Any night on Hollywood blvd is an observational adventure. The strays of the city that wander around looking for some kind of action going on just about anywhere. The Hispanic families with their children wandering late night to avoid the cramped confines of the day. There is no bedtime for those kids. The “you got a cigarette” homeless. It’s home to vagabonds the year round but the one night where the super heroes become everyone. The streets run wild with the Halloween mob.
The police all appear cordial this evening. No menace hiding behind their masks just men on a mission to make it through another shift. They gather together, talking. Ask what their kids went as for the event. Strays stand one foot off the sidewalk. Watching the people as they walk and gawk. Several heavy armored riot trucks, with accompanying riot team, have set up shop in front of the train station at Highland. No one’s going down below. Your safe travels will be delayed this evening.
The smell of marijuana hangs heavy. Kids sitting four on a corner, passing around. The high quality variety permeates the breeze. We the people walk in near lock step. Rerouted from our main destination. I am just trying to get home. The availability of criminal activity is at a fever pitch. Concealed by a costume mask and with attention focused elsewhere. Prime time for some action if that’s the kind you are looking for.
Which probably wasn’t the shooters motivation earlier in the evening to shoot three people. Regardless, now here we are. One jackass in a sea of otherwise well behaved people. Rowdy, perhaps but why else gather with your friends and family if not to get a little boisterous. Everyone involved is prepared for these kinds of situations. Say yes sir, put your hands behind your back, and we will all see the sunshine tomorrow. But one. Just that one knucklehead. A child with probably no way to know any better. An army of policemen and four helicopters forced into the friendly skies. Why did you have to do this to me? My body is on a strict diet of no exercise yet I am out walking five extra blocks out of my way. Down to Cherokee where I join the hookers on the prowl. (That’s not actually true. There are no hookers on Cherokee, I just don’t like the post office over there so I condemned the whole road for sake of my petty feud. I apologize to those affected.).
We can be grown ups. We can be friendly. What we can’t do is get so soft as to let that one slide. We know them. That person that’s just not quite clear on the agreement we all have together in a public place. If you want to let them keep ruining Aunt Nina’s cookout, that’s on you. Stop them. If they carry a weapon haphazardly tucked into their waistband without even a belt to keep it all together, sit them down. Smack them around. Just don’t let that burden harsh our collective vibe. We could go all Shirley Jackson’s “Lottery” the next time we have the numbers only placing in the names of the dummies and their families who have no care for the well being of the rest of us.