I picked up James from just outside of Candlestick Park in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco. It was one of those chilly, cloudy San Francisco days where Carl the Fog was prominent.(yes, San Franciscans have named the fog, Carl)
Bayview has been described to me by passengers as, “where the poor people live,” “a rough area,” “an underserved neighborhood.” (Those are the least offensive descriptions, I’ll spare you the rest.) I was driving James to SFU, where he is a student studying nursing. James lives in Bayview because it is just about the only area of town that has near affordable housing. Apartments go for around $700 a month rather than up to $3600 to share. These are real numbers!
Bad parking decisions? Guns may be drawn!
We drove over train tracks and through what felt like a forgotten industrial city. The conversation about breaking traffic laws quickly evolved into talk about how crime is handled by police. One instance that James recounted was of how a cop handled a situation where an SUV was parked randomly in the middle of an intersection, blocking traffic. He witnessed an officer get out of her patrol car with her gun pulled behind her back, while approaching the vehicle. When she arrived at the driver’s side window she found that there was no one in the car.
Masked gunman meets Dr. Ninja
James lit up when I told him I lived eleven months in Baltimore City. James’ cousin was involved with a frightening situation.
James’ cousin John was a student and research scientist at Johns Hopkins University. He is also a katana enthusiast who owned a sizable collection of samurai swords. John was home studying one evening when he heard unusual noises coming from the downstairs. John and his housemates cautiously went to investigate. When they arrived, they found a masked gunman in their home. The gunman lunged and attacked John and his roommates.
For the gunman, this did not end well. In the scuffle, John severed off his hand and delivered several cuts to his upper body. The intruder was taken to the hospital where he was announced dead on arrival. James had mentioned another intruder that John had decapitated. Whether that’s true is debatable.
Unfortunately, the gunman was near 50-years-old and had just gotten released from prison two days prior. It’s easy to see John as the hero, which in many ways he was, but at what cost?
It’s sad that cases like this can ruin the lives of many people. John had to leave Johns Hopkins University. It was unclear if the university asked him to leave or if it was his decision. I believe the later. James was surprised that he left. He had said, “I thought he would get mad girls!”
I don’t know about you, but I would be a little freaked out to date the guy that sliced up and killed a home invader. Or would I?
What do you think? Would you?