Holy Cow: DC National Guard Troops Deployed To Taylor Street Friday Night!?!

DC Nat Guard Truck Taylor and 5th

DC Nat Guard Troops Taylor and 5th

Am I living in a war zone? This is the question I kept asking myself after witnessing the scene above. What you are looking at is a DC National Guard Humvee with a huge spotlight and the photo below shows three National Guard Troops and one MPD office on the corner of 5th and Taylor, NW. (Sadly, I only had my cell phone and it was pretty tough to get proper photos with the 50,000 watt spotlight shining.)

I mentioned last November how my neighbor and I heard a shooting in the middle of the day and hardly flinched. That for sure was disturbing. The not flinching that is. But I think I am even more disturbed that I didn’t flinch at the sight of the DC National Guard Deployed in my neighborhood. I mean at first I walked right by them. I said to myself “oh there must have been a shooting, so this is the response” and just kept walking. Then I thought, holy shit this the national guard, I’ve never seen them deployed before. How bad does it have to get for the guard to be deployed? I think sometimes I focus a little too much on the beautiful life and let the absurdity I sometimes experience slide. I dare say it is not “normal” to have a guard humvee and troops on a residential block in DC. Maybe in Baghdad at the moment. But my relatively quiet little block?

So when I gathered my wits I walked up to the MPD officer and asked what was going on? She replied, “we’re lighting up the block.” Um, ok. I said I found it odd that Guard troops were with her and she said “we do it all the time”. Um, ok. Has anyone else ever seen Guard troops in full camouflage fatigues deployed in their neighborhood? Maybe the police don’t have enough resources and needed to borrow the Guard’s humvee with spotlight and a few troops? Maybe. Or maybe I really am living in a war zone?

Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather have them there than read (or hear) about another shooting. But is this really the solution? Do/would you feel safer having National Guard troops deployed around “hot spots” in the city?

35 Comment

  • When people are unwilling to admit the problem, the government implements drastic measures to try and solve them. There are certain things gov’t can not do. Changing the culture of a community is one. As a result, it responds by sending out the National Guard.

  • My friend and I were walking down New Hampshire to go to the Looking Glass Trivia night 2 weeks ago probably 7:45 p.m. and we were definitely within feet of gun shots on 5th and Taylor. We didn’t see anything I just heard them and we paused for a minute and then kept walking. The street looked empty as we passed by.

    I saw my fair share of shootings in Harlem, in fact, one right on my stoop were they guy was shot point blank in the back and paralyzed from the waist down. However, that was pretty much the closest I have been while outside walking and it was a bit unsettling. The fire and police dept. were there by the time we got to Randolph.

    My guess is the lighting of the street probably had something to do with that shooting.

  • I’ve seen them in Petworth before, actually about the time they “lit up” (placed four huge light towers on the corners of) the intersection of 2nd and Varnum near my house. I don’t think it’s an equipment issue, as the lighting trees were badged as MPD property, but there may be something about that operation that involves the Guard. Also, I think it’s easier procedurally for the Guard to get involved in DC (still a federal protectorate, basically) than elsewhere. It’s a bigger deal to see Guard units in Manhattan than in DC, I think.

    That said, the sheer firepower of any soldier greatly outmatches any cop, and it is definitely a little creepy to see people with full-on combat weaponry anywhere near the room where my daughters sleep. It sort of reminded me of the Carabinieri (sp?) in Rome – heavily armed (submachine-gun toting), black clad special police in flak jackets I saw everywhere when I was there years ago. My thought when seeing them was “what possible situation could arise that wouldn’t get a whole lot worse with the addition of fully automatic assault weapons?” I’m sure there are such situations, I just hate the thought that someone, somewhere thought that one of those situations had a chance, however remote, of arising on the street where I live.

  • There was a shooting on 3rd and Taylor a week ago sometime in the evening. On a Sat. night. The next morning I saw two cop cars patrolling the surrounding streets and alleyways.

  • They’ve done this in Mt. Pleasant on many an occasion, usually in response to some unlawful activity. Last time it happened that I recall was in response to resident pressure for a response to open drug dealing.

  • I believe the Guard and other military also has the ability to use DC as a training ground. For example, many battlefield surgeons earn their chops (ha!) treating gunshot wounds in our city. They cannot be so easily deployed elsewhere, but our special colonial status allows greater military presence without special approval.

  • Certainly the National Guard has been deployed to combat one single drug-dealing family that we live near in Mt Pleasant. One single family caused enough problems for our block that the National Guard parked their lights near their house. Of course we call and request this as well. It’s a very nice service when you think about it.

  • I’m surprised I missed this. Maybe it happened during the debate.

    I’m glad to see law enforcement activity around here, though I’m fairly certain that once they leave, things will pop up again.

    A very short, very recent chronology of cops and robbers on Taylor St.:

    1. About two weeks ago, a kid gets shot in the arm near 5th and Taylor in a drive-by that was rumored to be gang-related. The kid alleges that he doesn’t know who was after him or who shot him.

    2. Last Saturday, I tried to drive down Taylor around 11PM and the area around 3rd and Taylor was roped off and swarmed with cops. It was unclear what was going on, but my hope was that it was a bust on the drug house at 3rd and Taylor and/or associated stuff down on Marlboro.

    3. One day last week, the area is swarmed again with cop cars, but this time they are just sitting on corners being very visible. I asked one about the previous Saturday night and whether it was the 3rd/Taylor house and was told “that was an interesting night”, and that it wasn’t that house, but another one nearby.

    4. Then this apparent National Guard thing.

    It seems to me that the Police are either finally acting on information about that area, or have info on some sort of violence brewing, and they are trying to cool it off.

    I’m hoping for the best.

  • Have the cops ever tried foot patrols to deter drug dealing?

  • These street “light ups” are a complete waste of resources. I can’t believe I’m paying good money so I can be kept up all night by the loud noise of a generator and a blinding light coming through my bedroom window.

  • Has anyone seen the people who are perpitrating these crimes? Is it obvious?

  • I saw the lights and National Guard a while back on 7th by the Kennedy Rec center.

  • I have been hearing problems about 3rd and Taylor for the 4 years I have lived here.

    I distinctively remember a Police meeting, where and officer said to the room

    “Oh 3XX Taylor? Yea, we know about that. It has been a drug house for years.”

  • I have been hearing problems about 3rd and Taylor for the 4 years I have lived here.

    I distinctively remember a Police meeting, where and officer said to the room

    “Oh 3XX Taylor? Yea, we know about that. It has been a drug house for years.”

  • The National Guard Troops lighting activity has been happening for a long time. They go to different parts of the city, usually nuisance areas, and do it for a weekend or more.

    I think these activities are also coordinated by the different Weed and Seed programs. Usually all it takes is for a community to ask for the service and be put on the list.

    So no war zone, just a little community activism


  • Which house the the drug house on 3rd and Taylor?

  • How does the help solve the crime problem and create long-term, safer communities? Has this practice actually led to any arrests? It seems like it just temporarily moves the problem elsewhere.

    Lighting up a ball field behind a rec center makes more sense that placing blinding lights on the street. It seems almost purposely “over the top” and punitive to the law abiding people that live there. The best way to actually catch these shooters seems to saturate “hotspots” with undercover cops so that when shots ring out, armed law enforcement can emerge from the shadows and take action. It’s dangerous work, no doubt, but I see no other way to make arrests in the many “shots fired” incidents in this city.

  • Oh my. Will the madness every stop?

  • a friends car was shot up in the incident on 3rd and taylor last weekend… i was walking her to her car around 11 or so and we noticed her side mirror shot out…luckily a cop car had just pulled up to the corner, so she flagged themm down. as the crusier pulled in behind her, we saw that the bumper, trunk, and spoiler all had bullet holes as well…they taped off the whole intersection and told us that they had been called about gun shots heard in the area earlier…of course, no one was talking :/

    it cost us a good roommate, as the friend had PLANNED on moving in next month…

  • So the MPD knows the address of the house where the drug activity comes from, yets does nothing to stop it? So sad.

  • Geezer, the law-abiding people are asking for this service, it’s not punitive, it’s something we requested.

    Our local situation is that the drug dealing crew will only sell to people that they are introduced to. Someones’ cousin, friend, etc. They refuse to sell to anyone who drives up, so the police can’t penetrate the crew. Besides, the police have made possession arrests that the District attorney refused to prosecute because the guys threw the drug on the ground. So the police made these great arrests but the DA no-papered it because “all” of the guys had the drugs on the ground between them.

    I don’t care at ALL where these creeps get pushed to (my real hope is Maryland), I just want them off my block for 2-3 weeks at a time so we can have peace and quiet for 2-3 weeks. Do not try to take those 2-3 weeks away from me with your whinings, ok?

    There is a working basketball court a block from the drug house in my neighborhood, providing these guys more even more drug sales outlets is ignorant and stupid. There are community centers and parks throughout my neighborhood where they’ve been chased from for selling drugs. They WANT to sell drugs and fight, they don’t want to play sports! How is lighting up a ball field going to change what they want to do? That’s the kind of dumb thinking that got us into this mess. The DC kids can take a quick metro ride to museums that I longed to go to as a kid, but they have to make a real conscious decision to avoid them and do drugs instead. This isn’t Newark, there are pages and pages of job ads these guys could apply for, there are free museums they could go to, there are amazing video games they could be playing, but they really want to sell drugs instead. These drug sellers are not unfortunate, they are misogynist, racist victimizers. Nothing is going to stop them but prison and I don’t want to spend more money on them except prison.

  • Amen, Neener. Enough with the carrots. Bring out the sticks. These thugs simply take advantage of the collective sentimentality of folks like Geezer. I am not saying all cases require jack booted thuggish responses, but enough is enough. DC is a gangsters paradise, and serious authority is required to change that.

  • this house should be declared a drug nuisance property, see

    If this process hasn’t been started already talk to Muriel Bowser’s office, ANC, MPD or US Attorney’s office and figure out how to start it. We had a very similar house on my block that was successfully evicted as a drug nuisance property and the block is 100 times better as a result.

  • If you guys on this board think drug dealers sell drugs solely for money, you guys are really naive to the ways of the streets and street culture. Selling drugs is cool. No matter how little money they make, there are going to be women and men that look up to them. if you don’t believe me, just ask a drug dealer that seems somewhat friendly how much money he makes.

    Most weed sellers make less than $100 in profit a day.

  • petworth res, was the process easy and anonymous? the problem usually seems to be that everyone wants to complain, not take action…if getting a house on the nuissance list involves full names and multiple calls from multiple houses, i cant see too much cooperation 🙁

  • I hope that spotlight was shining right into the bedroom of the little punk that got shot in the arm two weeks ago and is now refusing to cooperate with the police (it was certainly aimed that way).

    That shooting occurred at approximately 7 PM in the evening when it was still light outside. There were bloodstains on the sidewalk. The neighbors at the end of the block had their car shot up during this melee. As they are frequently out with their toddler right where the shooting occurred—it is just extremely fortunate that their car was the only victim (I suppose the shot-in-arm punk was a victim too—but I’m not feeling too sympathetic to him right now.)

    The majority of Petworth works hard every day and deserves safe quiet streets. We cooperate with the cops at every opportunity to point out houses/corners that are trouble spots. Down with the “No Snitching” frame of mind!

  • Anon @ 4:01: That’s certainly my thoughts as well, probably 95% of residents / neighbors in my area are good people. The remaining 5% seem to have all the power though. It is so frustrating to be told that we’re simply victims in waiting for these guys, and so absurd. Unless you live in a really nice area of course… Just boils my blood. I wish I could be Batman! Pow!

  • Yeah, f**k that kid for being absolutely terrified of the men who shot him. Grow a pair, you stupid little pu**y! Didn’t anyone tell you that if you stand up to a bully, they will back right down (or shoot you again)?

  • this morning at 6:55am we had the national guard breaking into a house at 15th and e st ne. it freaked me out since i was feeding my baby his bottle at the time when i looked out the window and saw 20 or so men in full-on black head to toe and big big guns walking down the street past my house. they had blocked-off the streets all around the area and i heard at least 2 drug-sniffing (i guess) dogs in the house with them. it looked like they only arrested one of the young men that lives there.
    sounds like they are in town for the week…just hope they get them ALL.

  • Neener-I assume your “racist” comment concerns the genocidal actions of these dealers. At least I hope that is part of your rationale for using such a term. For my money, these folks are, among other things, participating in the “outsourcing of their self destruction”- as I heard someone recently put it… This is what saddens/angers me the most. But they dont see it…

  • This used to be all too common in many parts of the District a decade or so ago, when the city was deep in its terminal slide to oblivion under the Barry-Cronies(tm) administration. Petworth was in particularly bad shape at the time. Follow the link above for some blogging from back in that day, Petworth’s condition and the early efforts to restore it to some approximation of civilization are well-detailed.

    It’s a never ending battle, dontcha know.

  • I’ve lived around here for about 8 years. Columbia Heights for several years before that. Adams Morgan for several years before that. My experience has been that having National Gaurd light up streets means action is being taken to address drug dealing. It’s usually had some effect in the end.

    We fought the drug market at 8th and Taylor and then up the street on Taylor for at least 7 years. Basically by calling everyone who’d listen (or not) until we were blue in the face. I’m sure people were fighting it before I got here. The city attorney’s office working with the DC police (and maybe the National Gaurd … I can’t quite remember) finally got it shut down … or at least it has been for the past 6 months or so. Life is a lot quieter now. It’s a good thing.

  • Where is Muriel Bowser as a representative on the danger in her Ward? Is she just a West of the Park wannabee or does she really care about Petworth?

  • Your frogs in a pot people…….Wake up!!!! Its called martial law!!!

  • This program is often referred to as “Light All” and has been around since the early 90’s lighting up problem areas, boarding up crack houses and supporting MPD by making a choice location for drug dealers/thugs problematic for them to “work” there. People who have been around in the city for years should not be surprised by these tactics anymore. They support MPD as this work is part of the National Guard’s Drug Enforcement program.

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