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The Sounds of Violence: From my Window

Sometimes I wonder if my life will ever just be quiet and stay quiet. I doubt it somehow. I thought this time here would be quiet, but no. After a few weeks break, the very loud, very aggressive and in my opinion, very dangerous person is back just outside my front door. This is eminently not safe. Homeless liaison services come and give them food and a chat, and leave them right where they are. Police, no doubt will eventually have to come when this person attacks me or someone else yet again. Last night was a horror show of screaming, fighting and yelling from 2am to 4am or so. I woke up, sat bolt upright and recognizing the voice, breathed a sigh of despair. I see a lot of bad stuff from my window. So bad I won’t even write it down. I hear a lot of things that no decent human should ever ignore, and put the headphones in my ears and tune out the sounds of violence.

The sounds of violence are ever present. Screaming. Crying. The sound of sex taken not given in the gutters and alleyway outside. The sounds of overdose. The sounds of mental anguish. The sounds of a city dying and failing to get any real help to stay alive and well. I cannot take any more of these sounds. They torture me.

You see the police have a catch and release policy. They bring them in, spitting and kicking and yelling and threatening. The individual might go to psych ward for a few days, perhaps even a week, then they tip them back out on the street to fail yet again. This person who has been so dangerous, so violent and attracted other dangerous and violent people to the block, is being failed almost as much as the decent homeless people they bully, scream at and attack. They are being failed almost as much as the housed people who have to work and live and pay a lot of rent in order to do so. They are wrecking my ability to write and concentrate. Every time I settle down to work or sleep they start screaming and brawling in the street just outside my window. It is making my life hell. The landlord doesn’t care. The police come and go….and still this troubled and violent soul drifts back. My PTSD is off the charts, having to listen to this violence and screaming sets my already permanently jangled nerves on edge.

The solution would be to house this person and to force them into residential rehab and the intensive and long term psych treatment that they clearly need, taking the pressure off the community and just as importantly, saving this person’s life and helping them have the best possible life they can have.

In the meantime, I am not safe. I don’t feel safe. The fact of the matter is, my beloved San Francisco is lawless. I took a walk down the previous Tenderloin and Mission hotspots – all of them are clear and have been swept. Those people have not been housed, they have just been moved to other areas of the City. SeaCliff won’t have to live with screaming, fighting, drug dealing and constant danger, no way. Nor will Presidio, Cow Hollow or Russian Hill. Instead it is the outer blocks of the Tenderloin, the nicer blocks of Mission, and poor embattled Haight Ashbury that will have to have their right to a peaceful and safe life destroyed because the city fails just about everybody.

I was hoping that there would be a new DA who actually did something positive, but San Francisco votes for more of the same because the main voter base does not have to live with the consequences of their policies – they live up high, in areas which are protected and bad behavior are not tolerated. They vote for things that affect poor people that live in communities and blocks like mine, whilst not having to cope with the consequences. It is unbearable. The city is failing in such a dramatic way that I have no idea how it will ever pull out of this. Can you imagine a Detroit City on the Bay, all this real estate abandoned because eventually the problems will force all the rich and working-poor out of the area. The failure to address the issues and solve them, instead smearing the suffering around the city, will eventually destroy poor beautiful San Francisco.

I can’t begin to describe how much I love this City. It is my lifeblood. It has a life and an energy of its own. Right now we are going through a painful transition from rich tech city, to failing hellhole. There are more and more homeless and desperate people on the street every day that passes, and more lose their jobs, or can’t afford to pay for life due to uncontrolled inflation.

I am huddling down, wondering how to survive the inevitable loud furious onslaught of being subjected to this person’s violence, screaming and mental health breakdown, whilst trying to keep my own stability intact. I behave myself. I eat my cannabis gummies, I am writing and trying to get published where I can, I have been fighting for my own survival whilst living with the very real and very severe damage of years of rape and abuse. The last time this person outside saw me in the street they threatened to have me raped by one of their friends. I had done and said nothing to them. I was simply trying to walk on by. Threats like that are terrible, and as meaningless as they are to most, including the fucking police, to a survivor of rape whose rapist only did six fucking months in jail, it is devastating. To me, it was devastating. To be attacked by this person was devastating. But my rights to live unmolested do not matter, and this person seems to have the right to torture me and the other inhabitants of this little block in a bad part of town, that used to be perfectly peaceful for the most part.

I really do not know what to do. The cops don’t care. No one cares. Just how can a City survive, let alone thrive in any way, when a large proportion of its inhabitants are under siege by the criminally insane. Don’t give me ‘they have problems’. I have fucking problems and don’t make my problems other people’s problems. I never have made my problems other people’s problems. When I was addicted and getting high on stuff considerably stronger than a few hash gummies, I was only ever a problem to myself. I didn’t want attention. I wanted to be allowed to not bother anyone else, and go on my way doing what I was doing. ‘Civilians’, who were not embroiled in the world I lived in, or my attempt to nullify my life as Lou Reed so famously put it, were to be avoided and placated, not harassed. When I was younger and living a life that was not settled I feared the cops and any attention being dragged my way. Perhaps people need to respect others. If you live out on the street you gotta be honest, or at least abide by the rules of the road. Now, there are no rules except do whatever you will, and no one will ever do shit about it. San Francisco lets even violent crime just go. Look at all the anti-asian hatred not ever prosecuted seriously, or labelled as the hate crimes they actually are.

It is all utterly screwed, and I have no idea what next. I don’t even know how much more I can take before I give up and head out of Dodge.

Stay safe out there. It is a fucking madhouse.



      1. The Paltry Sum: Detroit Richards

        The freaks are the most beautiful. I however need my sleep, no rape threats and nothing shoved in my face when I walk outside my front door. I need not to be grabbed and pushed and prevented from going into my home. There needs to be some kind of social contract where people, quite simply, are not allowed to be cunts to each other.

  1. clcouch123

    Detroit, hi. Like everything you write, there is power here. I kept thinking as I read that the city in its entirety, or at least select neighborhoods, needs to read this, too. San Francisco is supposed to be famous for tolerance and the healthiest of diversities. Well, it ain’t so. But it’s a major city with a major city’s resources, human and material, and should and could do better. More so, I am sorry for your sense of fear in living there. It’s a shame for the city though more poignant for you. I wish I could do more than respond here and try to keep a good thought for you. Keeping a good thought for you isn’t hard; it’s the challenge of the mitigating violence. Sorry I haven’t written for a while. I’ve been riddled with extra headaches and something lingering that I hope is a bad cold. More importantly, my older brother’s dying of cancer a few hundred miles from me. It’s panaceaic, but better days to us all. Please take care.–Christopher

    1. The Paltry Sum: Detroit Richards

      Hello. I am so very sorry to hear about your brother. I hope he has an easy passing if there is no hope of a cure. How are you coping? You know where I am if you need a friend. I hope you feel better really soon. Thinking good things for you too. As for SF, it is in a dire state. Cleaning up some parts of the TL is only pushing the problem out to the outer blocks and other areas. People don’t disappear. They fixed NOTHING, just moved the suffering around. What do they care? They are getting to live safe lives in the Presidio while my poor little block has become a war zone. Nothing will get better here. Im about as liberal as they come, but the disease of wokeism is making everyone here suffer. I am not built for rural life, my friend, but this is intolerable. As ever, your friend, Detroit

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