Something Profound Can Change Your Life in an Instant

There was never a time in my life when I have had absolutely no idea of what to do as the time I found out my dad had just been held up at gunpoint.  All I could think about was how could that happen?  How something so profound changes your life so fast?

He just went to work one day, like everyday.  My dad and his partner, Mr. Floyd, are the largest apartment owning partnership in the Bay Area.  They own almost three hundred units in Redwood City.  They take run down apartments and fix them up since Mr. Floyd is a contractor; my dad runs the management aspect of the company.  Most of the tenants are low-income Hispanic families.

Last week they were in their office at one of the complexes they own and as they were stepping out the door to go home two men come around the corner with guns pointed to their heads.  What do you do in a situations like that, where the men are yelling at you “you are going to die” and “do you think they recognize us?”  The two men wanted money; they took my dads wallet and his wedding ring.  They finally left because my dad said that there was some money in the car and when the two men went out to get it, my dad and Mr. Floyd locked the door on them.

The two men did steal the car but it was found a block away.  However, that night the car in front of our house was broken into.  They knew where we lived.  We had all the locks changed and a security system put in the next day.  I never realized how one instant could change a person’s life so much.  How in one moment everything could be fine and the next your life could be destroyed.

I don’t understand how someone deals with something like that afterwards.  Just seeing how much my dad has changed now from a week ago.  He looks over his shoulder everywhere he goes, he keeps a closer eye out for my sister, Kaitlyn, he is scared every moment of his life now.  And for what, some money?  Our lives were literally turned into hell in an instant because of two greedy men.

Days went by with my dad looking over his shoulder at every step, he still is even now, he still had to go out and manage the apartments.  He told me later that he had already had about ten people come up to him and stick their finger in his back and start screaming as a joke.  They thought it was funny.  The last was a seventy-year-old woman who later told him why do you think we have so many kids.  We hope in twenty-five years we have at least five of them left.

The realization struck me that they have to deal with this every day of their lives.  The ice cream man got held up last month four times for twenty dollars, what did my dad expect with all the rent money he had on him?  What made him different and so special that he wasn’t going to be held up, just because he was a middle class white man?  That didn’t make any difference; the only difference was that he was now brought into what they had to live daily.

My dad knows just about everyone there is in Redwood City.  The day after the hold up one of the tenants who was a former leader of a gang, now reformed, came up and told my dad by the end of the week he would know who the two guys were and he would go out and kill them.  During the course of the week, my dad got a great many of the same type of comments.  To all of which he responded: you have had your chance to make it through a bad time in your life, let them have their own chance now.  All I really want is my wedding ring back.  Violence doesn’t solve anything it just makes it worse.

Violence is perceived in different ways by different people.  My family has only just recently been made aware of the extent unto which it still takes place, yet we still can not grasp the magnitude of what some people have to face everyday.  The violence in their own societies that they have to live with and become accustom to.  There is a naivety in our world today, at least in most upper middle class societies, that blocks out the whole reality of what is faced with people just a neighborhood away.  Violence doesn’t solve anything; it is just viewed in different ways.

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~ by wolfangel87 on December 3, 2010.

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