Running through a dangerous neighborhood can be as tense as being cornered by a bunch of hungry zombies. Street gangs are increasingly preying on runners because their traditional targets, door-to-door salesmen and proselytizers are avoiding their neighborhoods.
The best strategy to stay safe is to run in a group and have one person carry chains that jiggle loudly. This sends a message that says, don’t mess with us. It’s also important to run in formation. A proven, neighborhood street fighting technique is the attack wedge. By arranging in a V-shaped formation, the group can easily brush aside an advancing gang. The flanks also protect against attacks from the sides. The only apparent weakness with this strategy are assaults from the rear. However – knock, knock! – runners are fast! Gang members can’t begin to approach from the rear. With their baggy pants halfway down their legs, they don’t have a chance.
Effective as the attack wedge is, having a scowl or tough-guy expression is very important. I tried to get wedge members to erase their smiles and take this photo shoot seriously because it’s a serious matter, but all they wanted to do was play around.
Wayne, the leader in red, kept urging everyone to follow him because he was the magical Pied Piper – whatever. Stephanie, wearing the hat and the only runner out of position told me she knows more about attack wedges than me and wasn’t moving. Veronica, dressed in black, wearing headphones, wouldn’t stop playing her music and couldn’t hear directions. When she finally took them off, the music was blasting and everyone started dancing. It took me twenty minutes to get them to stop and get back in formation.
Jill, to the right of Wayne and wearing the white top, is a teacher and kept giving everyone a gold star for the awesome job they were doing. But no one was doing an awesome job. No one at all! Oh, I was so very extremely intensely angry. I had to go for a long drive afterward. I was still in a rage by evening time and had to make an after-hours appointment with my anger management counselor.