Lonsberry: Why Do They Shoot Up Houses?

 Back in the day, gunshots into a house were a happenstance.


               Dumbass A would be shooting at Dumbass B a couple of blocks over, and as the sideways nine arced its spray of hollow points they flew far and wide and randomly punched through siding and clapboards and insulation and drywall.


               And that’s how you got a bullet hole in your house.


               It wasn’t unheard of, but it wasn’t common, and it wasn’t malicious.


               It could still kill you, or your kids in their bed, but it wasn’t on purpose.


               Like I said, that’s how it was back in the day.


               But we don’t live there anymore, and it’s not an accident anymore. And the incidents of bullets into a house, two or three times a week on the morning news, are as malicious as hell. Punk asses getting ballsy and pissing on the tree.


               And some people are getting shot.


               And soon somebody will get dead.


               Anymore, it’s all on purpose. The car pulls up, the malefactor walks past, and the shots ring out, aimed at the house, emptying the magazine, spraying it.


               It happened last night. Maybe it’ll happen again tonight.


               But why? Who wants to shoot a house?


               Somebody who’s trying to intimidate the people who live in that house.


               If you pay attention to the news reports, you find that a good percentage of the homes targeted have two or three adults and four or five kids. They are family homes. Parents, maybe grandparents, and little people who, if they survive the night, will go to school tomorrow, where, if they survive the day, will come home and try to find sanctuary in a city where few nights pass without gunfire, where few days pass without bloodshed, where few lives pass without scarring of the body or soul, ripped by the sword of evil.


               They’re family homes.


               Family homes where moms and dads want to raise their children in decency, cleanliness and safety, without the fear or filth that spread like cancer in urban America.


               And that’s why they get shot up.


               A family moves into a neighborhood, a couple of doors down and across the street from a drug house. They are different. They are new. The cops hassle the drug house. The drug dealers presume it’s the newbies raising stink. So they shoot up the family home, to chase them out or to cow them with fear.


               Or maybe the cops are canvassing a neighborhood, looking for someone who saw something or heard something, and maybe somebody thinks they lingered too long at someone’s door, and that night someone’s house gets shot up.


               Or maybe it’s cousins of a homicide, or somebody who got done bad, and the family or friends of the criminal think the family or friends of the victim are helping the cops and so somebody’s house gets shot up.


               It’s a brushback pitch. It’s a horse’s head in your bed.


               It’s a reminder that evil is all around.


               And that you might die tonight. That your sleep is not safe. That there is a boogeyman, and he’s not a figment of your imagination.


               Sometimes they shoot horizontally, into the ground-floor living room, where they think the couch is, facing the widescreen that glows through the window. Most times, the house darkened in the black night, they stand on the sidewalk or across the street and shoot upward into the second-floor bedrooms, where the sleeping families are, breaking hearts or shedding blood, inflicting terror or taking life.


               That’s pretty much how they do it today.


               That’s how you end up with bullet holes in your house. That’s how you end up terrified for your kids. That’s how you end up with a Go Fund Me to buy them a coffin.


               “Now I lay me down to sleep,” they used to teach kids to whisper beside their beds, “I pray the Lord my soul to keep.


               “And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”


               These days, that’s the Rochester prayer, recast for a new day and a new depravity.


               The cops run from ShotSpotter to ShotSpotter, trying to catch them before they get away, and neighbors duck and recoil, conditioned to a warzone flinch, and life goes on.


               Until it doesn’t.


               And you get your 45 seconds on the evening news.


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