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I know, because the media tells me, that I'm supposed to be afraid of terrorists and natural disasters, but neither has ever impacted my life, really. What I'm scared of is people like the nutcase who pulled a gun on us during our morning commute today.

We were driving along, around the lake, when someone started honking his horn behind us -- I looked around, looked back to see if there was some accident or something going on, and saw nothing out of the ordinary, just people merging where two lanes become one. I didn't think much about it; horns are the daily "fuck you!" music of driving in Oakland. I continued on, past the courthouse, driving in the left lane, and a huge SUV pulled up beside us in the middle lane, and the driver started screaming at us, calling us "cracker bitches" and various other profanities, shouting "You know what you did!" Heather, who is a fundamentally polite person, said "I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean," and other conciliatory things. I gather the guy was pissed because he thought we cut him off, or didn't let him merge, or something? Honestly, I don't know what he was on about, and even if we did commit some faux-pas of traffic politeness, it hardly merits such a response. Anyway, after about a block of screaming at us, he said "You're going to get your cracker ass shot," and pulled a gun. (I didn't see the gun; Heather told me, and started crying.) Just then I made the left turn, toward the train station, and he continued on straight. Would he have shot us? I don't know. I hope he was just trying to scare us. He was successful.

I parked at the train station, and Heather tried to calm down. I wanted to get out of the neighborhood in case the guy was truly gunning for us, so after a couple of minutes Heather went down for her commute and I drove off, headed back the way I came. Every time I saw a black SUV in my rearview I went tense, and I imagine that reaction will continue for a few days. I dread the Monday morning commute, when we'll be going the same way at roughly the same time. I hope he doesn't go that way every day.

And no, I'm not calling the cops, because we can't give a useful description (black guy, in his 20s or 30s, wearing sunglasses, in a black SUV -- this does not narrow the field usefully in Oakland). He was beside us when he started yelling, so there was no chance of getting a license plate number.

This is twice in a couple of years that I've had a gun pulled on me in Oakland. Sometimes, I really love this city. Not today. I want to move to the country, where you only get shot because idiot hunters think you're a deer, or because your second cousin has a grudge against you. Where, by and large, there's a reason for violence directed against you, and it's not just the impersonal gnashings of the mad.



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