Monday, June 18, 2007

DISTURBING NEWS

Dear Friends,
I'm sad to be posting this.

Trust me, I'd rather be writing about Tahoe and Father's Day and the first day of summer camp (and I will), but instead I find myself needing to write about our home.

In many ways, I've loved living in Marin City. The weather's gorgeous, a terrific bike path is minutes away, the library's across the street, and we live among a friendly and diverse community of people. Our neighbors are of different races, religions, economic status, and abilities -- and I've loved that Dane and Aubrey find such diversity normal and good.

However, I never EVER want them to believe violence and violation are normal, and, quite frankly, this is an aspect of Marin City that infuriates and terrifies me.

Remember my post about the Iranian woman who was mugged? Since then, there have been several muggings -- of men, women and teens.

Remember my post about Dane's bike being stolen? Well, I hate to say it, but a kid broke into our garage just 2 weeks ago and rode off with the replacement bike we'd purchased that week for Dane. A man in the parking lot saw it happen, called the sheriff, and within minutes a sheriff was at my door asking me down to my garage to file a report. (Good news: I told one of my favorite little 4th grade boys about it and he was on the lookout for it. Two days later, he found it on the lawn across from the library, banged up but fixable. He is NOT a suspect. AT ALL.)

A local pastor was recently picked up at 3 a.m. wandering around drunk, with a crack pipe in his jacket. To his church's credit, they held day-long and night-long vigils in the community (I could hear them from my balcony), focusing on the sickness of addiction, reminding each other to look out for each other: If it could happen to their pastor, it could happen to anybody.

Marin City needs help.

There's more evidence that would make you sick to your stomach, but I'll just include this final piece.

This ugly, evil event seems, unfortunately, to represent the risk of living here. It fits with the reputation Marin City residents have tried valiantly to overcome, but, honestly, haven't.

In spite of all the love and kindness and goodness found in the rest of my neighbors and our friends at Dane's school, such an assault weighs heavily on me. In spite of the huge list of reasons I could give for living here, I question my standards of safety, and try to assess my ability to keep us all safe here for one more year. There's an ominous, scary tone to such a statement; I can only hope that by articulating it, I can come up with a good solution.

Of course, it all begs the bigger question: What needs to be done to make it safe here? What needs to be done that's not already being done? And can it be done while my family's here?

FYI: Marin City is a very small place -- it feels smaller than most amusement parks. This beating took place just two blocks over from our apartment.

Peace,
Anjie

***

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

MARIN BOY HOSPITALIZED AFTER BEING BEATEN WITH BASEBALL BAT
Diana Walsh and Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, June 18, 2007

(06-18) 12:33 PDT MARIN CITY -- A 13-year-old Marin City boy remains in the hospital with serious head injuries after he was beaten with a baseball bat, allegedly by another 13-year-old who now faces an attempted murder charge, authorities said today.

The suspect, who also lives in Marin City, will appear in juvenile court today. He was arrested early Saturday on the Drake Avenue in Marin City, where the beating took place, said Marin County sheriff's Sgt. Keith Boyd. The suspect's name was not released because of his age.

Boyd said police who responded to a call of a boy bleeding from the head about 4:49 a.m. Saturday found the bat on the street. The victim was taken first to Marin General Hospital, then to Children's Hospital Oakland after his condition stabilized.

The boys know each other, Boyd said. He would not elaborate on what the motive for the attack might have been.

On Sunday, a woman who identified herself as a cousin of the victim said the boy's face was badly disfigured and swollen. She said that he had been conscious when she arrived on the scene and that he had been able to talk to paramedics.

But she added, "I was crying so much, I didn't understand what he said.''

The woman, who asked that her name not be used, said the boy was on a ventilator at Children's Hospital Oakland.

Boyd would not provide specifics on the boy's injuries other to say he was seriously injured.

Garvin Williams, who lives on Drake Avenue, said the two boys were friends and that the incident was not gang-related. "Both of them are good kids; nobody really knows what happened,'' Williams said Sunday as he sat near the blood-spattered concrete where the beating took place.

Shelia Jones lives in a unit just a few yards away, but said she heard nothing until paramedics arrived shortly before 5 a.m. Saturday.

"It's a tragic thing. Two kids' lives have just been destroyed," Jones said.

Jones, the mother of three, said the incident made her think about moving.

"You come out your front door and CSI is here roped through your front yard. That's too close for me,'' she said. "You don't know if you are going to become a witness or a victim."

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

How sad.

I hate violence. But, it so breaks my heart when children are a part of it. I cannot imagine what that must be like for either of the families involved.

One question I'd like to ask both families ~ "What are 13 year old boys doing out @ 4:30 in the freakin morning???"

I'm not out @ that hour & why should kids be either?

We'll be praying for you guys to make a wise decision regarding what is best to do for your family.
And I will definetly be praying for the boy in the hospital. Keep us posted.

~Karen P.

anjie said...

From what my librarian told me tonight, those boys were out unsupervised at an outdoor sleepover. CA-RAZY. She said it turned "Lord of the Flies." In fact, she knows the boy who did the beating and she's very distraught. He was actually a reader who frequented the library -- a generally good kid -- and she believes that unsupervised night brought about something horrible and uncontrolled in these kids. She thinks he has/had no real idea of what that bat was capable of.

Anonymous said...

I also feel like the parents of this unsupervised sleepover should be held accountable for this. I can tell you that my kids don't go to "unsupervised sleepovers".

This is sooo sad. Had they been supervised, the good kids would still be good kids. It breaks my heart.

Natalie said...

Wow, Anjie! Soooo sad. Thanks for this post. I haven't checked people's blogs in what feels like forever, and it was great to read your writings again. Thanks for all that you post. It's fun hearing your "voice" through cyberspace! :)
Take care!! No going out after 7pm, you understand me?! ;)