photo courtesy of Pinterest
I moved to California in 2005 after a ten-year vacation courtesy of the Federal Government and the FBI. It was a white-collar crime, but it was a major white-collar crime hence the extra-long vacation.
This little bit of information is for reference in what I dealt with upon moving to California.
I landed at Palm Springs airport at the beginning of August. If I remember correctly, the temp in Palm Springs that afternoon was 110. When we arrived at the homes of some friends who lived in North Shore, which is right on the Salton Sea, it was 115 degrees. Stifling hot if you ask me.
My friends took the heat with a grain of salt. I wanted salt to add to an ice-cold beer or an egg that I figured I could cook on the dirt, never mind the cement.
photo courtesy of Artifical Owl: Abandoned Motel in North Shore, CA
Coming from a life on the east coast, I lived in some high temperatures, but never like that. I lived with high humidity for some months, but I could handle that. What California offered that day was a hot, dry heat.
"This is dry heat" was the mantra I heard from my friends for the next few weeks as the temp hovered over 110 daily.
By December, I was ready to but out of the desert, although I knew I wanted to stay in California.
I met someone online who offered a compromise of sorts. They lived in Clovis, California, and sent me a picture of snowy mountains, and they said it was beautiful there in the winter and a little cooler during the summer. That was a lie.
I moved to Clovis in the winter of 2006 and loved the weather here in Fresno and Clovis. It almost reminded me of mild winter back east, almost the ket word.
Then summer came, and in true fashion, the black cloud I believed that hung over me followed me to Clovis. That summer of 2006, there two weeks of daily temps of 113 degrees. The weatherman said it was the hottest it had been in 40 years. Figures. There's that black cloud following me with heat now.
Well, I'm still here living a California life, adapting to the people, the driving, and especially the weather, albeit I still can't handle the super hot days.
All of that aside, the one thing that has been a semi-culture shock to me is the rash of drive-by shootings in the area.
We had our share in New York, not as much in Boston and hardly any in Rhode Island, the three main areas I lived on the east coast.
Here in Fresno, though, it seemed back then and especially now in 2021, there are daily shootings, whether drive-by or just shootings in general.
This past weekend a street vendor was executed on the street, and the perp still hasn't been found.
I understand that that's to be expected in this area, but my question is, why should we expect that kind of violence?
When has it become acceptable to accept that kind of violence as normal?
Violence is part of our existence, and lately, violence is taking up more of our existence than it should.
There isn't a day that we don't read or hear about some form of violence, whether here in Fresno, Clovis, Other states, and worldwide.
I believe we've come to be complacent about violence in general. We almost have a need or want to read and hear more about it.
I always think of the song "Dirty Laundry" by Don Henley of the Eagles. Granted, dirty laundry usually tends to cover corrupt issues, but it could also be violence in my book when selling news.
Maybe I'm just naive. Maybe I do not see the bigger picture, as some have said. My question to them is, what is the bigger picture?
Culture is a territorial thing as I see it. From one block to another in New York, Boston, or here in Fresno/Clovis, things change as you walk, drive or ride a bike.
photo courtesy of Next City: Just a neighborhood in Fresno
One neighborhood is red, and the next is blue, white, or whatever color a gang has chosen to go by. And it isn't just gangs.
Please don't get me wrong, and gangs are not the root of violence, and when the newspapers and reporters on television say that they are dead wrong. No pun intended there.
Violence is part of our culture now. It's a part of life in our world today, no matter where you live.
But maybe one day in the future, violence will be a thing of the past that we can look back at and say it was a faze?
Wouldn't that be nice?