"Salinas, California has the highest murder rate per capita in the United States."
I can't tell you how many times this has been said to us since we have moved here. We have also received a lot of advice on which parts of town to live in and which parts we should avoid. There are even parts of this town that some residents haven't been to in years. And this is a small town!
The other day, I asked Gavin to show me the "scary" part of town. I think its East Salinas. As we drove through, I did not have one ounce of fear or worry. I even went to the Rite Aid to grab something. I did get the feeling that little white girls don't frequent that Rite Aid by many of the looks that I got from other customers, but I wasn't afraid. I'm not worried about someone shooting me in Rite Aid for no reason. The East side (why is it always the East side?) reminded me a lot of what it looks like when you drive through parts of Mexico. Apparently, there is a lot of gang activity which is the reason for the high murder rate. I kept wondering if I should be afraid of something, since we've been told so many times about how bad Salinas is. But, the fear never came. Gavin and I started talking a bit about why we are not afraid. Maybe we are just naive and stupid. Probably because we know the Lord will always protect us, or if He decided to allow something to happen to us, it would be for greater purpose. OR..its because we SPENT THE LAST 13 YEARS LIVING IN TACOMA!
We started talking about all of the things that happened to us while we lived in Tacoma. I don't think we ever realized the crazy amount of things that happened that should have made us full of fear and anxiety! We made a list.
1. In college, while I was home alone at the Garfield house, a drunk homeless man came pounding on my front door (which was almost entirely windows). He was convinced that he had lived in that house as a child and was begging me to let him in and take a look. I politely talked to him through the door then ran upstairs and called a friend (thanks Brice!) and he came and took the guy somewhere.
2. Also in college, Gavin stayed out super late playing video games with some friends and on the drive home at a stop sign, a man was out in his yard. He stormed over to Gavin's car and started yelling at him about something and pounded on his car window. He motioned to Gavin to roll down the window, but instead Gavin sped off. The guy jumped into his own car and started chasing Gavin! It was about 2am and the dude was totally drunk. After running a red light, Gavin lost him, but was pretty shaken up. He slept with a baseball bat that night.
3. My purse was stolen 3 times. Once from a deli, once from an Arby's and once from my car outside of the YMCA.
4. In our first house in Parkland, a hit and run accident occurred right outside of our house.
5. Our lawn caught on fire by a firework in middle of the day in June (when the 4th of July really begins in Parkland).
6. A 6'5" tall man who had recently been released from prison frequently began dropping by our house. Tony, always needed money for groceries for the kids, the electric bill, the car, etc. But when we would offer to go get the groceries or go pay his bill to help, the story would change and he wanted the cash. After a couple of months we talked with a few of our neighbors about our issues with Tony. The next day, Tony came by to "have a talk" with Gavin outside. I'm pretty sure he would have punched Gavin had Gavin not been holding a baby.
7. Our car was stolen.
8. In our first apartment a few months after we had been married, we were woken up by sirens and police lights. Our entire apartment complex was surrounded by police cars because an armed robber had led them on a high speed chase and was now hiding under a car in our parking lot.
9. Someone drove into our cul-de-sac and exploded a pipe bomb at 2am and then drove off.
10. Our car stereo was stolen twice. Once when the car was stolen and once in the mall parking lot.
11. We were kept awake by a party being held at our neighbors. Around 2am I looked outside and saw the neighbor's children watching their parents playing drinking games. I think I remember a kid who looked around 10, holding the beer bong for one of the adults.
12. Multiple times, I went to park in my garage and there were homeless men sleeping/drinkng/hanging out and blocking my garage door. I would then park in front of the house.
13. Every couple of weeks we would be awoken by the street racing down 6th Ave on Saturday night.
14. One night at home we heard a woman screaming outside, "Don't hurt me! Don't hurt me!" We ran outside and it was a boyfriend and girlfriend fighting in their car. We called the police, but the woman ended up just walking away down the street and not letting anyone help her.
15. I received a phone call from my neighbor, Jen asking me if I was home. She said that there were two people having sex in a car parked outside of our house. They arrived in separate vehicles and apparently thought our street was the perfect place for that. She called the police.
16. A woman came knocking on our door asking for gas money after midnight. We didn't have any cash on us, so we couldn't help and she didn't want us to drive her to the gas station. A couple of days later we drove by where she lived and saw that they had been evicted from the house and all of their belongings were out in the yard. They were dealing/doing drugs.
17. We were constantly driving by nearby houses that were being quarantined for meth production/use.
18. Our car window was bashed in twice. Once, outside of our house. Once, at the YMCA.
19. Gavin's subaru was broken into and his bluetooth headset was taken...along with all of his loose change.
And that, my friends is why we are not afraid.