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  • I love my city. I do. I love the lake, I love the art nights and the neighborhood festivals and the farmers markets. I love all the strangers who collect to run stairs together at sunrise and the gyms in the"bad" neighborhoods where I can lift weighs & punch bags with high school kids getting ready for next season. I love the way it feels like a small town of four hundred thousand people. I brim with Oakland pride.

    But. Lately. Things are getting a little crazy out here.

    Last night two men were shot a few blocks away from my apartment. Just before midnight, a car stopped cold in the middle of the freeway and a few other cars slammed into it. A few minutes later, twenty feet below the freeway, two men wearing construction vests shot two other men as they worked in a restaurant kitchen. Details are hazy and muffled, except the police know (we know?) that it was not a robbery. Accident? Execution? Either way, two men died right down the street from my home. What will they tell their mothers? What will I tell my mother when she gets wind of this?

    I heard the gunshots through the bedroom window I'd left open to temper the heat. I thought the shots were part of the mess on the freeway; they sounded like a car running over a fiberglass bumper. Bang bang. Front wheels, back wheels. I moved for my phone and then stopped. The lines would be busy, I thought. Everyone else would call it in. (I am not proud of this.) A woman screamed, cars kept moving down the freeway. I leaned out the window a few minutes longer, trying to see what was going on, then I went to bed.
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