Come Out With Your Hands Up

April 10, 2009 12:05 am

My senior year of college was my “I Will Survive” year, Gloria Gaynor would have been proud. I had just come out of a horrible relationship and was living alone for the first time ever. On top of mending my broken heart, I worked and went to school full time. Having never lived alone before, I was uneasy. The apartment complex wasn’t in the best area but it was what I could afford. I would come home at 2AM after a long night of waiting tables and think that every shadow in my dark apartment was an intruder. Then I’d lie awake and get scared by every sound I heard before finally passing out from exhaustion. It sounds like the ultimate college experience, no?

I was jolted awake one night by a strange sound. There was a ghetto bird (helicopter) outside shining it’s spotlight into the apartment windows. A voice came on the megaphone saying “Come out of the building with your hands up.” I was paralyzed with fear but somehow I inched toward the window to see what was going on. There were flashing police lights but I wasn’t sure exactly where they were since there was a ledge on either side of my window blocking the peripheral view. The helicopter was right on the side of my building, shining its lights up and down. Just as I started peering out the window, I heard gunshots. Five of them, “BAM, BAM……. BAMBAMBAM”. I dove on the floor in a move that would have made Greg Louganis proud.

My instincts told me to get the hell away from the windows so I army crawled to the center of my apartment. I stayed low in case any stray bullets came through. In case you’re wondering, I grew up in the suburbs and any gun fight knowledge I have comes from TV but at least I knew what to do. I stayed there, shaking and practically shitting my pants for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, all was quiet and I could hear a diesel engine running outside. I mustered up the courage to look out the window again. There were news trucks in the distance so I crawled back to the living room to turn on the TV.

My little apartment complex was all over the news. Earlier in the day, a drug deal had gone bad and someone got killed. The killer fled to his girlfriend’s house, IN MY APARTMENT BUILDING, and took her hostage. He eventually let her go and continued the standoff with police. Shortly after I began watching, they announced that the gunman had taken his own life. They left out the part about it taking FIVE bullets and I’m guessing there may have been more to the story than they were letting on.

I lived alone for the rest of the school year and made it through mostly unscathed. I’m still the same paranoid person who can’t sleep and thinks up the worst scenarios in my head. In fact, having kids has intensified my paranoia tenfold. I worry about my kid’s safety and how I’m going to protect them in this crazy world but I think I’ve got it figured out. If you hear about some crazy woman who sends her kids to school with bulletproof vests, it’s probably me. You never know when bullets will start whizzing by so you’ve got to be prepared.



  1. bex

    Wow! That was crazy! You are brave! And so totally survivor. You could have joined the army at that point and gone to Bosnia or wherever all the college aged kids were headed in the nineties.

    bexs last blog post..Dye! Dye! and Kick!

  2. Ray

    parents can never be too paranoid. We want to protect our children and we do as much as we can πŸ™‚ the bullet proof vest though, was something πŸ™‚

    Rays last blog post..Learning Chinese on a Nintendo?

  3. Andrea

    Hello, I’d be seriously freaked out! I don’t know if I could have continued to stay there. I lived in a not quite so nice place alone in college too. All I had was freaky guy and his bass thumping stereo though.

    Bullet proof vests or bubbles, I can’t decide which to outfit my kids with.

    Andreas last blog post..Club HASAY – Are You Doing It?

  4. Beth

    I imagine something like that would stay with you for a long time. Glad you were safe.

    Beths last blog post..

  5. Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)

    What a scary situation! I would have been totally freaked out…love that you had a lot of educational info from television to get away from the windows and stay low to the ground… πŸ™‚

    Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)s last blog post..Mommy Moments – Kids in Costume

  6. K

    That would have scared the crap out of me.

    I was never all that paranoid before, but being a mom has done all kinds of weird stuff to my brain.

    Ks last blog post..Cracking the Girl Code

  7. cat

    holy moly! the closest i’ve been to that level of danger was the time i had to kill a giant spider with a can of air freshener.

    cats last blog post..mental masterbation

  8. Robin

    Wow! That is INSANE! I know I wouldn’t have been able to sleep again after a night like that! Glad you were okay!

    Robins last blog post..Wordful Wednesday

  9. feener

    holy cow !!!!

    feeners last blog post..Run U Mother Giveaway

  10. WickedStepMom

    I grew up in the ghetto light. It was a suburb just outside of the city. My area wasn’t so bad but a few blocks down and it was urban disaster. Gunshots were just something that you heard a lot. I still start moving towards the center of the room now when I hear loud noises. Even though I am definitely in the suburbs. I am glad that you knew what to do to stay out of harms way.

    WickedStepMoms last blog post..Spin Cycle: Free for All!!

  11. Christy

    Wow, dude–that is SCARY! You had good instincts though. I think I would’ve starting running around in circles with my arms flailing all over the place! I don’t blame you on the bullet proof vests…it’s completely sane. πŸ™‚

  12. Cameron

    Nice of the fuzz to tell the other tenants (you) to stay in your place and lock your doors.

    Camerons last blog post..Dumbest Saying Evar

  13. Ginny Marie

    Okay, MY post reminded you of the drive up the hill to your grandma’s house. YOUR post reminds me of the time a guy pulled a knife on another guy in the hallway right in front of my apartment door. Good times.

    Ginny Maries last blog post..Update on the Teens

  14. HeatherPride

    UGH!! What a terrible experience!! I went through something similar during my freshman year in college. There were shots fired and then some punk set fire to my dorm building. We had to crawl down three flights of stairs and go stand out in the street and watch a whole wing of our dorm burn down. Oh, and then a few hours later we had finals. Fun!

    HeatherPrides last blog post..To Claire, On Her Very First Birthday

  15. Pseudo

    Big time wow story. It’s like an iside view of Law and Order.

    Pseudos last blog post..Spin Cycle: Conspiracy Theories

  16. jennster

    that is scary as fuck, but a great story now! HAHAHA

    jennsters last blog a girl goes to a doctor..

  17. Cape Cod Gal

    HOLY SHIT! I have lived such a sheltered life.

    Cape Cod Gals last blog post..Reason #437 That I Hate Him

  18. ck

    Wow. That’s scary. My husband and I almost got mugged on the subway during college (before we were married) but that pales in comparison.

    I try not to think about what the world will be like when our kids get to that part of their lives…

    We have a lot ahead of us, don’t we?

    cks last blog post..a journey’s end (part I)

  19. CDB

    Whoa, where did you go to school, in Detroit? (Just kidding, MI bloggers.) This would have scared me all the way back home to my parents, b/c I’m a wimp like that.

    It’s funny though, b/c the first time I had to live by myself was in an old house in a fine part of town, where my roommate moved out. I was so paranoid, I would prop a chair by the doors so if any intruder DID manage to find the motivation to break in, .. what? The chair falls and I’m safe? (:

    CDBs last blog post..Spinning: Mystery Post

  20. Sprite's Keeper

    I don’t know if I would have stayed as cool and collected as you. I would have been crawling for the candy stash, thinking it was my time to go, and at least I would go on a sweet note!

    Sprite’s Keepers last blog post..Spin Cycle: Too Good To Pass Up

  21. mrsbear

    That sounds crazy, woman. I would’ve been crapping my pants too! As it is, I make a concentrated effort to fall asleep before midnight on New Year’s Eve, just so I don’t have to listen to the neighborhood idiots pop off a few rounds. The helicopter shining a light in to my apt would have sent me under the bed. As it is I always tell Katy, if you ever hear gunshots at school or somewhere else, hit the ground. Seriously, you never know.

    mrsbears last blog post..Here We Go Again – Spin Cycle?

  22. Sandie

    Goodness, I’d have been scared too!!! My apartment complex in Vegas was once the center of a Cops episode. Thankfully, it was LONG after I’d moved out!

    Sandies last blog post..Is it Tuesday already?

  23. Sammanthia

    I’m totally paranoid when it comes to my kids. I’m amazed that I haven’t sent them to school wearing a bullet-proof vest and a titanium helmet. YET.

    Sammanthias last blog post..A Squirrel Is Just A Rat With A Cuter Outfit

  24. steenky bee

    Louganis may have been proud, but he definitely wouldn’t have wanted to “tap that” if you know what I mean. I have all my street knowledge from tv as well. There’s always an old haggard cop paired up with a rookie who doesn’t go by the book. Hookers always are in the know and the bad guy will monologue forever before he eventually
    eats it.

    steenky bees last blog post..Hole N’ The Rock

  25. Jessica Bern

    you are way way braver than I. I would have moved out the next day. What a story. My God. I’m totally paranoid b/c L.A. is not safe, I don’t care where you live

  26. Captain Dumbass

    Do they make Kevlar vests for kids?

    Captain Dumbasss last blog post..Perspective

  27. Lin

    Holy Starsky and Hutch!! That’s a scary story!! Don’t you wonder why your family didn’t bail you out of that place after that? Wouldn’t you, as a mom??? Imagine hearing that story coming out of your kid’s mouth–yikes. They do sell bullet-proof backpacks for kids I heard. Guess you aren’t the only protective one!

    I had a teacher go off on me the other day because I asked for two chaperone’s (adults) cell numbers before my child boarded the bus for Washington DC! I had NO emergency contact info for anyone on that trip–we live 15 hours away!! Another mom went nuts on me too, saying I was a freaky “worried” mom. I didn’t think I was asking too much–do You? Call me overprotective anyday.

    Lins last blog post..Where’s the Kitty?

  28. The Stiletto Mom

    I’m the same way about things that go bump in the night. FREAKS ME OUT. But then again, I grew up in the hood (I really do mean the hood). I’ve been known to get up in the middle of the night and go upstairs to make sure Freddy Krueger hasn’t come in and gotten to my children.

    The Stiletto Moms last blog post..Meet The Easter Eggs

  29. Stimey

    Maybe you could bedazzle the bullet-proof vests. I think that would be a nice fashion statement.

    Stimeys last blog post..Hopping Down the Bunny Trail

  30. anymommy

    That is nuts. Makes me appreciate my safe, quiet little street tons!

    My husband lived in a terrible neighborhood in college – many nights involving sirens, police, etc. I used to walk there from the bars at 3:00 a.m. Drunk and stupid. I’m sure I would not have had your reflexes.

    anymommys last blog post..Joy to You and Me

  31. zelzee

    Scary…………and I’m with you, I worry about everything!!
    I would be taking the kids measurements for Kevlar…..

    zelzees last blog post..Retire or Really Tired

  32. jenni

    shitting my pants for your right now.

    jennis last blog post..What’s Going On (Like the Song, but Not)

  33. Katie

    Holy God in Heaven! I’ve never experienced anything even close to that. Although, we went for a walk in the woods today and I took a knife. My biggest fear today was rabid squirrels.

    Katies last blog post..Congrats to my alma mater

  34. Zip n Tizzy

    I’ve had a couple of apartments like that. Makes you really appreciate not having to live like that every day.

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