On a lazy Saturday in March 2022, I was waiting to complete a left turn into the parking lot outside of my Washington, DC apartment when a loud crack — seemingly coming from inside the car — sent my eardrums ringing.
I glanced over to the passenger seat side of the windshield and saw a fracture from a point of impact, with circular cracks orbiting it.
The pain in my ears, as well as the fact that no cars had passed to potentially kick up stones, helped me quickly determine that it had to have been a projectile of some sort.
After briefly jumping out of the vehicle and beginning to run only to see the car roll into the intersection, I ducked back into it, said a quick prayer, and took a generally inadvisable, hurried left on red.
When the police arrived 30 minutes later, I asked if they thought it had been a bullet.
It very well might have been, they answered, before advising me to ask nearby buildings for their security cam footage, and to return to the middle of the intersection to look for evidence.
Hopefully this doesn’t betray a sense of entitlement, but I couldn’t help but think: “Isn’t that your job?”
The incident compelled me to return to my hometown for a few days, but I mostly blacked it out until this Tuesday, when my old roommate reported that there had been a shooting by the apartment building next to ours and with which we shared a parking lot.
What’s more, the culprits — who took one life and shot four others — had parked in the spot he and I had shared, the same one I had sought refuge in a year and a half ago.
The capital of the wealthiest, most powerful nation on the planet is by its very nature brimming with potential.
Cultural cross-pollination, the grandeur of America’s national monuments and the plenteous opportunities should make it the perfect place for idealistic young people to settle after college.
But the truth is that I can’t recommend DC in its current state to anyone who values their own safety, regardless of their aspirations.
That’s why, at the end of July, my high school sweetheart — who had moved to the capital to support me the year before with fond memories of visiting her family there as a child — and I picked up and left.
The stories we have after only a year in DC are as numerous as they are disturbing.
Walking back from our favorite restaurant one night, we heard one young Vineyard Vines-clad man tell another about how his friend had been murdered in a nice neighborhood the month before.
A peaceful afternoon on a rooftop pool was interrupted by shots ringing out and people scrambling for cover below us.
A friend was mugged by a man who followed her down the street and into her expensive apartment building.
The anecdotes are accompanied by plenty of damning data.
Murders, carjackings and violent crime more generally are way up, and criminals have become much more brazen, striking in the middle of the day as well as the night.
The shots outside my old apartment this week were fired just a little after four in the afternoon.
In the 12 months we spent in Washington, my girlfriend would often remark to me that she felt like we were living inside of a ticking time bomb.
Tuesday’s shooting proved once and for all that she was right; Living in DC is now the stuff of nightmares, not dreams.
Isaac Schorr is a staff writer at Mediaite.