3rd/4th & Pine/Pike/Union

This morning, not unusually, there was something scary going on downtown. It was at 4th and Pike this time, but that's just one block over from Century Square. Real-time 911 listed it as “Medic Response, 7 per rule.” In addition to the 7 firefighters/medics on scene, there were at least 4 police cars and some bike cops interviewing everyone in sight.

On July 31, there was a shooting at 3rd & Pine at 4:30 p.m. after an argument in a crosswalk. The victim's wounds were listed as “not life threatening” (he was shot 4 times). On June 22, a guy was killed with an AK-47 at 2nd and Pine, shot in the face “at least once”. On June 1, a guy had the crap beaten out of him by “a group of youths” right in front of the entrance to Century Square. You can see the Century Square sign in the recently-released police photos.

In January, a crazy guy set two women on fire after dousing them with lighter fluid at 3rd & Union. Passers-by put the fire out before the women were seriously harmed. Apparently, the guy had tried the same thing with an older man on the other side of the street, but the old guy whacked him with his cane. Maybe I should get a cane. But, I digress.

The point is, I'm not the only one to be freaked out by that little square of hell. I try to avoid it when possible. I feel sorry for people who work there. I actually applied for a job in that building, but fortunately they didn't like me.

As for what was going down this morning, who knows? Someone had a heart attack or got beaten up or run over by a car or shot. Who knows how many times things happen down there that never even make it into the news?

Meanwhile, when police actually manage to make an arrest in a drug case, they can't even manage to fill in the paperwork correctly, jeopardizing the possibility of a conviction. It would be funny, in some other context.

I'm not sure if all the hype and bad press from the recent shootings will have any effect. Things there are still the same day in and day out. Drug deals, gang violence, truant kids roaming the streets with nothing to do but beat up on people and buy/sell drugs. The security guards at Century Square still prefer to hassle actual customers rather than risk approaching someone who may be dangerous. I really can't say I blame them.

I hate being forced to change my behavior by something beyond my control. I was quite happy with my routine, waiting for the bus there in front of Century Square, or inside if it was cold or rainy. It's better for me in at least one way, of course. I'm not spending money at Borders any more. It's so annoying.

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