The children play amid the sounds of gunfire.   

The children play amid the sounds of gunfire.  

The Little Mafia and the Sound of Gunfire

These four buddies are part of a group of 12 who play below the windows of my apartment after dark when the streets are cooler.  They're happy, sweet, and well-mannered (well, 10 of 12 are anyway), without media sophistication.  After this photo, they ran up to carry my groceries to my apartment.  The youngest was particularly proud to show me where he had spray-painted "Nazis" on the side of my building, a common reference to the Israelis.  It's wonderful to see a childhood so simple and loving in the middle of this violent conflict.

Two weeks ago, while walking back to my apartment in the evening, I stopped in place when I heard heavy bursts of gunfire very close by.  I tried counting the number of shots, which quickly passed 50, and I stopped counting.  It was shockingly unreal.

All the children around me continued playing joyously while the gunshots were ringing out. I have a mental image of a little girl about 4 years old laughing and tossing her hair in the sunset’s amber rays while she peddled a bike with training wheels through a posse of boys kicking about a soccer ball. The shops were busy. The adults never broke step.

A few blocks away, Israeli soldiers had shot a car that didn't stop at a checkpoint when leaving a refugee camp. The soldiers shot until the car rolled into a post and burst into flame. The Times of Israel posted a short blurb that the soldiers pulled a passenger from the car.  Oddly, there wasn't  mention of a driver.