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Friday, March 03, 2006

Dope Slap

This past Saturday, while we were thankfully in Tampa -- reported to me by my boss via his friend, the prominent attorney whose firm handles our closings and who lives in our neighborhood and who heard it from the police as a caution because he himself has a whole passel of kids -- a man tried to lure a young girl into his car while cruising our neighborhood. The child ran away and told her mother who promptly called the police. Later, in another nearby residential area, there was a second report of similar activity matching the description of the 'man in the white car.'

So we have a child predator in the neighborhood.

Why should I be surprised? Your choice of residence usually boils down to: 1) live, hopefully anonymously, among the creeps, or 2) move into the best insulated environment you can afford and be their target. I knew that going in. But this is such a small geographicaly isolated little spot. And it's so much quieter and nicer than the east coast or practically anywhere else in Florida. It's not supposed to happen here. It was really only a matter of time. How could I have fooled myself?

Lucky for him I was not a witness. If I didn't have time to run inside and grab my .38 for a little target practice on his tires, I would have a least given him a reason to visit the auto body shop after grabbing the cane cutter out of my car. And not just because he is a dangerous scumbag preying on the innocent, but because he has shattered my hopes (dreams? fantasies?) of ever finding a safe spot to raise my kids.

Then again, one should always be careful about what one wishes for, right? Jorge and I used to say that we were always in search of someplace that was just like Florida was when we were growing up. Today it dawned on me that we have found exactly that. Remember this post? (Eerily enough Carlie Brucia was taken almost two years ago to the day.)

This is primarily an area of retirees. It is easy to spot the houses with kids. A few doors down there's a basketball hoop in the yard. Our girls' bikes and the wagon are plainly visible parked on the side of the house. Do I feel safe? No, I do not. Right now my younger two are sitting on the skateboard Gracie got for her birthday, careening down the slope of our driveway and into the street (there's hardly ever any traffic at all, except for the occasional pedophile) under my watchful eye.

When I relayed news of the weekend's events to Jorge, his reply, a concerned, "Hmmm," was echoed by the imaginary sound of a door slamming shut behind us.

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