Greeting from Columbia Heights...

an article in the Washington Post on Sunday about the growing popularity of these Airsoft BB guns made me think about throwing some words up on the page

Greetings from Columbia Heights, Washington DC
a few weeks back...
the Monday before the 24 Hours of Big Bear after the DCMTB-City Bikes team meeting I walked over to MattyD's place with Joe Foley to grab some Serfas SWAG
both Joe and I needed some glasses for the approaching weekend of 24 hour racing so we went to pillage the team captain's basement

after scoring some sweet shades and some other random SWAG Joe and I said our goodbyes to MattyD and went on our way

just as I am able to estimate the date with some accuracy I can also make a solid guess at the time of the evening
it was five after ten when Joe and I left MattyD's Columbia Heights home
I know this because I was a tad frustrated because all of our hanging out and talking had made it such that I could not grab a six pack in my neighborhood as they stop selling carryout after 10PM

Joe was on foot and I was rolling at a walking pace on my cross bike
we had moved the distance of several houses down the alley behind MattyD's when I heard some whizzing and some zipping by my ear and then felt something strike the back of my right leg

I reached back and felt the back of my leg
then told Joe that we best pick up the pace as we were being shot at

the thought... "dam kids" went through my head

when at Joe's car we looked at the damage
the unknown projectile had not broken through my thick Cardhart pants
but the projectile had struck my leg with enough force to break the skin
there was a puncture and immediate bruising
some discomfort
but the bigger issue is what had happened
this prank was something more than a nerf gun dart or a paint ball

after being shot at I never looked down the alley to see the shooter
nor did I look back to see where the shots were coming from
it was a greater concern to not be shot again than to identify anyone
but what did stick in my mind was the layout of the alley
that there were houses at the end of the alley
meaning someone had shot me from inside their home

the sniper shot from within their own house
which backed my thinking that the person who shot me was a child
a child maybe younger than thirty
as we grow up slow in this society

boys will be boys!
I know... I still have boyish tendencies

but... when I am a boy doing stupid boy things we I do this sort of thing among friends
the father in me has wizened me up to the dangers of bb guns and fireworks
but when I did toy with bottle rockets or cheap bb guns
I never shot strangers passing by
which makes me think that this is something bigger
with the notion that this could have been more serious had I been shot some where else
had the BB hit direct skin or struck the face... well... the damage would have been greater

I can only think how the response would be if I shot at people passing by my house...
certainly it would not be viewed as a prank
it would be weighted more than a laugh

1 comment:

dcdouglas said...


Something like this happened to me a couple of years ago when commuting home from work. There was a kid (maybe 13 years old) on his porch taking pot shots with a BB gun (not pellet air rifle) at the street sign on the corner. He waited until just the right moment when I would be in line with the sign to take a shot at me. The first thing I did was to lock up my brakes. I wheeled around and said something like "What the F*%K are you thinking shooting at me?" His father (who was washing his truck parked on the street) said "Apologize to the man". The kid reluctantly did and I left grumbling loudly. Considering the problem DC has with guns, who in their right mind would give their kid a BB gun? More importantly, who would let them fire off a few shots from their front porch? The street in question has dozens of cars parked up and down the block, as well as frequent pedestrians w/ kids in tow. The ricochets and missed shots were likely peening off car windows. Without better supervision, this kid is likely destined to head down a hard road in life.