Commentary By Adam Smith

The North Jefferson News

In case you missed the recent news story, Birmingham was recently named the sixth most dangerous city in the entire U.S. for the second consecutive year.

CQ Press, a unit of Congressional Quarterly Inc., studied 378 cities with a population of at least 75,000 people and found Birmingham to be not a very safe place to live or visit for that matter.

I bring up all these facts, figures and useless trivia to underscore the fact that the sixth most dangerous city in the U.S. showed its true colors on Sunday, and it chose my residence to do so.

If you happened to catch the news on Sunday night, you may have heard about three suspects who allegedly held a business owner and his family at knife point, allegedly stole their Mercedes and then allegedly drove said Mercedes to the business owner’s clothing store, where they allegedly robbed the joint of tacky Fubu outerwear, white NBA ball caps and Michael Vick jerseys. Allegedly.

What happened next was apparently quite the high speed car chase down Valley Avenue, which culminated in the suspects allegedly blowing through an intersection and slamming into the back of an innocent driver’s Saturn, shoving the crumpled sedan about 30 to 40 feet down the road. The disabled Mercedes wound up in the front yard of a normally quiet residence inhabited by myself and my roommate, Graham. Allegedly.

One of the suspects was apparently arrested in our back yard. A Ted Kaczynski-like survivalist would have made good use of the pine straw coating our yard and would have likely never been caught.

I arrived home after most of the good stuff happened. Our street was blocked off for a couple of hours while camera crews filmed, officers made reports, cars were towed away and wreckage was swept up from the street, leaving only pebbles of broken glass, an array of fiberglass debris and a CD-R titled, “Hot Mix 31,” which I can’t wait to listen to at some point.

What made me as angry as missing all the action was the bum who walked up to Graham and I as we stood in the front yard surveying the damage. Here’s the gist of the conversation that ensued.

Bum: “Did you see what happened?”

Me: “No.”

Bum: “Do you guys live here?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Bum: “Do you have another cigarette?”

Me: “No, I’m all out.”

I totally lied to that dude. I had at least half a pack left, but I couldn’t believe the nerve of that guy. What a bum.

So what did I learn from all of this excitement? I learned Birmingham is a dangerous city, and it could show itself to anyone at any time.

Despite these minor inconveniences, I’m still a fan of the Magic City, though the call of finding a quiet abode in a countrified setting gets more appealing every day. However, nothing stays perfect forever.

My advice? Stay out of the way of high-speed chases, be leery of luxury vehicles loaded down with overpriced jogging suits and practice proper cigarette-bumming etiquette.

You never know who may be holding out on you.

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