Wednesday, August 01, 2007

thoughts on being a hero

The other night I was walking Reilly and a large man wearing only jeans and with a bloodied face stumbled and weaved past us near my house. He was carrying seat cushions stolen from a porch down the street. After he'd made it down the block, I dialed 911 and gave them a description.

Twelve minutes later, when we came around the block heading towards the alley, I saw him on the street again. I called 911 again, then called again after he pulled something out of a garage and continued his weaving way. On this third call in fifteen minutes, I was advised a unit was on its way. I waited in the alley another couple of minutes as he cleared down to the next street before I went inside. By that point, I'd resigned myself to the fact that the cops were not going to get there in time to stop him.

Was he a real public menace? Probably not. He was more likely drunk on bad booze, but ever since the shooting I still want to draw the line. The incident explains one other fact, however: why I stood up and yelled at a man holding a gun that night.

The first thought when he began grabbing at Lindee and pointing the gun at her was that I needed to call 911. Then I realized that there was no way the police would get there before she was shot or harmed in some other way. I had to do something to distract them. That's what I decided in that split second before I began yelling at him to leave my neighbor alone. Then he shot me.

The police would never have arrived in time. Period. Last night was further proof of that. By the time the operator was done asking questions, the incident would have been (and was) played out.