I got a hell of a fright the other week on Monday night when my partner and I heard what we thought was a series of gunshots coming from out towards Castlecliff.
We were sitting on the front porch and had just seen several police cars speeding past with their flashing lights heading towards Heads Rd and we hoped it wasn't related.
But our fears were confirmed when police later announced that a drive-by shooting had taken place on Puriri St on Monday evening, September 13.
The house that was targeted is on the same notorious stretch of Puriri St where two people have already been killed from shootings in recent history.
I understand that there are babies who live at this house, and it makes me angry that lessons have clearly not been learnt after Baby Jhia was shot dead in 2007 from a drive-by shooting just up the road.
I don't care what grown adults chose to do in their spare time or what tensions they have with whomever, but don't take your problems out on children.
It is utterly cowardly when grown adults are risking the lives of innocent children because they don't have the tools or brains to resolve their differences like adults.
This is Whanganui, not America, and gun violence is alarming. Luckily, no one was hurt on Monday, but the violence didn't end there.
There were reports of another incident taking place in Castlecliff on Tuesday and then on Wednesday night, more shots were heard around the same part of Puriri St.
Police attended the scene and called it a "disorder incident".
They are calling for witnesses to come forward and share what they saw or know.
These reports strike a nerve with me not only because of the sheer violence and carelessness, but because up until recently we lived around the corner on the same street.
We know a number of families who live nearby, and needless to say they are good people.
Two reports of gunfire in a matter of days is sure to rattle them, and they do not deserve to live in fear.
When Mongrel Mob member Kevin Ratana was shot dead by the Black Power in 2018, I spoke to several people who were fearful that more shootings and violence would unfold in the aftermath and that they could be caught up in it.
The community is already under increased pressure being a low socio-economic suburb and it also has to battle a bad reputation ingrained by the actions of only a few.
Furthermore, I am disappointed with our city's leaders who have failed to speak out for this community.
I haven't seen anyone call the behaviour out and seek to support the locals.
A house with small children was shot at last week and our leaders do not feel compelled to make a statement.
Perhaps the silence is a reflection of the value they place on Castlecliff families.
Or is it just gang families?
Or is it just brown families?
If there were drive-by shootings in Saint John's Hill, you bet people would be making a noise.
Or do people genuinely believe this is just the hand of cards they have been dealt and nothing can be done about it?
Gang violence ripples out and impacts innocent families and children.
We cannot sweep these incidents under the rug and act like this is just a matter for the police to mop up.
Just because no one was killed this time, it does not mean that these actions should not be called out and publicly condemned.
Some of our leaders and councillors probably don't want to draw attention to the shootings, out of fear it could damage Whanganui's blossoming reputation on the national stage.
It is not good enough and I want to see more support and resources to prevent harm for these communities.
Easy to turn a blind eye when it's not on your doorstep though, isn't it?