Gettin’ Down in Norfolk

Does your life feel devoid of fulfilling excitement? Do you yearn for random, senseless danger? Perhaps you should consider relocating from your boring suburb to thrilling Norfolk, Virginia. Anything can happen at any time there on the Elizabeth River.

It’s the special sort of place where you can sit in a parked car in broad daylight in order to live stream your rapping when all of the sudden, a suspect storms over to pump 30 rounds into you, your vehicle, and passengers. Of course, if you’re perusing this site it’s probably because you’re a bit too stale and pale for such a musical inclination. Don’t worry though, because they’ve got a shopping mall.

Residents enjoy a lifestyle location in which any retail space can instantly be turned into a scene from Blackhawk Down. That’s due to the fact that this thriving metropolis is packed full of young people, and oh boy!–do they get up to some silly ‘ole hijinks.  

Last week, MacArthur Mall shoppers were going about their business figuring it was just 2:15 pm on an ordinary Valentine’s Day when they were treated to some real exhilaration. After a bit of mean-mugging between groups of young people, one of them decided it was as good a time as any to cock dat’ glock and make dem bodies drop. That’s the beauty of Norfolk–the situation can change as fast as young people can pull a trigger. “I was thinking Columbine” exclaimed one bedazzled spectator.

Sadly, Norfolk isn’t immune from hard times. It once boasted two shopping malls, but one, Military Circle, went out of business. At this point, the best it could hope to be is the set for an episode of The Walking Dead. That’s a real shame because it was a world-class venue for mayhem that MacArthur has failed to replicate despite being adjacent to one of the most vibrant areas of the city.  

Sometimes, a building is imbued with its own joie de vivre from all the wanton savagery that’s transpired beneath its roof. Military Circle Mall was the sort place where you could stop by the food court on a Saturday night and suddenly find yourself in a rehearsal for the imminent total collapse as hundreds of young people (no joke) “running rampant” stormed in to “terrorize” you and your fellow shoppers.

An afternoon of casual shopping at Victoria’s Secret could change in an instant as you found yourself introduced to the quaint urban practice of “leg warming” and a warm spatter of blood as a fight broke out over a pair of panties that neither combatant probably intended to pay for anyway.

Perhaps you’d be walking to your car thinking your experience was over, safe and sound, when you’d witness a group of young people pummeling one of their own literally to death. If that failed to float your boat, a stray round was only a heartbeat away as you could easily find yourself caught up in a deadly shootout between drug dealers and the SWAT Team.

Military Circle Mall is a truly a tough act to follow. Fortunately, happy days are on the horizon as city leaders push to remove the monument to Confederate veterans and open an Indian casino to vacuum up regional disability checks because it’s “an emerging destination for tourism in the mid-Atlantic.” A casino in Norfolk. At least they’ll be able to bank on bloodshed.

A few years back, I was watching a local station’s coverage of a double homicide. One of the residents being interviewed shook his head, and with a tinge of pride in his voice, remarked that “We get down to it Norfolk.”

Yes indeed, good sir. Y’all certainly do.


    1. I live in Norfolk. It’s just that kind of place round here. They’re trying to build up the poorer areas around the Chesapeake Bay with the Boone Family buying up everything in sight, tearing down an old folks home and building a new 145 unit high rise complex. Granted it will have amazing view’s of the bay, be within walking distance of a golf course and other amenities like food and some shopping but what that also means is that the property values are going to increase. I live at most 3 blocks from the place and I’m looking forward to the increase because just as soon as those places go up I’m putting mine on the market.
      To give you an idea of just what Ocean View used to be like I moved into a nice little one bedroom place when I was fresh out of the navy(2002) and decided to stay. I had just finished my last box and was relaxing when a knock at the door happened. I answered and a pretty young woman said that she saw I just moved in and for 20 dollars she’d help me relieve some stress. Mind you I hadn’t been in my new place but 10 minutes and was already getting propositioned by the whores in the area. It was a good spent 20 dollars. The next interesting memory was when Hurricane Isabel came through. The Old Ocean View Pier, Harrison’s Pier, was destroyed and was floating by. It hit our breaker wall so I know it was a bad hurricane. After the storm was gone I went outside and looked around to asses the damage. I saw about 3 pick up trucks full of fellas and they were being real neighborly and all the people who had evacuated they were looking out for all their electronics. TV’s, stereos, computers etc etc were all loaded into the backs of those trucks. They saw me watching them drive by and slowed down. I waved at them with my loaded 9MM in hand and they sped right back up. The funny part about all this is that Ocean View in Norfolk is a site better than the flood plane they call downtown. That’s where all the section 8 housing is and they wonder why decent folks will NOT move to the downtown area. Norfolk has some wonderful things here don’t get me wrong. I dont regret moving here after my time in the Navy was up. The Chrysler Museum of Art is amazing, the history of the region from the battle fields to the food and so many other great things in this city. Crime is just part of any type of city living. You dont need to open carry but plenty of folks do, you dont need to be armed in your home but most folks are. I like it well enough here to call it home but I am also a realist about the changes we as a society now have to live under.

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