As I'm taking the long subway ride to work, I wonder what I will encounter during my day. Will I need to call the paramedics? How many times today will I hear heart wrenching stories and be amazed at the survival of the human spirit? I feel a rush of adrenaline as I arrive at the clinic. I try to mentally prepare myself and perhaps one needs to crave a little bit of this rush in order to work there.
On this particular day, I noticed police cars driving slowly back and forth by the clinic. I figured they must be looking for something or somebody. Then, as I was talking to a patient in a room with the door closed, I could hear yelling. I couldn't tell if it was coming from inside the clinic or outside until I heard a police siren. When I was done with my patient, I began walking back through the small and narrow hall which leads to my small and narrow desk when I saw 7 police cars, lights flashing, and 3 gang unit cars. I stood there looking out the window, watching boys and young men, hands spread on the police cars. It appeared there were two cars full of people involved in this mess. The police pulled a bat and something else that was small (was it a gun?) out of one of the cars. I watched as the police repeatedly searched through everyone's hair and patted them all down. Opposing gangs, ready to fight. One of the kids couldn't have been older than 10 years old. Was he the little brother of one of the other kids there? What kind of future does he have? And as I watched this, I thought about how heartbroken their mothers must be.
Two gang shootings happened right there about one month ago. The police must have been tipped off this day and that's why they were patrolling. There has been in increase in gang activity in this area and I fear it will be getting worse. I know when the economy is bad, the crime rate goes up. These kids don't see a future of learning and earning an income and they don't see a future where they feel safe. Their power and safety comes from belonging to their gang and it is dangerous for us all.