Don't Do It Tonight
You know tonight is amateur night, right? The drunks at the parties, everyone getting blasted because it's the New Year. You'll see it all if you're out partying. You'll see it all if you're working. You also get to see and hear the gunfire.
Oh, the memories of gunfire. You would have thought it was a Military Channel special on D-Day some years. The pistols, the rifles, the semi-automatic weapon fire, even a few fully automatic guns, all ripping off thousands of rounds all at the stroke of midnight.
We remember those days and are amazed that we came through it unscathed sometimes. Hiding in alleys, on known blocks of dope dealers and other assholes, waiting in gangways for someone to come out on the back porch and fire a few celebratory rounds into the air. And then rushing out for the first gun of the year, maybe two and three guns. On one memorable occasion, five.
As we aged, we leaned the quiet happiness of finding a railroad viaduct or tunnel or parking lot and listen to the gunfire crackle, the radio pop with foot chases of coppers far younger than we became, getting that gun on New Years. We missed it. We always tried to be the police and succeeded more than not, and missing it was an odd feeling, but by that point, we were far more concerned with nursing our already torn up knees and looking forward to retirement. Just the natural progression of things.
So it pains us to have to write this in a way, but if we didn't, we feel far worse if no one told you whippersnappers what it is from the outside looking in after many decades of policing.
Don't chase the guns tonight. Don't do it. Find a safe spot, preferably with another car or two and just listen to the radio and the fireworks and the gunfire that you'll be able to pick out of the night air like only coppers (and soldiers) can do. Not tonight.
This will go against the most basic instincts that most of you have. To run toward gunfire, to save some innocent member of society, to make the world, in some small way, safer from itself. It sounds hokey, but it's true. And it's also true that you shouldn't chase the guns tonight. You may end up in a situation that you will regret the rest of your life, hopefully from a cozy retirement community, but possibly from a cold, concrete box - a prison...or a grave.
You are living in a time and a place where everything about you, from your knit hat/crown/Rocky the Squirrel cap right down to your hopefully shined (but more likely scuffed up) shoes, is despised in certain communities. And while there may be decent people around who, if not liking you, tolerate your presence and recognize the need for you, they are sadly in the minority.
If you confront a man with a gun tonight and it goes south, you will be adjudged in the wrong no matter the circumstances. They will say, "The gun was empty!" They will say, "He was headed back into the house." They will say you planted the gun or, most annoying of all, "Everyone else was doing it." And you will be wrong. Oh, you might be ethically, legally, morally all right. But you will be wrong and it will affect your entire career from this point forward.
Don't be stupid. Be safe. Be thinking about your future. Be fetal.