Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Mean Streets of Kittanning

Share the story of a time you felt unsafe.

For a while, I worked part time at our local Tourist Bureau.  I loved the job because it was close to where I lived, part time hours, low stress work, and helped me promote my area that I love so well.  Our office is right in town, on the "main drag", and the building has large windows that make up both of our outward facing walls (it is a corner office).

One day, we got a phone call instructing us to lock our doors and take caution because there was an armed robber in town.  At first we did not take it too seriously.  Then we heard sirens, saw speeding police cars, and watched as the next block up was cordoned off.  There had been a robbery at the drug store on the next block up.  Shots had been fired.  This was all the information we had for a couple of hours.

We were incredibly frightened at the idea of an armed robber running the streets.  Because our office was small and unassuming (it used to be a bank office), we felt like we could be a target for the suspect to want to hide.  And with both of our outside walls being large windows, there was no way to hide.  I was petrified a bullet was going to come zinging through those windows at any moment.

Harriet Hammond - Pres. Nemours Gun Club  (LOC)
Not the actual shooter.  Courtesy of The Library of Congress.
Eventually we learned that a woman had tried to rob the drug store in an attempt to procure drugs.  An employee and a customer were able to wrestle the gun off of her, but not before she fired a shot into some shelves.  Something like this would be a blip on the radar in a large city, but to a small town like ours, it was really frightening.  I used to walk to that drug store from the office to get drinks or miscellaneous items we needed at the office.  Good thing I did not go for a walk that day.

I do not think I have ever felt so vulnerable in my life as I did for those few hours when all we knew was someone within eyesight of our office had a gun and was shooting.

NaBloPoMo November