UPDATE: There is a gofundme account set up for Michael Price’s family http://www.gofundme.com/pyf5n0
I earned a good living as a teenager delivering pizza in the backwoods of Kentucky. One of my best friends in high school, Billy Storms, got hired at Mr. Gatti’s and immediately set about gaining employment for his band of cohorts.
I had a red Toyota Tercel, time on my hands, and a need to earn some cash to take care of my expensive habits: comic book collecting, buying records, shopping trips to Spencer Gifts, and traveling around the Cumberland Highlands in search of chili buns and onion rings.
I was 16.
Tuesday March 24 2015, Domino’s Pizza delivery driver Michael Price was slain in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans while he was attempting to deliver a pie. He was 36 years old.
Price’s death follows that of Richard Yeager, also a Domino’s driver, who was killed in the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans 6 months ago.
Murder is commonplace in New Orleans in 2015.
We’re a city that has seen forty homicides this year and we have yet to reach April. Shooters openly roam the streets, crime is soaring and there appears to be no end in sight.
Regular folks are dodging hot lead on a monthly basis as they try to earn a living and keep food on the table for their family.
And now that it’s open season on delivery drivers in our town there’s a groundswell of support for them to begin arming themselves so they can get in shootouts with would be robbers.
We hear crazy gunfire every single night in the Bywater and we imagine it would be magnified greatly if the area’s pizza delivery workers starting getting in running gun battles with local bad guys.
As theater it sounds fantastic, but as a practical matter we’re unswayed. If Domino’s started running ads for new drivers by trumpeting that they offer the latest in high caliber fire power for all pie guys we’re not sure they would get the best candidates.
Tipping could very well improve if area cheapskates were made aware of the fact that the guy they were planning on stiffing is carrying a sidearm.
As acolytes of Nagarjuna we have to believe there is a better way, a middle path if you will.
When I was a teenage pizza delivery driver it never occurred to me that there may be someone who would do me harm. I worried about running over possums, hillbillies who didn’t know how to tip, how much pizza I could eat off the buffet without drawing attention to myself; things of that nature.
But in New Orleans if you’re delivering food for a living the thought of having violence visited upon you is a real fear.