Thursday, August 1, 2013

A scene at the neighbour's

Today I witnessed a sight that no one should see and remain silent about. I had the morning off and Utta and I were going to the MTO office to have her car transferred to me. As I came out of the shower I heard screaming and loud cursing outside my bedroom window. The next door neighbour was about 200 feet away and I was startled that his voice had carried so far. It was unnatural screaming by a man who was angry to the point of being deranged. It emanated from his lower belly and echoed through our quiet neighbourhood. I could not see anyone because of tree cover. We were getting late so we hurried out just slowing our car to catch a glimpse of the scene at the neighbours. A short squat young man was standing outside continuing to scream. A slight female body disappeared out of sight inside the house. I have seen two young children and old folks in that house before, but they appeared not to be around or were cowering in mortal dread - somewhere. My husband knew the screamer because he owned a large auto repair business in the neighbourhood, to which we had brought our cars. When the angry rants reached a crescendo, Utta said " this man needs anger management treatment". We could not make out his accusations but he appeared extremely disturbed, spewing profanity and making wild, broad and general accusations that appeared to be directed at his spouse. What is shocking to me is that I as a neighbour did not think that my immediate priority was to call the police. I was lulled into a sense of apathy by the apparent "civility" of the surroundings - a high end neighbourhood where people are generally polite with each other when they take their dogs out for a walk or tend to their neatly manicured lawns and yards. Nothing untoward could happen here on a beautiful summer day. I also did not think it was my place to intervene. I treated it as a family matter. This realisation came as a shock to me, later in the day when we returned home to find two police cars parked outside. The house had become a crime scene and the police photographers were in gathering evidence. There is no one in the house now. We could not speak to the officers to find out what had happened because they were busy and we were rushing between errands. But I sleep now with a heavy heart not knowing what transpired. I did not know them and do not know anyone who knows them. I may have averted or minimised a disaster. But even if it had occurred to me to do something - would I not have placed our family at risk turning this violent man's attention onto us? There is no telling what he could do when he lost control like that. I work in the area of domestic violence and yet my actions belied all my awareness and training !

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