After the SWAT team broke down the door, they threw a flashbang grenade inside. It landed in my son’s crib.Flashbang grenades were created for soldiers to use during battle. When they explode, the noise is so loud and the flash is so bright that anyone close by is temporarily blinded and deafened. It’s been three weeks since the flashbang exploded next to my sleeping baby, and he’s still covered in burns.There’s still a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs. At least that’s what I’ve been told; I’m afraid to look.My husband’s nephew, the one they were looking for, wasn’t there. He doesn’t even live in that house. After breaking down the door, throwing my husband to the ground, and screaming at my children, the officers – armed with M16s – filed through the house like they were playing war. They searched for drugs and never found any.I heard my baby wailing and asked one of the officers to let me hold him. He screamed at me to sit down and shut up and blocked my view, so I couldn’t see my son. I could see a singed crib. And I could see a pool of blood. The officers yelled at me to calm down and told me my son was fine, that he’d just lost a tooth. It was only hours later when they finally let us drive to the hospital that we found out Bou Bou was in the intensive burn unit and that he’d been placed into a medically induced coma.
Then there’s credit. The poor don’t have it. What they had was a place like First Cash Advance in D.C.’s Manor Park neighborhood, where a neon sign once flashed “PAYDAY ADVANCE.” Through the bulletproof glass, a cashier in white eyeliner and long white nails explained what you needed to get an advance on your paycheck — a pay stub, a legitimate ID, a checkbook. This meant you’re doing well enough to have a checking account, but you’re still poor.
And if you qualify, the fee for borrowing $300 is $46.50.
That was not for a year — it’s for seven days, although the terms can vary. How much interest will this payday loan cost you? In simple terms, the company is charging a $15.50 fee for every $100 that you borrow. On your $300 payday loan — borrowed for a term of seven days — the effective annual percentage rate is 806 percent.
The cost of being poor is apparent everywhere.
Heading back to Sweden today after a great time in the US, I guess one day I'd might get more time to write a bit about it, however, some highlights:
- Watching whales
- Summer vacation full US-style in the Cape & the Vineyard
- Walks through European-style Boston
- Coffee in High Line park in New York
- Random night with a Tibetan monk and two new french friends in Chinatown
- Brunch walk in Brooklyn