The fire department arrived, helped him up and I got to go home. It took maybe 15 minutes of my time to stop someone from lying there for who knows how much longer. He’d been there unable to get up for close to an hour. I find this current trend of ignoring those in need very disturbing.
As much as I hate the idea of it, I will be getting myself a cell phone. With so few people willing to help, I want to be prepared in case I encounter someone needing help. Someone who can’t speak for themselves because maybe they’re unconscious or injured. Someone who might just lie there and freeze to death or bleed to death if injured because others are too busy or maybe too self centered to understand they don’t live on an island.
We live in cities, towns, villages. In communities and neighborhoods. We don’t always like our next door neighbor, but it’s no excuse for ignoring real problems when they occur. No matter where we live, we’re going to have problems and drama. It’s a safe bet that none of us are going to get out of this world alive, so why not make it a better place to live by lending a helping hand where one is needed? Who knows? You might find someone returning the favor when you need it.