The busway generally runs alongside the railroad tracks, some of which are still in use, and some of which are overgrown with brush and weeds. The neighborhood is not good along this stretch, and posts that were once telephone poles now simply lean and decay. After an "employee's stop," the bus route takes to an curved overpass, which allows the two types of tracks to merge beneath it.
I could see the lights of a police car at the summit, and as we drew near, a police officer became visible. He was walking on the side of the road towards us, an extremely surprising action. He seemed to be staring quite intently over the guardrail at something on the ground. My curiosity rose, so I looked as well.
There was a man below, lying face down in the dirt next to the unused set of tracks. I knew instantly that he was dead. It looked like he had been shot several times in the back, for even at that distance, I could perceive the many bloodstains on his white shirt. Had he fallen while running? It seemed that way.
I think it is important for people who have money, hope, determination, or a combination of the above to continue to interact with depressed areas, for avoiding them only exacerbates their multitude of problems. This is why I continue to use the bank near where I work, though you must pass singly through a lock system and a metal detector in order to access the building. It is also the reason why I persist in walking to the local restaurants and the grocery store, though the neighborhoods I traverse are "questionable" by my standards.
People ask me what I'm doing here, they tell me it's strange to see a young white woman in these areas. So be it. I would prefer not to become part of what I perceive as a problem. I find it difficult to swallow when people run with their money and ideals to the suburbs (or the "boomburbs," or even the suburbs of the suburbs these days), and then point to the subsequent demise of their great cities as the reason for their flight. Complaints about violence and lack of money in inner city schools drive me up the wall, as those who most often cite these statistics are those who are one of many factors responsible for them.
I am not a complete idealistic fool, however. I know better than to be around where I work when it's dark, and if I choose to walk home from dance class in the evenings, I select a good pace and I remain aware of my surroundings. And thus due to the recent homicide near my commute, I must regretfully postpone any further exploration of properties adjoining the busway until further notice.