It was odd to see our neighborhood in the news earlier this week. I may be biased, but I think we live in a nice neighborhood. Actually, the adjectives used in the reports were: "quiet street," "close knit community," "nice neighborhood," "middle class," "peaceful," "one of the safest places."
And yet, two days ago, just after midnight, a man broke into the house of one of our neighbors and raped her.
This kind of stuff always happens in "bad" neighborhoods, not here.
When I first received my concealed handgun permit, I had to make a decision. I was either going to carry the gun full time (except where prohibited by law), or I was wasting time and money. I decided that if I was going to spend the time and money and hassle of getting the permit, I was going to carry as often as I could.
And so, I do. I carry to the store, I carry to the restaurant, and I carry to the park. This also means that I carry while walking the dog, walking my wife to her car in the morning, even while dragging the trash to the curb. I'm not paranoid. I'm prepared.
You see, there's a difference between being paranoid and believing everyone is out to get you, and being prepared just in case someone does. People need to earn my trust; they don't automatically get it, whether sitting across from me in my office, or walking past me in the street.
I assume nothing. I wear a seat belt, not because I believe I will get into an accident. I wear it just in case. I can't walk around believing that my zip code will protect me from evil. I can't just assume that because I respect others, everyone else will do the same. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9.
It's sad because, a week ago, my neighbors may have thought my attitude was weird and over the top. I'm not so sure they would think the same now.
These things may not happen here, but we're all "not here" to someone else.