Crime scene tape photo by tales of a wandering youkai/Flickr

Disarming a community of violence


By Eric Blauer

She cowered, screamed and cursed, as he threatened, harmed and hovered over her a bigger man in his mind than the the little man he actually was on the street. Tires screech, words and means exchange, man to man, now it’s even…until the gun is pulled. Now the abuser is dead, the woman is safe and the good samaritan goes to bed a savior and a killer.

Fifth Avenue is bloodier.

The family was bewildered by pavement, buildings, all kinds of vehicles, rules, always more and more rules, in a language they don’t speak or write. The over-50 woman didn’t see the two-year-old dart out into the street trying to catch up with his papa. There was no time for breaks, just a thud, loud enough to bring me out of the house in trepidation. I’d been waiting for this day, knowing the speed and the living would collide some day. Crying, moaning, shoes in the street and a family huddled over their child. Those sights yank on nerves that go to places you can’t forget. He survived, broken, bruised and terrified. The driver sat in the parking lot for a long time, unable to drive to wherever she was supposed to be.

Fifth Avenue felt nauseous.

He shouted, she backed away, another man charged up to defend with good intentions. Arguing, chest to chest, voices and eyes wrestling to take each other down. Inside the preacher tried to preach while outside the living of it all was coming undone by the members. Tempers and tale bearers multiplied like lightening. The sidewalk was a courtroom and the jury was blind, deaf and scrambling to make sense of the oddity taking place on a Sundaymorning at church.

Fifth Avenue felt dangerously vulnerable.

These snapshots of some of the life on my block, church and neighborhood capture the complex, confusing challenge of figuring out how to find, share and experience Christ in the concrete of East Central Spokane. The violence inside of people erupts in unexpected moments. Tragedies sweep in like summer windstorms, always more devastating than anyone would of imagined.

I often wonder if as a community we are strengthening our immune system or just endlessly treating disease? Are we getting to the roots of these fruits or are we always down stream of the problem. The longer I live, work and worship in this community, the more I realize that the only hope we have of truly taming the lycanthropy is either banishing the moon or curing the madness inside.

The biblical Scriptures point to the vein of violence and it is in our hearts and until that is addressed, we are reduced to mindlessly manufacturing silver responses by trying to kill what’s killing us.

“Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences.” Proverbs 4:23 

“But the things that come out of your mouth—your curses, your fears, your denunciations—these come from your heart, and it is the stirrings of your heart that can make you unclean. For your heart harbors evil thoughts—fantasies of murder, adultery, and whoring; fantasies of stealing, lying, and slandering. These make you unclean—not eating with a hand you’ve not ritually purified with a splash of water and a prayer,” Jesus (Matthew 15:18-29)
I write this article off of 5th Avenue, the yellow tape and vehicles barricades stand in the street as witnesses to our desperate need for better answers than greater strength, locks, guns and laws can offer.

We must plant peace through better relationships, education, arts, worship and committed, stable families where the young can learn to live and love, free from the wicked wolves that stalk our streets day and night.

Join SpokaneFAVS for a Coffee Talk forum on “Safety in Worship” at 10 a.m. Aug. 1 at Indaba Coffee/The Book Parlor, 1425 W. Broadway. Blauer is a panelist.

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Tracy Simmons

I quoted this in the e-book I’m working on. Thank you for writing it. We miss you!

Eric Blauer


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