#45 What would you have done?

I was awakened in the wee hours last night to what sounded like a gunshot outside. I sat bolt upright in bed and Jake, at the same time, did his out-of-a-dead-sleep-right-into-a-high-pitched-yelping thing. I ran to the window when I heard someone call out, then moan. When I looked down the street to the corner I saw someone lying on the street, but could only make out their head; the trees obscured my vision.

I ran to the phone and called 911 and was transferred to the police who listened to my story. I was told that a policeman would be at my door momentarily to interview me. Adrenaline was making me shake.

I had barely gotten my robe on when the doorbell rang. A female officer was there and asked me to step outside, asking where I had seen the person lying in the street. Four other police cars arrived with lights and sirens on. I pointed to the corner. Standing beneath the trees that had obscured my vision, I could see the corner clearly now.

There was no one lying in the street.

But there was a head-sized pumpkin in the gutter. And that was all that was there. Just a pumpkin.


What would you have done?

In the 70's when all the anti-war riots were going on in Washington D.C. I stopped my car and ran over to what I thought was the beginning of a fire on the grounds of the Corcoran Gallery of Art where I was attending classes there. As I reached to move the papers that littered the ground around where the smoke was rising, I was hit full in the face with tear gas. There was no fire; the smoke I saw was only the tear gas escaping its canister.


What would you have done?

Both the incident in D.C some 40 years ago and the one last night made me feel more than a bit foolish. But I learned from each that I'm not one that can stand by when it seems a fire might be starting or someone may have been shot. I could spend a lot of time second guessing my actions, but, when all is said and done, and time is of the essence, I'm glad that I'm not one of those people you see on the news and YouTube who witness atrocities (real or perceived) and choose to do nothing.

I'd rather live feeling a little foolish than realize I've become insensitive.

How about you?

-karen anne

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