Marta M.
San Francisco
I was eight when I moved to Hunters Point. In the middle of the night, less than a week in, I was awakened by a shootout between police and four teens who had stolen a car and crashed it into a building a block from my house. I heard a crash, gunfire, semi-automatics, then silence. More shots, sirens, helicopters, cops with military grade weapons stomping up and down my street shouting orders. My bedroom would become my family's gathering place for nearby midnight shootings. My room had the best vantage point, and from my blinds we could assess whether the danger was close enough to be a threat without being seen. One didn't to be implicated in case of retaliation. One by one, my brother and parents would show up. As things settled down they would sleepily shuffle back to their rooms. Most nights though, it wasn't that close. The distant gunfire would echo across the hillside, lulling me to sleep the way I imagine crickets do to suburban children. In college, I learned that some people, even at that age, had never heard real gunshots before. Imagine.