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Reflections On My Second Life

Thirty-eight years ago tonight I came within a hair’s breadth of being murdered in my own home. It’s an interesting story, I suppose, but recalling it still causes a little adrenaline to spill into my bloodstream. Some of the facts are in this decision, but the main reason I’ve bookmarked the site for myself is to help me remember when it happened. It was on my 32nd half-birthday and, although I remember more detail than I wish, I can’t seem to keep the year in my head.

At one point I was laying on the floor and the perp, Leonard Brown, was sitting on my futon. He pointed my Ruger Blackhawk at my head and said, “I’m going to blow your fucking brains out.” I asked, simply, “Why?” He responded, “Cause you’re a honky.” I said, “Is that all?” He had no response to that.

He started telling me a story about being in Vietnam but, having spent many years working with lots of veterans from that war, I could tell he hadn’t really been there. He was, I believe, trying to work himself into enough of a frenzy – as well as getting me to respond fearfully, which I declined to do, so he could shoot me.

Eventually, he went to get something to tie my hands behind my back, something I was not going to allow to happen, regardless of the consequences, as I was sure that would be the end for me. He had to leave the bedroom momentarily and I had been slowly working my foot behind the door. As he left, I was able to slam the door, practically levitate myself off the floor one-handed (lots of adrenaline at that point), and grab my shotgun from a spot where I had hidden it in my closet.

I pumped a round into the chamber and said, “Get out of my house or I’ll kill you.” I heard him flee. Since I could not see where he was, and my girlfriend at the time (later to become my first wife) was going to be home at any minute, I could not fire through the door. I ended up going through the apartment, room by room, as I wasn’t sure if he had actually made it out. It was harrowing, to say the least.

There’s a lot more to the story, including three murders, several rapes, and somewhat of a comedy of errors (not funny at the time) getting the police to come and take a report. It took me five phone calls to three different jurisdictions – I was living in Venice, next to Marina del Rey – before the LAPD, who I called first and knew had jurisdictions as I saw them patrolling all the time, showed up. The officer who arrived was alone, had his hat in hand, and the safety strap to his sidearm in place, which unnerved him when he found out he was working an armed burglary and hadn’t been told so by the dispatcher.

Mr. Brown was eventually arrested, mainly due to his continuing crime spree. I ended up testifying against him twice – once at his original trial and again, years later, at a retrial on one of his murder counts.

The Court got one of the facts wrong in this decision. He only stole one weapon from me, and that was the Blackhawk, which he used to kill three men over the course of about a week and a half. I never got that handgun back, nor did I get back the beautiful pocket watch I had been given years prior by my maternal grandfather. I still miss the watch sometimes.

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Want Something to Worship? Try This

Instead of attending services — whether in a Church, Synagogue, Mosque, or Temple — watch this. It’s far more powerful than any scripture I’ve ever encountered.


An Unwanted Vacation

Some of the Bubbles Alyssa Spotted

Some of the Bubbles Alyssa Spotted

About two weeks ago our youngest daughter was sitting on the couch in the family room and asked a simple question, “Why are there bubbles in the ceiling, Daddy?” Much to our chagrin, once we looked up it was difficult not to notice areas that were clearly filling up with water. We had a leak (another one, as it turns out, since we’d had one almost two years ago). We immediately fetched a couple of buckets and pierced the paint holding the water in to relieve the pressure. I also immediately called the Plumber, who fortunately was able to come out and fix the leak.

Stage one was complete. We’d stemmed the tide. Unfortunately, the ceiling was now ruined and – as Shane the Plumber pointed out to us, there was still a fair amount of water up there. Next stage – contact the insurance company and get someone out who can fix the ceiling and bring us back to status quo ante. Would that it were so easy.

More Bubbles

More Bubbles and Damage

Because of the age of our house, everyone now suspected there might be asbestos involved and we needed to have someone come out and test for both it . . . and lead, which might have been in older paint. Sure enough, asbestos was discovered but no lead <whew!>. So now we need to have specialists come in, completely seal off the room to avoid contaminating other parts of the house, and remove all the offending material.

One problem. The room has to be completely emptied and nobody says they expect me to do it on my little lonesome. Hint – there are items of furniture in that room most 35 year old men can’t move by themselves, let alone a 65 year old man. So the guys show up but the room is as it was. They get all confused and, ultimately, leave without saying a word. Thus begins a bit of a Keystone Kops routine of non-communication, mis-communication, and confusion.

A Panorama of our Family & Living Rooms

Family Room Empty – Living Room Stuffed

As of today, I’m pretty certain things have been worked out. The company I was referred to by Shane the Plumber came out and packed up everything and moved almost all of it into the living room. Tomorrow the remediation company is scheduled to show up, seal off the room, dry the attic, and remove any asbestos they find. Unfortunately, they will have no choice but to seal off the back of the house, rendering it unlivable. I’m waiting for the adjuster to get back to me and authorize our staying at a local residence inn for Wednesday and Thursday nights; they say we’ll be able to return on Friday.

In the meantime, the kids have school and life goes on. We get a two-day “vacation” I really don’t want yet have no choice other than to take. So . . . we’re off on a mini-adventure as of, well, as of now since we’re going to have to pack up and gtf outta here early tomorrow.


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