I see the shomrim, the community guardians, pull up at the house next door in their armored jackets with the neon logo on the back, stepping off motorized bikes. Three bearded men drag a young black teenager by his hands, and I can see he hangs heavily between them. “That boy can’t be older than fourteen!” says Bubby, looking down at the captured culprit. “For what does he have to steal, so he can be in a gang? Ach, so sad, from so young they are already trouble.” The shomrim members crowd around the quivering boy. I watch them kick him mercilessly until he is sobbing and wailing, “I din’t do nuttin’, I swear! I din’t do nuttin’!” He cries out his one defense, over and over, begging for mercy. The men beat him for what seems like forever. “You think you can come in here and do what you want? Impress your friends? Where are your friends now, huh?” they ask mockingly. “You think you can bring your filthy kind into this neighborhood? Oh no, not here. No, we won’t call the police, but we’ll take care of you like no one else can, you understand?” “Yes, yes, I understand . . .,” the boy wails. “Let me go, please, I din’t do nuttin’!” “If we catch one of you here ever again, we’ll kill you, you hear? We’ll kill you! You tell your little friends that, you tell them never to come near us again or we will rain hell down on their black souls.” They step back, and the young man lifts himself up and flees into the night. The shomrim get back on their bikes, brushing off their shiny jackets. Within fifteen minutes, the street is as silent as death again. I feel sick. Bubby pulls her head back in from the window. “Ah mazel,” she says, “so lucky we are to have our own police force, when the real police can’t catch a nut when it falls from a tree. We have no one to depend on, Devoraleh,” she says, looking at me, “except our own. Don’t forget that.” I chastise myself once again for feeling compassion at the inappropriate time. For the teenager I should not feel pity, because he is the enemy. I should feel bad for poor Mrs. Deutsch, who got the fright of her life and lost all her precious silver heirlooms. I know this, and yet I wipe shameful tears from my cheek. Luckily no one can see them in the dark.