Jury Duty

I spent 1.5 days downtown recently for jury duty. I didn't get selected but I got to the courtroom and was part of the voir dire.

I've never been called for jury duty before so this was a novel, if not interesting experience for me. Anyhow, here are some observations from my 2 days away from work:

1. I really enjoy riding the Metrolink. Scooter from home to Shrewsbury stop, train to Civic Center stop. It takes a lot of time to get there, but the ride is enjoyable. Working in the exurbs for ~14 years has made me a robot. Commuting in the city is way more interesting, flexible, fun and relaxing. My stress level is nill when the iPod is going and I'm reading a book or watching the city pass by. Driving from So. City to Chesterfield is hell. I am getting to the point where I'm considering serious salary cuts just to work closer to my home.

2. Downtown at lunch was hopping. Never, never thought I'd say this. I mean, as much street level activity as any other big city in the U.S. There was a particular area, 9th street I believe, between Olive and Pine that was really alive. What a pleasant surprise. I guess, in many ways, Downtown really has arrived. I hope the momentum continues.

3. It's amazing how many of us, as STL citizens have been touched by crime in our lives. On the official jurors form, you have to check a box if you have been a victim of a crime. I didn't check mine.

However, during the voir dire, nearly all the prospective jurors had to explain why they checked the box. It got kind of personal in many cases. This is a violent country we live in and the city is an honest representation of this fact. Anyhow, after hearing what other people described as crimes, I had to change my mind and bring up the fact that I guess I've had crimes committed against me, even though I didn't check the box.

I would guess that ~20% have had their cars stolen. ~15% had been mugged and assaulted. ~40% had experienced abuse of some kind. Many, many have a distrust for the police. I've always known STL was a violent place, but this kind of hammered it home.

I don't really consider car break ins or garage break ins as crime. In many cases, it's partially the owners fault for being stupid. My car had gotten broken into so many times at one of my prior residences, that I quit locking the doors, so the assholes could rummage through without breaking my locks or windows. I got smart and secured my home entry doors. I got smart and never (ever) keep valuables in my car. I figured that was an urban lesson to be learned.

On a side note, gangstas don't bother with pennies (nickels, dimes and quarters yes). Cassette tapes, forget about it. I did have a friend who's car was stolen and they even took his newly purchased diapers out of the trunk. That's cold. I was reminded of Raising Arizona. This might be one of the funniest things I've ever seen.