Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Story Behind the Crime Statistics

Something frightening happened to me yesterday. I was nearly mugged and some hoodlum almost got away with all my valuable belongings, including my computer, my wallet, and my smartphone. Fortunately, my inner Sasha Fierce was released and I beat that bitch's ass hard enough to hold onto my bag and scare the wanna-be thief off the bus.

Still, I must admit that I still feel a little frazzled today. OK, and I'm also still a little afraid of riding the 204 bus on Sahara any time soon.

So today, I have my own thoughts on the new Las Vegas crime statistics. Hell, I have my thoughts on the politics of crime in general!

First off, how could something like this happen on an RTC bus? I know, I know, it's public transportation and something like this is destined to happen some time. But come on, I've used MUNI and BART in San Francisco and it didn't happen there. I've used Metro (they use this term for transit, NOT police) in LA and it didn't happen there. I've used MTS and NCTD in San Diego and it didn't happen there. I still use OCTA whenever I'm back in Orange County... And while I sometimes run into some "interesting characters" at the bus stop and on the bus, I've never experienced a violent crime there.

So what makes RTC in Las Vegas different? Are we doing enough to keep mass transit safe here?

And why is it so damned difficult to report a crime to Metro (Vegas' police)? That thug threatened me. He nearly stole almost $2,000 worth of goods from me! And they "don't do reports over the phone"? And they "close at 8:00 PM"? WTF??!!

Am I still angry? You bet your sweet ass I am! Am I overreacting?

Wait... Am I taking this the wrong way?

Should I be afraid to use the bus? Should I be afraid to walk or use transit in "inner city neighborhoods"?

Honestly, I feel confused right now. Part of me wants to buy a gun and blow off anyone who ever tries to threaten my life and steal my stuff ever again. Part of me feels revolted by my own feelings. Again, I just feel confused.

Am I right to think about getting a gun license? Am I wrong to look suspiciously at "gangsta looking urban youth" walking my way? Am I racist? Am I going gun crazy? Have I forgotten how to function in the city?

I still feel confused.

It's easy for me to proclaim progressive values when they're just concepts, but what happens when something happens to me? Do I just become selfish? Do I forsake my better angels to engage in blind prejudice? Do I become a violent person myself?

Such is the story of my life today after experiencing a violent crime last night. I can't deny that I'm shaken. I can't deny that I clutched my bag a little closer to me when I got off the bus at Commercial Center and saw another black man. I can't deny that I really considered going to the gun store today.

I feel filthy. I feel like crap. Am I a victim? Or is this bad karma?

What's the real problem behind the spike in violent crime? Yes, perhaps Metro, RTC, and other local government agencies can do more to keep us safer. And yes, maybe we have our own problems inside us, our own violent demons, that we have to deal with. Maybe our perception of "criminal" needs to change...

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