I must admit an expletive slipped from my lips this morning when I saw Nicole Ducouer on my living room TV. Nothing against Nicole, mind you - I hardly know her. But the sight of my crosstown competitor reporting live from the scene of an overnight shooting filled me with dread nonetheless - not because the streets of Greensboro are any less safer, but because I knew I'd soon join her out there in the sweltering muck. If that seems insensitive considering three people were shot, then you haven't spent much time babysitting crime tape. I have - and I knew I'd be doing so again even before the cell phone reached out and bit me.
As far as crime scenes go, it was pretty typical. Uniformed officers paced behind their billowing yellow streamer, curious locals stetched their necks in hopes of seeing something salacious and a small group of bored photographers pointed their lenses at both. When I arrived, those journlaists already there informed me the PIO was on the way. PIO - that's Public Information Officer, the one cop tasked with keeping the media informed. While we waited, I recorded the obligatory shots and thought about the City Council meeting I'd attended Monday - the one where city leaders begrudgingly admitted Greensboro has a gang problem. What tipped them off?
Still, I'd be lying if I said I spent my time on Teague Street fretting over gangbangers and politicians. Far from it. See, one man's crime scene is another man's social circle. Take Brian Hall and Bill Welch here. I know neither very well, but every couple of weeks or so we'll all gather at some unlikely spot and gossip. The fact that someonme else's disaster is playing out nearby rarely matters, for the novelty of breaking news wore off a l-o-n-g time ago. So we chat, joke, even play grab-ass. Anything to pass the hours. Maybe that's why I can't stomach all those CSI shows. Too much overacting, too many dramatic pauses. If they want to portray real life crime scenery (they don't), they should fill the egdes of their screens with bored photogs playing rock-paper-scissors.
That, I'd watch.