On the evening of the shooting in Garland this observation arrived from a native Texan who lives in a part of the huge slurb surrounding Dallas.
Funny how it works in large cities: in this case it is Dallas which swallowed the surrounding countryside. But many other “metropolitan areas” consume their smaller neighbors: Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, or Washington D.C. Oh, especially the Hive: as the bloat of government continues to acquire more mass, non-government employees are forced to settle ever further out in order to find affordable shelter. As many of you have experienced, that means cruel and inhumane commute times on increasingly inadequate roads. It bloats up so fast that its growth always outstrips the ‘new’ roads and mass transportation designed to handle the increased numbers.
Our correspondent,Lily, has lived her whole life in a small town not far from Garland. You probably have to ‘be from there’ to know it’s a separate place and not merely part of Big D.
The things Lily has witnessed since she finished high school have changed her world view considerably. I asked her permission to share her ruminations with you, only altering things that would reveal her identity. These days it is no longer safe to reveal one’s true self, especially if you live in the midst of a modern-day Purgatorio as she does.
We enjoy all the letters readers send but especially the ones from people who’ve lived in an area their whole lives and feel a strong need to explain how things used to be, or the ways in which events have taken over how they might wish to live.
This one took a few days to arrive on the page; it was important to get Lily’s permission before sharing it with you.
Hello again, Miss Dymphna –
It’s been almost a year since I’ve spoken with you, but I want to comment on the shooting that happened in Garland earlier today and share a few thoughts.
Garland is a suburb of Dallas, as is my town, so this is hitting a little too close to home for me. I found out about the shooting only a little while ago, on another site. I didn’t bother to read into the particulars since this seems to be almost commonplace in a world spiraling out of control. I just noticed the name of the city, and so many things pop into my head. Much has changed in my little part of the world within the last ten years. With a border that’s pretty much nonexistent I shouldn’t be surprised anymore. My neighborhood is not what it was when I was a teenager half a lifetime ago (even then there was some definite transformations happening, but I was too distracted by the drama that is high school to really care).
We are overwhelmed with illegals, mostly Hispanics, and a sizable number of displaced Katrina victims, mostly black, who never went back home. My brother remembered how our high school went from a nice proportionate mix of races reflective of the overall demographic of our country, to having a an influx of gang activity and general fighting brought to us by the minorities of the New Orleans area virtually overnight.
Katrina brought on our own miniature Camp of the Saints.
Amazingly we still have a good number of whites, but they live in the nicer part of town, where most of the city money is spent to make it look nice but in a useless way – that spending didn’t provide any long-term jobs.
Our part of town is still waiting to have its roads properly fixed over fifteen years after the city began working on Main Street, the thoroughfare running through our town. Money was wasted on hiring the lowest bidding contractor who did a poor job, and the city had to start all over again. We get minimal repairs only because of a newly built dollar store, and there’s another being built right now just a couple of blocks from where I’m sitting.
Yay! More crime! Criminals from the apartments nearby only have to waltz down the street by my house to rob a store in addition to our homes which they invade now all the time. They won’t have to risk crashing their trucks into our fences while being chased by our amazing police anymore. The last episode happened about ten days ago.
The police around here are about the only decent thing we have. Ninety five per cent of the applicants don’t make it through the background check (I had to be interviewed when my brother applied, and that was what the officer told us). I don’t know how much longer that will be the case. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t become as corrupt as I am told Dallas’ police have become.
The exploding Hispanic population isn’t any better; our Section Eight housing has expanded to keep up with their numbers. My elementary, junior high, and high school now overflow with portable classrooms. They have taken up all the spaces where we ran and played, even the hiding spots kids used when they wanted to just be by themselves. The major additions to the actual buildings simply aren’t enough.
There is no way there can be so many kids in school with the amount of housing we have around here, not unless you pack people into houses as tightly as sardines – which is just what they do across the street from my house. Sometimes there are up to ten cars parked in the driveway and on the street. While they’re very social people, they can’t be partying as often as I see so many cars. It’s obvious they all live in that one little place.
One of them is a known gang member. He went to school with my brother but dropped out before graduating. There have been some shootings there too. I almost witnessed one: I was drawn to the window to see where all the noise was coming from.
All the kids I see walking home now are largely black or Hispanic with only an occasional white kid bobbing about. The last time I voted, I walked down to my old elementary school to find out that I was in a foreign country, with numerous signs large and small promoting Obama (this was the last presidential election). The only white people there were in the cafeteria voting. I guess we have to come out from underneath our rocks sometimes.
By the way, our school district here gets money for each child they enroll. It doesn’t take long to figure out that equation.
I guess I’m racist now. I wasn’t always that way. I once believed there could be anything worse than to be a racist. Working in retail for years opened my eyes to the world and what was happening in it. You get customers that either don’t know English or refuse to speak it. The ones that do, well, if they’re not familiar to you, you just assume they’re associated with the cartels (ironically they’re the ones who speak English like it was their first language).
There are Hispanics who came here legally looking for a better life or were born here who are fed up with it too and in turn refuse to speak Spanish to these ‘other’ Hispanics. I’ve seen this happen many times. This new “immigration” is a slap in the face to them. They didn’t come here to have the third world trash following them. I’ve been mistaken for a Hispanic myself. I wonder sometimes if it has anything to do with my Cherokee ancestry.
I don’t want to begin to fathom the amount of money that has been poured into welfare around here. Granted, I’ve been on it while unemployed, but I was ashamed of it. I would prefer to go without if it weren’t for my student loans. So much money handed out yet nothing is getting better. Jobs are also scarce, even in Texas (unless you’re bilingual). We’re supposed to be better off than most states. A lot of us know much of that money is funneled out of the country, sent back home by relatives who most likely sneaked in across the border. With amnesty looming over our heads, we can expect even more leeches. It’s still difficult to say that sometimes because it sounds mean, but I’ve had it with our government’s policies.
Sorry if I sound like I’m going off a tangent here, but I do believe it is relevant. It’s just amazing to see what is permissible and what isn’t. I doubt the shooting in Garland would’ve happened if we hadn’t been so open and tolerant (blargh, I hate that word). I guess this will be excused too, like the Fort Hood shooting.
Today was sad enough for me. I drove my boyfriend to the airport and had to say goodbye to him. He’s from New Orleans. He saw firsthand the destruction Katrina and screwed-up politics wrought. The last few days I had been able to put most of this depressing world out of my mind and focus on him. I drove through Garland not realizing what was going on. The only strange thing I noticed was the backed-up traffic on the LBJ freeway on a Sunday. I don’t usually drive on the freeway on Sundays, so I thought maybe it was just me.
Oh, and we spent Friday watching the news to see if there would be any rioting. My dad had called me and told me to stay away from downtown Dallas and Fort Worth because of the current volatile situation. He was allowed to go home early so he wouldn’t risk getting caught up in any potential flash rioting. It didn’t occur to me that it was May Day until it was spelled out on the TV. My boyfriend and I were able to laugh about it as it seemed so surreal, all this competition between so many dangerous ideologies, and it was right in our backyard.
I don’t remember ever seeing a Muslim around here until after I graduated from college. That was nine years ago. Now I see them everywhere, even at the mall. Some of the girls wear stylish clothing, but it’s layered so that it still covers their entire body. I chuckle at the remembrance of seeing a couple of them running down the escalators in rhinestone studded jeans.
It was just a couple of years ago I found out that we actually have mosques in this area. There’s an Islamic center close to one of the welfare offices. I used to drop my brother off for work not far from there and my route took me by it. While on an outing with Dad a couple months ago I discovered another hidden away just off of I 30. Now when I go through what has become a culturally enriched area I see older Muslim women, each with a brood of kids; these areas used to be mostly Hispanic. Occasionally I’ll see a bearded man tagging along, or leading them. I try not to stare for too long so I can’t tell for sure.
At the store where I work I have waited on them. It’s educational: one woman in her traditional dress came into the small shop where I work my second job. Both she and her eldest daughter were covered but the other three kids were in Western style clothing. It was not really anything unusual until they stepped out of the shop. After they’d gone, a male fellow- employee happened to come back into the shop to get something to eat. At this point the woman in her traditional clothing decided, for whatever reason, to come back in…until she saw the man. She stopped right in front of the doorway, staring. It took a couple of seconds for me to realize that it might be because she wasn’t supposed to be in a room or a store with another man all by herself (I guess I didn’t count in that instance). I could see her husband with the long beard behind her; he wasn’t paying attention as he was on the phone. She just stood there until the employee left.
Aside from their clothing, I’d never seen any unusual behavior from Muslims until that day a couple weeks ago. I guess I should be glad that it wasn’t a hostile experience like I’ve seen and read all over the internet.
I try not to think too much about these things. There’s enough going on in the world to keep me from dwelling on the fact that my neck of the woods is transforming too. Yet every once in a while you get a good jolt out of your stupor, and you’re reminded that what’s happening out there is happening here as well. We’ve had bigger things than just a shooting almost turning into a national tragedy. I remember hearing about a failed bomb plot by a Muslim a few years ago that was supposed to take place downtown back when both my parents worked there (Mom was still alive then. She thankfully never lived to see Obama elected the first time around).
That made be about as nervous as when the Oklahoma City bombing happened; at the time my mother’s building was getting a lot of bomb threats. Mom was talking to someone on the phone in Oklahoma City when it went off. By the time I got to see that Oklahoma City Memorial I said I hope this never happens again. Then a month later 9/11 happened.
Then there’s Columbine. I was there in Colorado the weekend before at a music festival my high
school band was attending. Some of the students at that school were most likely there too. We had phony bomb threats for a week right after it happened. I was sixteen then. I still remember the panic, when the principal stupidly had us all gathered in the auditorium and someone yelled, “There’s a bomb!” Students were trampled. I started laughing because that was all I could do. It was a strange feeling. Half the students stayed home the next day.
I sometimes feel like I’m just one step ahead of disaster for some reason. One of these days it might catch up to me when I least expect it. It can be exhausting to be ever-vigilant, as I’m sure you know. My boyfriend is the only one I can openly talk to about all this right now.
Dad is too exhausted these days, though I’m sure he would agree with me, and my two best friends are far away and have been hard to catch lately. They’re all too aware of what’s going on too. One lives in the Chicago suburbs and has plenty of stories to tell.
As for my brother – yes,he’s aware, but makes excuses. He could rant and rave about the illegals and blacks all day, but don’t you dare say anything about Muslims. He’ll acknowledge there are terrorist groups like ISIS, but he can’t wrap his head around the idea that so-called peaceful Muslims would have any hand in it. He has read the Koran but takes the more abstract interpretation of it. A few years ago, I first ran across some videos about the immigration problems in Europe. One of the things talked about was what the Muslims were doing to slowly take over their host countries. I mentioned this to my brother, and he just laughed it off. He even used an opportunity to embarrass me in front of
his friends once, using what I said.
I avoided bringing up the subject again. However my brother is a major history buff, so he would often go off on historical tangents and the Muslims eventually pop up in there. I cringe at what he says sometimes. It directly contradicts much of my own personal research on the religion. I get the feeling it might be due to the influence his friends might have on him. He had a Saudi friend give him a pamphlet a few years back in college. I remember seeing it amongst her things while he was moving out to join his fiancée. It was stuck on his bookshelf where it looked like it hadn’t been touched for a long time, so I decided to take it and flip through it.
When I first contacted you last year, I remembered that pamphlet but sadly could not remember where I put it. I found it just last week while cleaning out my stuff and tucked it in a secure place. I thought about scanning it and sending it to you. I read through all of it when I first found it, but that was almost three years ago. It might be worth looking at.
I hope this email finds you doing well. It turned out longer than I expected, but there was so much on my mind. I really need to get to sleep now.
Keep up the good work!