Love and Pepper Spray
Sometimes love is shown with flowery hearts and large boxes of expensive chocolates. Other times it is in the words printed and embellished on heavy card stock and given to you on Valentine’s Day or other holidays.
First let me say that I am very grateful to even have a roof over my head. My income of $1013 per month (after they take my payment for my Medicare out of my disability payments) is right at what is considered the Poverty Level cutoff in the U.S. The fact that I am able to purchase my home is due to the fact that my mother and step-father happened to own a rental house that had recently become vacant. No bank would be crazy enough to loan $60,000 to me with that kind of income.
I love my house. 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms a yard that is fenced in with chain link fencing in the back. That keeps the coyotes that wander through the open lots behind my house, away from my yard. For me it is the perfect size to allow me to have friends and family come visit should they so desire.
HOWEVER…..this is a big however here, the area has slid downhill in the years since my step-father started buying houses to fix up and rent out. Years ago there were grand plans for California City, or Cal City as it is known to the locals. At one time the area was booming with Aerospace being a big draw for young families to come and live and work in the area. We are fairly close to Edwards Air Force Base and both military families and civilian support staff as well as employees for the big aerospace companies flocked to the area looking for affordable housing and a shorter commute to work. My step-father worked for JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) yeah he was an actual honest to goodness rocket scientist!
The economy in the area has been circling the drain for quite awhile now. Jobs out here are practically non-existent. The local paper’s job section is rarely more than one column and most of that is space fillers. As I was writing this I checked online with the local paper, The Mojave Desert News and found zero jobs and no classified ads at all. That tells you a lot. The local news includes details as to why Sex Offender Laws are being repealed because the city is afraid they will be sued by sex offenders. Really? The actual law that they repealed? One concerning Halloween…..The law prevented sex offenders from decorating their houses in a way that would attract children to them and prevented the sex offenders from leaving their porch lights on (the signal in the U.S. at least, that the home has candy to distribute on Halloween) and from answering their doors to small children as they Trick or Treat on Halloween night. They are more concerned about what sex offenders MIGHT do, than they are about protecting the children of the law abiding citizens of the city. Mind you there are no sex offenders protesting the laws, nobody suing the city. They are repealing the law over something that MIGHT happen.
As a parent and a grandparent of small children I am HORRIFIED by this.
But all of this is just another indication of how the area has declined since my mom and step-father left the area and retired to Missouri where my step-father’s family is from. When I visited them here years ago the town was a quaint little desert town with one street light and one main road in and out of town. There were tiny little shops here and there and one small market with the basic necessities. You had to drive 15 miles to get to a decent sized grocery store and that is still the way it is. They did get a Dollar General Market recently but that still has very limited groceries and to get any decent food items you still have to go to Mojave.
There are other more serious indication of decline if you know where to look for them. Now there are graffiti covered stop signs and abandoned, boarded up buildings. If you look up you will see pairs of shoes tied together with the laces and tossed up to hang from telephone lines. I had learned during the years we lived in Las Vegas that this is a gang thing. Yes, gangs have now made their way to small town America all over the map and they have made their way here.
Los Angeles is a mere 108 miles from here and slowly the poverty stricken masses are moving away from the city centers and out to places like Cal City. Section 8 (low income housing subsidy program) residences are common out here and welfare recipients go where the Section 8 housing is.
When I visited here years ago the streets were quiet, people nodded at you in the stores and everything had a clean albeit windswept look to it. Now half of the stores are vacant and trash is blown up against empty store fronts. Where you used to see people riding about in their personal golf carts you now see young punks walking holding their baggy ill fitting jeans and empty shopping carts scattered about empty lots. A visit to the local gas station and liquor store takes longer now as the lines contain many men, young and old alike, purchasing their daily malt liquor.
The gas station on the corner closest to my house has rolling papers and hookahs prominently displayed along with large signs posted everywhere regarding shop lifting.
My son took one look around the town and began asking about the safety here. It was when we stopped to pick up pizza that he finally had confirmation of his suspicions. The chatty cashier at the pizza place confirmed that there had been a drive by shooting as recently as 2 weeks ago. Oh boy, goody. She confirmed all of my son’s worst fears.
And so it was that on this late Friday night, my son and I drove to Rite-Aid on the corner of our only 4 way light and after telling me to lock my doors, he ran in and bought dear old Mom her first can of pepper spray.
Never have I felt so loved.
Posted on October 5, 2014, in Life, Parenting and tagged Blog 101, Crime, decline, drive by, laws & sex offenders, living alone, Love, pepper spray, personal safety, Safety, Section 8, sex offender, small town crime. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.