Thursday, January 20, 2011

Shootout in the Wild West - oops, Southeast!

They're saying that not since the 1980's has there been an event like this in Miami. The police went to a suspect's residence today with a warrant and the person started shooting. Three people died - the suspect and two of the officers. They were experienced officers but were outgunned and ambushed. "The bad guys" around here have machine guns and seem to have no respect for life - even their own!

This happened in an area called Liberty City, where I worked a few years back. My clients were homeless, or formerly homeless, mentally ill and drug addicts. I walked those streets and made home visits there.

When I hear news about violence in this area, I take a very deep breath and thank God for protecting me.

I believe that, although some hate the police, most folks like social workers. Social workers come with money, groceries, diapers for the baby, etc. Of course, sometimes social workers come and take the children. That's a dangerous job I've never had to do.

When I went into neighborhoods I stayed alert. If anything looked amiss, I left. Despite my caution, though, I've witnessed a lot: Drug deals on the street; people high on crack in an apartment across from the one I was visiting; a lot of alcohol abuse; fights, urinating in public, etc.

One time I (and my car) got locked inside a gated apartment complex. After that, I continued to make visits there but I became acquainted with the manager and parked my car on the street.

There was another side to working in Liberty City and Overtown. Most of the time I was accorded respect and gracious hospitality by my clients. I was often offered refreshments and the most comfortable seat in the place - next to a window, with a fan blowing on me. I met some very nice people who were doing the best they could with what they had, and were grateful for the assistance of our agency.

I loved that job. The agency I worked for was devoted to improving the well-being of their people. My coworkers were tireless and dedicated, working for low pay, staying late, transporting clients in their own cars, and supporting each other emotionally in a way I've never seen anywhere else.

Eventually I took another position which was closer to home, tamer, and offered a little more money, but I still think of my old co-workers from time to time, and my old clients. They continue to struggle to do the impossible, and I think that is wonderful.

In the meantime, I'm planning my next baby quilt. How do you like these colors?

Life goes on....for the living.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I LOVE these colors! And, I am VERY happy you are retired......
Jude *