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Monday, September 01 2014 @ 02:38 PM EDT

"A bullet through my bedroom window..."

Expat TalesBy DON WINNER for - Received today via email: "Hi Don, I writing you regarding the matter that occurred on Thursday, July 5th, 2012 at 12:05pm. First off, i would like to thank you for making those calls for me while i was at the police station. I had been there for 3 hours, and 3 minutes after calling you, i had 3 people at a desk taking my statement. I'm really shaken over this incident. I had never even seen a gun before moving to Panama. Now i see them everywhere and the last thing i would have thought is that a bullet would come through my window especially 25 floors up. I am having trouble sleeping, it's 6:15am and i still haven't gone to sleep. I'm scared to even look outside my windows let alone step foot onto my balcony. Not to mention the fact that there is still glass everywhere and bullet fragments on my balcony and in my bedroom because the police said that some criminologists were going to come to my apartment on Thursday the 5th, the same day of the robbery to investigate and that i couldn't touch anything. its now Saturday the 7th and they never showed up or called. I'm in Panama studying, i don't work and have very little money and i can't afford to replace the 2 windows the bullet broke. I got a quote to replace the glass. $450! Can you give me any advise as to how to proceed with this to try and get the police department to pay for the damages? Any input would be greatly appreciated. I'm happy to be alive but this event has changed me. I don't feel safe living in this apartment nor do i feel safe living in Panama anymore. I've included a few pictures so you can see the damage."

Editor's Comment: First of all, you can relax. If the criminologists from the DIJ have not showed up by now, they're not coming. So, you can feel free to clean up the glass and continue on with your life. You've documented the incident, and since the damage was caused by a stray round fired (accidental discharge) by a police officer in the line of duty, eventually the National Police will pay for the damage. I inquired about the procedure, and it's a long process before a check gets cut. Also, because you're renting that apartment you can't file the paperwork, the owner has to do it.

With regards to the psychological trauma that comes with a near miss - look at the bright sides, and there are many.

  • First - The bullet didn't hit you in the head, it was a miss. The proper response is "shit, that was close..."
  • Second - You were not the victim of the attack. No one was shooting at you. It was a stray round.
  • Third - The odds are massively against a repeat of this incident - like by about fifty gazillion to one. If you didn't get killed in this incident, then you're probably clear on this sort of a problem for the rest of your life. Well done.
  • Fourth - Anything which doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and scar tissue is tougher than the original.
  • Fifth - No matter how bad you think you have it, there's always someone who has it a whole lot worse than you, so count your blessings.
  • Sixth - This sort of thing could have happened literally anywhere on the planet. Police officers have accidental discharges in the line of duty all the time, all around the world. This was not a "Panama specific" incident in any way, shape, or form.

In short, suck it up, deal with it, knock the mud off of your boots, and press on. Or, alternatively, feel free to huddle under your bed with your knees drawn to your chest for the rest of your life. That's a lot safer way to live your life, but it's also a whole lot more boring. If you can't sleep, there are pills for that. Literally, I'm not kidding. All joking aside, you might want to seek medical attention to help you get through this little patch of anxiety - which is perfectly understandable. There are all kinds of relatively gentle medications that can help you relax if some more natural and healthy alternatives don't work for you. In any case, this too will pass. Best of luck.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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"A bullet through my bedroom window..." | 3 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
\"A bullet through my bedroom window...\"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, July 07 2012 @ 04:51 PM EDT

As an ex police officer, I have to concur with Don that the chance of something like this happening again is extremely remote. Rest assured that you are safe. Police officers do have accidental discharges and this incident could have occurred with someone just shooting up in the air. As far as the police not showing up, if they have not now, they probably will not. Don is more knowledgeable about whether the police will pay for your damages or not. Thank God nobody was injured and try to move on. This could have happened anywhere in the world.

\"A bullet through my bedroom window...\"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, July 07 2012 @ 08:07 PM EDT

Looks like a Chicago window. Just put some tape on it and replace after the third bullet hole.

\"A bullet through my bedroom window...\"
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 09 2012 @ 10:43 PM EDT

Since when do renters have responsibility to fix windows that break thru no fault of their own? Call the landlord, tell them what happened, and insist that they fix your window ASAP.

Besides, I think you were quoted the "gringo rate." $450 sounds exhorbitant.