One could get hit by a car in front of their own home or fall victim of a violent crime virtually anywhere in the world. We know it; but, life goes on. The past week shook me from complacency.
Firstly, there were trees touching power lines that needed cutting back. Confident that I knew what I was doing, I parted some branches and saw a thick, bare cable; apparently the style used to support poles. “Don’t touch it!’ my lady screamed; and, pointed to scorching on branches
that had brushed against the wire. I have since learned that it is common in and around Quito to have unwrapped/ un-insulated power wires with tree branches rubbing against them.
Another day, I was sitting on the terrace and heard what, as an ex-military man, were gun
shots. A little while later, a police helicopter hovered nearby, apparently earching . ! subsequently learned that a criminal court judge had been standing alongside the road with his five year old son, waiting for the school bus. Three cars and a motorcycle drove past and he was shot to death. He had sentenced one of the gang members to prison, and they took revenge.
That very night, my19 year old, Ecuadorian step-daughter, “C”, was with two of her friends in a
normally decent area of Quito, near the Granados Shopping Centre. A car hovered close. Three men approached the girls and put pistols to their heads, demanding their belongings. A door of the car opened, and one of the attackers grabbed one of the girls by the arm and said, in Spanish, “You are coming with us!” Was this to be an “express kidnapping” in which someone is taken for family ransom; or, something worse? Reacting against this extremely dangerous threat, and, fortunately with utter surprise to the attackers, "C" found the pepper spray that I had given her and filled their faces with it. In pain, holding their eyes, they were not able to see or react to their fleeing victims. “C” reacted quickly and decisively in a perilous circumstance and was fortunate to have been successful in saving herself and friends. The initial shock has passed; but, the fear instilled will take time to overcome.
We live with danger, where-ever we may be. It differs from place to place and circumstance; but, occasionally, it hits us as with a hammer.
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