A parable of sorts …

The neighborhood in which I live is usually fairly quiet, except for the occasional loud truck passing through. We have a “neighborhood watch program” and try to keep an eye on unusual activities. Across my back fence is another household (neighbor #1), on another street which is not part of the program. They have not caused problems on my side of the fence. However, another neighbor next to them (let’s say neighbor #2, again not part of our watch program) is basically a bully to them – loud music, trash in the yard, dangerous dogs, arguments and angry confrontations when anyone dares try to address the situation with them. I heard it escalate last week, with #2 attacking neighbor #1. Most of the neighborhood couldn’t help but hear it – at first a loud argument, then lots of shouting, followed by the sound of fighting and screaming by spouses and children. Leaning over my fence I could see some of it – it was no contest as #1 was overpowered by #2. Lots of damage to the house and yes, even some blood.

However, although I was a witness along with the rest of the neighborhood watch, since neighbor # 1 was not part of our program, we did nothing since we had already agreed we would not take action unless one of us in the program were involved. Sure, we called the police but they only separated the parties, lectured them and left. Later than night it happened again – more fighting, more damage, more blood. Still, following our agreement we did nothing, even though it was disturbing our tranquility and it was obvious #1 was getting the shit kicked out of them by #2. And no police. Last night, there were gun shots and more screaming. Bound by our agreement we did nothing, since none of us had been attacked. We made speeches and statements at our weekly meeting about how wrong it was that it had happened. Still, despite the cries for help and urgent pleas, we did nothing as we concluded our hands were tied by our agreement.

As of today, the neighborhood is quiet again. It seems neighbor #1 is no longer at the residence since they’re in the hospital. So, it seems our neighborhood watch program has been a success since none of us got involved. Neighbor #2 continues to play their music loud, trash still covers the lawn and the dogs are still a nuisance but seems placated by the events so far. I’m sure they will improve their behavior as we made it clear that we disapproved of what happened and emphasized that no matter what occurred in the future, we would do nothing since it was not against one of our neighborhood watch members. I’m sure they’ve learned their lesson!

(Similarities between NATO, Russia and Ukraine are purely intentional)