Imagine this: 3:25 PM, downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. You're in a wheelchair. You're walking across a busy street, one of the major arteries on the north side of downtown. Suddenly, someone suspicious starts following you. What do you do?
That happened to me Tuesday afternoon, at that time, in that city.
Here's what happened. I was outside of Cincinnati's major public access facility, Media Bridges. This is in the 1100 block of Race Street, right on the edge of the Over-The-Rhine district of Cincinnati. I was talking to my girlfriend Sheena but I still recall all of these events in my head, so nothing is left out of the situation.
I could see this guy standing in the street. I think nothing of it, so I start to cross Central Parkway (basically, those not from here might think, that's just 11th Street, but its given name is Central Parkway).
Now I'm not writing this to slam either Media Bridges, the Cincinnati Police or Fire/EMS departments, or any part of my hometown. Listen: I love the state I was born in. I love Cincinnati. But this was a scary sight at 3:25 PM on a Tuesday afternoon. Broad daylight, and this guy is out in the MIDDLE OF CENTRAL FRICKIN' PARKWAY! I still wonder how he wasn't hit all this time.
I decide to head on south, back toward the central business district area. I'm not feeling too comfortable about standing there at that moment even for a second. This guy begins to follow me. Not cool. I turn and walk a little quicker. He's still following me.
I cross Court Street (which you from outside of Cincy might think is 10th, but...the courthouse is at its east end, thus its given name once again). The guy stays on the north side of the street, BUT HE'S STILL BEHIND ME. At this point, I'm freaked. I call Cincinnati PD. As I'm giving his description, the guy has come across Court and is now headed straight across Vine Street, still in my general direction.
I'm not sure whether he realized I was on the phone to police, but he turned and walked south on Vine. I didn't follow him. I feared a trap. I tell police he's gone, but then a familiar response overtakes me.
It's that feeling I get before I go into the syncopal episodes I sometimes have. So now, here I am, standing on the corner of Court and Vine, and I'm having a panic attack. Great. I tell the dispatcher to send me medics to the location. I'm transferred to the medical side of Cincinnati dispatch, tell the operator my symptoms, location and phone number, and hang up.
At this point, medics arrive within 3 minutes. (Where's the police? You'd think dispatch would still send the police to this particular medical emergency, given the circumstances.) After a quick check of my vitals to make sure I'm in no imminent danger, of course my ass high tails it straight out of there, AWAY from the OTR area.
Here's the point of this blog, which is two-fold:
1) to vent the feelings I still have, which are of fear, distress, and quite frankly, a mixture of these and illness in my stomach, and;
2) to make a crucial point about the state of my beloved city.
Now, I'm no idiot. I KNOW OTR can be a dangerous area. I have re-iterated this several times since. Hell, even the MEDICS told me anything north of Central Parkway is a dangerous area!
But in broad daylight, near a major public access facility, doesn't the public, even someone from across the river, have some right to feel safe? Some places even in OTR don't need a 24/7 armed guard. In the case of Media Bridges, where there's lots and lots of expensive electrical equipment at any given time inside the building...I'd say this is one, and the area within a block or so of that building should be as well. Just my opinion.
And here we have Cincinnati City Council squabbling over POLICE STAFFING. WAKE UP CINCINNATI COUNCIL! If someday, someone gets robbed, shot, beaten, whatever on that street corner...well it's gonna be an "I Told You So" moment.
The signature seems especially appropriate today for some reason...
Courage + Belief = LIFE
Christmas at the Log Cabin
10 months ago