There was a shooting yesterday in downtown Chicago. The incident started behind us, under the Wabash Street "El" tracks, right in our block. A police officer who has been working this beat as long as I have saw a panhandler draw a knife. As the officer got closer, the panhandler ran toward State Street, crowded with lunchtime passers-by, grabbed an elderly man and put the knife to his throat. Another officer came on the scene and drew his gun.
The upshot is that one of our street people is dead. I mean "ours" as in, from our block. Someone I would recognize. Someone I've probably greeted many a time. And I don't know who it is. Another one of our block's regular panhandlers was interviewed in the paper; he said that the deceased "wasn't right in the head."
But who was he? Most of our street people aren't "right in the head" on a regular basis. I said a prayer for him today ("Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord"--the same prayer I offered for Ted Kennedy and John McCarthy), but I may never figure out which of our street people it was who "wasn't right in the head" on a Thursday afternoon downtown.