Posts Tagged ‘Personal Safety’

I am the Barney Fife of Neighborhood Watch captains. Last week I shattered every safety rule. Well, two of them anyway, all the while telling myself this was the right thing to do. Now I know the most natural thing in the world is to make excuses that compromise your safety. What is unnatural is suspicion when people are doing every day things. What is unnatural is imagining an attacker is going to jump from a bush or hide in your car or worm his way into your home. You don’t really believe that can happen to you, do you? So you listen to your better angels. I can only hope those better angels are protecting you if you ever compromise your safety rules. Mine were.

I won’t go into details, but unknowingly I locked myself in the house for two hours the other night with a registered sex offender. I had an overpowering reason in my mind. Only after he left did I decide to run a Google check. He behaved as a gentleman and everything ended well, but I am totally disappointed in myself for being so stupid.

While still wearing a hair shirt for my deed, I did it again the following day. Again it was dark, and I questioned the unseen man knocking on the door. My rule is to ask a stranger to step to the kitchen window so I can see him, but he sounded as if he were straining with the heavy box he said had been delivered to his house by mistake, so I opened the door. In my defense, I knew the screened door was locked and could give me time, but that’s not good enough. Now I couldn’t see my name on the box, but once this man I had never seen before told me he lived at 105 up the street, I opened the door and took the package from his hands. Pause for a moment to picture that. My door is wide open, my hands are full of a heavy box and a stranger is standing at the door. Good thing he was a neighbor.

I am exposing my stupidity in the hope that you will remember this the next time this happens to you – and it will. Don’t let your guard down; don’t be polite at the risk of your life. Do the unnatural thing: imagine the worst and don’t take any excuses from yourself.

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A large guy stepped from the mega vehicle on the passenger side as I started to leave the grocery store parking lot today. I had locked my doors the minute I sat down, then unlocked and removed The Club from the steering wheel. It was a cool, pleasant day and I started to open the window just as the man began to knock on it. This scene was familiar. I had read it in many e-mail forwards. He would say something to get me to open up or get out of my car. I cracked the moon roof so I could hear him.

“You dropped something out of your trunk,” he shouted, pointing to the back of my car.

He was following the script to a T. I just stared at him. He disappeared behind the car and returned holding high one of my red, reusable grocery bags. Whew! I opened the moon roof wider and reached my hand out, taking the bag.

“Thank you.”

I thought a minute and added, “I’m sorry, you just hear so many stories.”

He waved his hand in dismissal and said he understood.

I did all the right things to thwart a person out to do harm. So why the sadness? It’s a heck of a way to have to interact with a helpful stranger.

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