Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wild Wild West

Last night the phone rang just as I was getting ready to go to Krogers to get a gallon of milk (skim, $3.50). It was Lulu. I put her on speaker phone so I could continue putting on pants and shoes. Lulu stayed with me as I left my place and headed to my van. These are like little virtual trips to Texas for Lulu, a world away from her idyllic paradise in the shadow of Mount Rainier.
As I drove into the Krogers parking lot I saw a Fort Worth police cruiser pulling in, lights flashing, siren blaring. As I got out of the van I saw the cop slowly approaching the store. As I got closer to the entry I saw a huddle of people around a woman, a slightly obese stereotypical Texas woman looking a tad unkempt. As the cop approached her she put up her arms in the position you see on TV when a cop puts on the handcuffs. Apparently she had had experience with the procedure. On the ground in front of the woman was a spilled grocery bag that seemed to have spilled out what looked like pharmacy type products.

Within a couple minutes I'd bought my milk and was exiting the store, still talking to Lulu. I'm quite the multi-tasker, able to talk on the phone while going through the self-checkout. When I stepped back outside I was surprised to see that the incident had escalated. There were now 5 polices cruisers with lights flashing, with an equal number of officers. There was a fire truck with firefighter emergency guys doing something to the woman who had wanted handcuffs that looked like some sort of tubing, as if she was on an intravenous drip. She was sitting on the ground, conscious, no handcuffs.

It was quite noisy and must have sounded dire and scary to Lulu who was screaming something along the line of "what sorta hell hole do you live in?" I explained it was not a hell hole, it was east Fort Worth, Fort Worth, known locally as Where the West Begins, with that wild west tradition held up regularly by incidents like the one last night at Krogers.

I was almost back to my van when I saw a MedStar ambulance drive by. I said to Lulu I think they called in an ambulance but it missed the entry. I saw it then turn around and head into the parking lot.

I saw nothing in the morning Star-Telegram about last night's incident. Just like I never saw anything about an incident of a couple days ago when I returned from hiking Tandy Hills Park to see 2 female cops, slowly making their way to a closed dry cleaner, guns at the ready, speaking into those shoulder communication devices you see on cop shows.

I've grown used to the occasional notice being put on my door telling me there has been yet one more armed robbery in the neighborhood, advising that caution be taken when out after dark. Since I've been in Texas I've happened upon one murder scene, after the fact, several murders have occurred in my neighborhood, including that nationally reported one of a few years back where a woman, I think it was a woman, ran into someone who got stuck in her windshield, so she drove home and parked in her garage and left the victim to slowly die. And then got rid of the body. I think, if I remember right, her defense was she was tired and didn't notice the man stuck in her windshield til a few days later.

I probably should get a gun and holster if I'm gonna keep living here. Or some mace. Can the general public buy tasers?