My neighbors say it with bullets

New York, NY, USA -- 26 October 2010 | Permalink
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We were having supper when we heard the shots. They came in quick succession, in groups of two, with a slight hesitation between the second and the third report.

"I don't think that was firecrackers." I said.

"It can't be gunfire," said M. "I counted seven."

"I made it six." I said. "And in any case, there are plenty of handguns that take clips with more than six rounds."

"Oh." she said. "I didn't know."

And with that, we went back to our supper. Things that sound like gunshots — and usually aren't — are commonplace in the neighborhood and there was no immediate follow-up in the shape of screams or wailing sirens.

When we looked out later, the street was full of police, with yellow tape blocking off each intersection from Suffolk to Ridge. An FDNY ambulance and a white ESU truck were pulled up south of Clinton, and there were cruisers all up and down the street. People hung around on the street, watching the comings and goings curiously. No one really seemed to know what had happened.

Later, we learned that the shootings had taken place in front of the building next to mine. Our first guess was that the victims — and perhaps the shooter — would turn out to be some of the kids who usually hang out on that corner, but here we were wrong. The three people injured — none seriously, fortunately — turn out to have been mostly older and the gunman seems to have been at least an acquaintance of one or more of those shot. The NY Daily News ascribes the motive to the hallowed drug deal gone bad, but I'm skeptical about that. If there's any dealing happening on that corner, I've never seen any sign of it. I'd be surprised if someone was doing a deal on a corner that's usually crowded at that time, on a street with constant foot traffic of all kinds (and, quite often, a police presence). That sounds like a poor business plan, even if you're not selling to the kind of customers who are likely to start pulling guns.

As one local gentleman put it the last time the last time the cops turned out in force on our street: "Ah, the Lower East Side — always some kind of bullshit going on."