The brutal attack 0n TC Maslin late Friday night has caused many on the Hill to pause and wonder how something that appears to be an arbitrary life-threatening event could happen in the shadow of Eastern Market, in the midst of what are often considered some of the best addresses of our burg. The Maslin family has called Capitol Hill home for three years.
Following a second brain surgery Sunday, TC is in critical but stable condition. Friends happily report that yesterday, he repeatedly reached for, and held, his wife Abby’s hand. The couple had just celebrated their three-year anniversary last week.
Word of the event spread quickly Saturday morning; yellow crime-scene tape has a way of doing that. The detectives working the Eastern Market area aren’t revealing whether they have any leads. By Saturday afternoon, friends and neighbors were beginning to organize in order to help the family.
At Abby’s request, prayers were said at local churches for TC’s recovery at 10 a.m. yesterday. A PayPal account has been opened for those who’d like to make a donation to the family: go to PayPal’s payment page and enter the email address loveforthemaslins at gmail dot com. Plans are developing to provide babysitting, housecleaning and tending to mundane tasks of daily life in order support for Abby, a teacher at Brent Elementary, and their young son Jack, who will turn two in November. The local listserv Moms on the Hill (MoTH) is organizing those who want to make meals to be delivered to the family.
Sadly, recovery from a major injury is not new to TC or Abby. Before Jack was born, the two were involved in a major accident with a drunk driver, and fully recovered. Their friends, who call TC “a fighter” and “the last guy you’d expect to be involved in a crime as severe as this one,” assure me that their energy and stamina will serve them well in the months ahead.
Many, including irritating and trolling commenters on local blogs, will say we need to remember we live in a city, in a neighborhood that was seen as anything but safe less than 20 years ago. While those comments are spot on, this is the sort of thing comes as a kick in the gut because of its randomness; because it is so severe that there’s hardly a way one can place blame or put any sort of responsibility on the victim –much less give the tired advice, ‘beware of your surroundings.’ TC was walking home from a favorite neighborhood dive, not far from his home, in a well-lit area. Walking home to the ones he loves: just like you and I do every day.
The fact is that we do live in a city –with all its ills– but we also live in a place that feels like a small town. A small town that knows and celebrates developing friendships with long-time homeless residents like the late Peter Bis and wheelchair-bound Robert Plate; and a town that puts felons back to work in the BID. A town that deals with seasonal rashes of burglaries and more violent attacks on residents than any of us would like. There have been bricks and rocks thrown, and the tension is often palpable.
It’s encouraging to see neighbors responding so quickly to help other neighbors, often ones they don’t know. We as a community do that also by supporting programs like the Capitol Hill Foundation’s school initiatives and Capital Group Ministry’s work in Hill-based meal programs, food pantries and the center that serves homeless women. Sadly, many of us, myself included, only become involved in Ward 6 government, calling on ANC chairs to fight for our concerns at city hall, when something drastic like this happens. We get irate, appropriately so, when having our car windows broken becomes a regular occurrence, and when it seems there are concerted strategies to steal iPhones from metro riders. Let this event be a impetus to go to those ANC meetings, join Orange Hat patrols and attend monthly neighborhood police meetings.