CityBeat’s Living Out Loud – Cincinnati Blog

{March 12, 2007}   Desperation


The diner I work in got robbed last week. I was the waitress close to the cash register and I’m the one that the guy with the hood over his face pointed his gun at. He told me to empty the register and put the money in the paper bag.

There were only a few people in the diner and nobody hardy looked up. Just another day in Over-the-Rhine.

We called the police, filled out a police report – all that. Nothing new here. It’s happened before.

Why were we robbed? I think so mush of it here relates to drugs. Crack is almost on every street corner. People get addicted and they need to pay for the habit. It’s desperation. I don’t know how else to look at it.

When the black man pointed his gun at me (I know he was black, could see his hands), I wasn’t really scared. I knew the last thing he wanted to do was kill me. He just wanted the money, you know, desperation.

I see cop cars all the time here in The Hood – got those red lights flashing a lot. I don’t see all that many arrests. Are the police looking in the wrong places?

I don’t do drugs and often I pretend it’s not around me – but I know better. I know when people are high on crack. I see it in their eyes and when I see it, I want to look away and pretend I’m somewhere else.

Karen @ The Hood



Jim Stanton says:

Karen, the main thing is that you’re all right.

Justin says:

I agree with you, Karen, a lot of people in OTR are desperate. I lived there for four years and finally had to leave because of it. Desperation is one thing, but very easily could have been killed. Keep your guard up.

Matt says:

I wish you could find a way to get out of there, Karen.

Jackie says:

Find a way to get out of OTR. Why don’t you move future into downtown where it’s safer?

Theresa says:

I feel your sadness, Karen, but there are other places you can go that would be safer. Why don’t you and your sister become roommates and move closer into the downtown area?

Joan says:

With this post and with other ones you have written, people keep urging you to move. That’s easy for them to say, isn’t it? You have lived in Over the Rhine all your life and you no nothing else. Have any of you ever heard of fear of the unknown? Ease up on Karen.

Sue says:

Have any of you ever heard of fear of the unknown?

have you ever heard that change is a good thing?

Kristy says:

I hope I’m not attacked here (yeah, right) but I’m I the only one getting a little sick of these “poor Karen” stories? We all have troubles and issues in our lives.


Moving out is a whole lot easier said than done.

It comes down to really basic things–like, where am i gonna get $1,000 for a deposit and the first month’s rent? $1,000 might as well be a million dollars to a lot of people–I know it may as well be to me. And i have a college degree and “white collar” (well “pink,” really, it may be 2007, but not where i work) job.

I also think there is something to be said for staying where you are and trying to make a positive difference there. “Bloom where you are planted”–ya know?

Babble On says:

Kristy, let me guess, your ass is white and you live on the East Side?

Bonnie says:

You apparently don’t have a heart but you probably have money. Give Karen a couple thousand bucks to get her out of OTR.

Marilyn says:

Kristy, I’ve had more than my fair share of heartache, and I still have room in my heart for the Karens of the world.

Babble On, my ass is white and I live out in Confederate-flag-waving-land waaaaay east . Those two things don’t automatically make me ignorant. (And YES! I hate the mentality out here, so I try to make a difference by pointing out grievous errors in thinking.)

Marilyn says:

PS. Not everybody out here has $$. I’m fairly poor, too. Just for the record.

Heather says:


Karen may get sympathy here, but she never asks for it. She has never said “poor me.”

Not once.

She always seems the least shocked by the things she is telling us.

We give her advice, but she’s not asking for any. We give her support, but she’s not asking for our support. We love her. But she’s not asking for our love.

She’s just sharing her life as she sees it.

We give her our feedback and hope it helps.

Please try to repsect that.

Our gifts to each other are words typed into the meaningless space that separates us.

And this space becomes meaningful to us all.

Tyler says:

What I like best about Karen’s post is the honesty. Heather’s right. We need to respect her for that.

Richard says:

As Foxy has pointed out, it’s not always easy to change to get out of a bad area. I’ve lived in Price Hill for years. Is it bad? Yeah, and getting worse all the time – but I know the area, know areas to avoid. Karen knows the Hood. I think she’s safer than you might think.

Karen says:

Your posts always touch the heart. We love you 🙂

David Gallaher says:

I’m probably coming in too late here as usual, but does anyone besides me understand how it is the War on Drugs, not the drugs, that is causing the violence in OTR?
Understanding what I’m saying is the first step toward ending the War on Drugs.
Our ignorance and hysteria, expressed by our representatives, started it. We can stop it.

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