Friday, March 06, 2009

Gunshots In The Night...What It Means If You Live There


One of my favorite things about good blogging is the Gonzo aspect of the thing.

And I'm not talking about the bombast or the blather.

Instead, I'm talking about posts and points of view from folks who are really experiencing what they are writing about (ie. those that are both part of a story and able to tell us about it too).


And when it comes to how it feels to actually be living, not as a gangster or a cop, but rather as a young mom with a nose for the 5W's, with the gunshots going off outside your front door, I have read nothing that compares to the stuff from Laila Yuile, who lives out in Newton.

The following are a few excerpts from just one of her many posts on the topic:

"The second period of the Canucks game had just started at about 8pm, as the sound of shots rang loud and clear as if outside my door. I froze in disbelief and shivered as I listened in shock.

Four shots in quick succession, followed by perhaps another 4, slower and more deliberate .

Making sure someone was in charge of the kids, I grabbed my camera and ran down the street at full speed ….. to the sound of sirens approaching.

By the time I made it to 68th avenue, officers were arriving on the scene and I joined up with one of them as we walked towards the home where the most recent shootout occurred.....


I spoke with some of the people on the scene, and it is clear that the neighbourhood has undergone a radical change in recent years. A trio of ladies I spoke with nodded in agreement when talking about the problems we are facing with drugs and prostitution, and now, gang violence. It was mentioned that there are several gangsters who are known to live in the immediate area, which lead to talk about how we can protect ourselves if we are not even safe to walk our dogs at night without fear of being in the cross fire......

Now, truth be told, I really like how Ms. Yuile writes so clearly about what she has seen and what others have told her that they have seen (which aren't necessarily the same thing).

And while I don't always agree with her, I also like the way that she gives her honest and heartfelt opinions about a subject based on all of those 'seens'.

And what I like even more is that her method reminds of something that the King of Gonzo himself once said, back before he got both dumb and famous, when he was asked what separated him from the subjects of his reportage (and I'm paraphrasing from memory here):

"Not much....Except that I've got a gimmick.....Which is.....I can write."

Powerful stuff that, don't you think?

And if you don't see that opening above, about the hockey game and the shots outside the door, for what it is (ie. one kinghell of an inverted pyramid lead with an embedded symbiotic trapezoid quote), well, you just don't give a hoot-in-heckfire about the so-called 'new journalism'.


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