On a lazy Saturday in March 2022, I was waiting to turn left into the parking lot in front of my apartment in Washington, DC, when I heard a loud noise Crack – seemed to come from inside the car – made my eardrums ring.
I looked at the passenger seat side windshield and saw a break at the point of impact surrounded by circular cracks.
The pain in my ears, as well as the fact that there were no cars passing by that might have thrown up rocks, made me quickly realize that it must have been some kind of projectile.
After briefly jumping out of the vehicle and starting to run, I saw the car roll into the intersection, ducked back in, said a quick prayer, and turned left on a red light, which is generally not advisable.
When the police arrived 30 minutes later, I asked if they thought it was a bullet.
“That could well have been the case,” they replied, before advising me to ask nearby buildings for their security camera footage and return to the middle of the intersection to look for evidence.
Hopefully this doesn’t betray a sense of entitlement, but I couldn’t help but think, “Isn’t that so?” your Work?”
The incident forced me to return to my hometown for a few days, but I mostly ignored it until my old roommate reported this Tuesday that there was one near the apartment building next door to ours, with which we shared a parking space shooting occurred.
What’s more, the perpetrators – who took one life and shot four others – had parked in the spot he and I shared, the same one where I had sought refuge a year and a half ago.
The capital of the world’s richest and most powerful nation is inherently full of potential.
Cultural cross-pollination, the majesty of America’s national monuments, and the abundance of opportunities should make it the perfect place for idealistic young people to settle after college.
But the truth is that I can’t recommend DC in its current state to anyone who values their own safety, regardless of their ambitions.
That’s why my high school girlfriend – who had moved to the capital the year before to support me, with fond memories of visiting her family there as a child – and I picked up and left at the end of July.
The stories we have after just a year in DC are as numerous as they are disturbing.
One evening as we returned from our favorite restaurant, we overheard a young man at Vineyard Vines telling another how his friend had been murdered in a nice neighborhood the month before.
A peaceful afternoon at a rooftop pool was interrupted by gunfire and people scrambling for cover below us.
A friend was attacked by a man who followed her down the street and into her expensive apartment building.
The anecdotes are accompanied by plenty of damning data.
Murders, car thefts and violent crime in general are on the rise, and criminals have become much bolder, striking both in the middle of the day and in the middle of the night.
The shots in front of my old apartment were fired this week shortly after four in the afternoon.
During the 12 months we spent in Washington, my friend often told me she felt like we were living in a ticking time bomb.
Tuesday’s shooting proved once and for all that she was right; Life in DC is no longer just a dream, but the stuff of nightmares.
Isaac Schorr is an employee at Mediaite.