Apparently there are gang confrontations erupting all over the south side.
The one that's of interest to me is the one at 67th & Blackstone. That intersection has had three shootings already this summer.
Yet one can never anticipate when or where deadly violence may occur. The old rules dictated that violence usually didn't happen until the late afternoon or early evening, after the sun went down or on the weekends.
Clearly those "rules" are out the window.
Shootings happen every day at any hour of the day.
In order to effectively (and healthfully) live my life, I've developed a few rules for moving around not just the south side but the city in general.
1. I avoid standing near groups of young men.
I have yet to see girls pick up weapons and do a drive by. I'm not saying it doesn't happen but if it does, it's rare. In my experience when something jumps off, a group of young men---or sometimes even old men---have a beef with another group of men. Standing in close proximity to them can oft times be hazardous as bullets don't have eyes.
To avoid standing near groups of young men who tend to loiter at bus stops.
3. I avoid the crazy.
When someone is ranting or playing their music from their phone really loud, it would seem to me that either consciously or subconsciously they want to provoke a confrontation.
Sometimes this type of person can be by themselves or in a group. This can be a tricky maneuver as you want to avoid provocation but at the same time not appear scared. You have to weigh the circumstances---the time of day, how many people are around you and your potential escape routes before you can make a sound judgment.
The exception to that rule is *this* guy.
4. I put on my game face.
You know the one, the "don't mess with me face." The face that says I'll cut you from the rooter to the tooter. The face that gives out looks that say I'll stab you and leave you bleeding in the aisle.
Yeah, that face.
It usually stops the crazies from setting upon you. It also helps by looking everyone in their eye. Hold their gaze so they know that you know that the game is afoot.
5. I shop early in the morning.
Nothing ruins a Target run like being mistakenly shot.
Usually, if you get up and out of the house within the first hours of the store opening you should be fine. I usually like to be there when the doors open. Most of your sketchy types are just going to bed or are passed out from a night of partying to be of much trouble. Now this rule can also backfire as robbers may hit a store right when they open, so as always keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings. If you see three guys in a women's clothing store when it opens and they *don't* work there, that is not a good sign. Use extreme caution.
I know these rules are an illusion but it helps me from being paralyzed with fear.
After all, not leaving the house is not an option for me and many other Chicagoans.