Tag Archives: crime

Violated.

A few weeks ago, a man broke into my home. While I was sleeping. And I had no idea.

Now, I was fortunate in that none of my stuff was taken and (most importantly) I was not harmed. Not the case for my roommate, whose room he entered while she was thankfully not at home, who lost some personal belongings. Or for my friends, in another unit within the same complex, who he visited the very next day. Or another neighbor, who was visited last week.

Once I realized what happened, I just felt sick. I put on a brave face and joked while law enforcement was investigating, but sleeping did not come easy for me anymore. A hammer was placed next to my shower; a drill by my bed. (just. in. case.) Returning home would involve laps around the building to ensure all windows were closed and no suspicious persons were about.

Since then, I’ve called the police twice. Once because I heard a loud noise and a car stalling outside my window at 4am. The other because I saw someone who didn’t belong (and 45 minutes later a house down the street was broken into and a man, later confirmed to be the same who had hit up my building, was arrested).

I just feel sick that someone, a stranger, could take my sense of security from me. Not that I was careless before–I have always been quite cautious. But not being able to feel secure in the daytime?!  What. an. asshole.

But you know what? I’m not going to let it get me down. I keep referring to the Whos in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Here they were, their Christmas ruined by this asshole who crept into their homes and stole their cheer. And how did they respond? Not by hiding or lashing out but by banding together and singing with holiday cheer. That’s the way I wanted to be.

So, other than locking my bedroom door at night and not leaving my windows open–even a crack–if I’m not home, I’m not going to let the burglars win. I’m just going to keep smiling and living my life MY WAY. Does this make me stupid? No. Burglaries/crime can happen anywhere. Be aware of your surrounding and be cautious, but don’t lose your liberty and security because of fear.

(But I have programmed the non-emergency police line into my phone. Just in case. :))

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Haunted.

This late summer/fall, as well as the fall before, I worked on some murder cases.  Four separate cases, two murders.  Three of them went to trial, one didn’t (the defendant passed away in jail before he could appear in court).  I will not go into the details of these cases, in order to protect the memory of the victims.

During the trials, I looked forward with a morbid curiosity to the testimony of the medical examiner.  Autopsy pictures would be shown.  Details would be discussed of the manner of death and what happens after death.  For example, if a body is laying on one side for a long time, the blood will pool inside the body on that side and bruising will occur.  Morbid, but I loved these details.

I loved learning these intimate details.  I loved gaining a little more understanding on what happens to the body when it incurs such trauma.

I sat in the same room with the victims’ families as these images were shown on the projector, as the medical examiner discussed in cold, medical terms the fate of their loved ones.  And yet I was still fascinated by every little detail and sat forward in my seat so I wouldn’t miss a single moment.

Was I unaffected?  I don’t know.  I think it was more that, at those moments, I separated the human element from the medical data.  I separated the person from the body.

And all this time, whenever I think back to those trials, I still think of how cool it was to learn all that information.

Yet the other night, as I was laying in bed, an image flashed before my eyes out of nowhere.  It was one of the autopsy pictures of one of the victims.  Then the details flooded in–why there was bruising in certain areas, the positioning of the victim’s hands.  And it was too much.

But at the same time, it made me feel good.  It made me feel whole.  Like it or not, I was affected by what I saw and what I heard.  I may be able to separate it out when I need to, but I am still human.

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An Encounter with a Mugger

In the late summer of 2006, my friend Gilly and I had a bizarre late night encounter with a methed-out mugger.

We were walking home from Wellman’s after our Law Review beginning-of-year BBQ/Bar Outing.  Our spirits were high–we were starting our last year of law school and had just had several Jaeger bombs.  And I mean SEVERAL.

The walk home was great.  It was one of those perfect summer nights and even though it was 2am everything just seemed so great and happy.  We were laughing and talking about how it felt like college all over again.  I even nabbed a sign out of someone’s yard.

When we were about 3 blocks from my apartment, our walk was interrupted.  We were on 35th street about to cross Cottage Grove when a small, junky car abruptly turned on to Cottage Grove, stopping us in our tracks.

Without shutting off the car, a man stepped out of it and approached us.

“Ladies, it’s your lucky night.”

If it wasn’t for the numerous Jaeger Bombs, perhaps I would have been better at describing him.  The next day, Gilly and I gave the detective different descriptions.  We fail at life.  From what I remember, he was of medium-build and had long, scraggly dark hair.  He was wearing clothes a stoner in the 90s would have worn.  That is all I can remember.

When he stopped, my first thought was that he was stopping to offer us a ride, hence saying it was our “lucky night” to have been offered a ride by such a kind, kind gentleman!  I was preparing to insist that we were fine, it was only a few more blocks, when he spoke again:

“Just give me your purses and you won’t get hurt.”

A little background here:  I had recently purchased a pricey purse and in it was my fancy digital camera and my iPod.  I was not giving those up.

Without really thinking, I heard myself saying “No.”

“Listen, I really need the money.  Just give me your purses.”

Again, I speak up: “I’m sorry, sir, but us giving you our purses would not really help you with that.  I have no cash, and you’d have to sell the items first in order to make money.”

I should add that during this whole time, he was standing between his car and us with the passenger door open.  I could see his hands at all times, and for this reason (and the fact I drunkenly thought I could “take him”) I was not intimidated by him.

“Ladies, come on.  Just give me your purses.  These (expletives) are chasing after me and I really need the money.”

“Do you want us to call the police,” I asked him, “and tell them you are in danger from those men?  Do you need any help?  We can help you.”

“Just give me forty bucks.”

Gilly had forty books in her purse and promptly got it out and handed it to him.  He grabbed it, and hopped back in his car–what I later described as a “piece of shit Escort” to the cops.

He was gone.

We walked another block and I got out my phone to call 911 to report the crime.  We were routed through to campus security who was on their way.

After I hung up the phone, I LOST it.  I had been so composed and so brave the whole time, but all at once everything just came out. (very similar to the Slipknot experience, which is another story for another day).  The police came, we told them what happened (Gilly now being the brave, together one), and they drove us the remaining two blocks to my apartment.

While I would probably (hopefully) react differently and value my life over my property in the future, I still like to look back on my moment of bad-ass bravery and pat myself on the back.  I RULE.

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