Were Those Gunshots? (Spoiler Alert: No)

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Walking home from the subway station, I was watching The Good Wife on my iPhone because I simply cannot get enough of it.

In the show, I heard a gunshot (as someone was doing a ballistics test). Immediately after the gunshot in my headphones, I heard what sounded to be a much louder gunshot – and in real life, not from a screen.

My head popped up. I looked around. Many others were doing the same. I saw a few people scurry into the nearest public places (IHOP and Subway). I stood for a second, looking around, just generally trying to understand the situation.

I then saw the digital crosswalk sign across from me light up the go-ahead-and-walk portion. So, I started moving quickly in the direction from which I’d heard the shot (or at least alleged shot, since none of us knew for certain what it was).

The sound sounded to be coming from the next street over. Therefore none of us could really see anything from where we were. That’s why I started going toward the area where I’d heard the sound. I wanted to see if anyone had been hurt and needed help.

Then, I heard a second (very loud) gunshot-sounding sound.

The people who were still left on the street seemed even more freaked out. I saw people booking it in any direction but the one where the sound was coming from.

I also jumped and turned around mid-street running back to the corner from which I’d just come. I asked a woman walking quickly away if that sounded like a gunshot to hear. “Oh, that was a gunshot!” She answered pretty emphatically (and persuasively).

The corner on which I was standing felt completely abandoned oh so quickly.

So, I called the police just to be safe. I wasn’t sure if it had been gunshots. But what I was sure of is that I didn’t see anyone who was running away get on their phones. So, we’re certain enough that gun shots are happening that we flee the area, but not certain enough to call for help?

Are we assuming these aren’t gun shots and that we’re overreacting, or are we assuming that the cops just intrinsically know?

I called just to be safe. Perhaps bothering the police with only sound was an overreaction. But if it did happen to be gunshots, I knew I’d want someone to call for me if I’d been one street over.

I relayed that I wasn’t positive that there was something to report but that two distinct sounds that sounded like gunshots were heard. I gave the streets it seemed to be coming from. I said I didn’t see a gun or any injured people and it might be nothing. But people around me seemed to also believe it was gunshots. So I thought I should let them know just in case.

And that was that.

I have no idea what really happened. No one tweeted about any shootings in my neighborhood. (Obviously, that’s practically the only way I find anything out nowadays.)

When I was walking home a very calm homeless man said, “I’m pretty sure it was just a car backfiring.” Maybe he’s right. He probably is. I live in a pretty safe neighborhood. (Though we’re less than a mile from a less safer one.)

Either way, it was an interesting moment of commotion. I’m assuming (hopefully/thankfully) that everyone’s safe and sound. ‘Cause really, if a shooting happened in the nice part of downtown L.A. we’d have seen it on twitter by now.

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