At 9am yesterday, I had two unexpected visitors. Two police officers showed up at the side door. They had gotten a call about suspicious behavior of a man in a red car talking to my children. A concerned citizen thought that this dangerous person was trying to lure my children away from me. But they weren't, in actuality, it was just my husband leaving for work and my children interacting with him in doing so.
So you see someone made a judgement, and said this looks not right, and thus called the police to intervene. And while that would have been nice if there truly was something wrong, there wasn't. And honestly I think at least 9 times out of 10 (probably more like 999 of 1000) this has got to be the scenario. And it sheds a light on our society a bit, that we live in fear. To me that is unfortunate.
First, I want to say I wish I knew this neighbor better, because then they would know which cars we drive and who my non-scary husband is. But unfortunately, our world does not allow these types of interactions. Instead we hole up in our houses and call police over a kid saying goodbye to his dad. Please dear neighbor come out of your house and come talk to me, I would love to know your story. And I do think that I have gotten to know quite a bit of my neighbors, we live in a highly walkable neighborhood full of people who do just that, but apparently not enough to prevent this.
Second, this bugs me so much in the extent that I feel like it plays into several mentalities that are wrong with America. One, we value our freedom, but we don't value our neighbors freedom. We would rather hide behind walls, and call in the authority and over-legislate to get what agenda we desire to accomplish. Two, we feel the need to instantly judge. We are a land of impulse people. We don't know what it is to wait for things, to really be patient with something, we instead think: Act fast, act now! despite how illy formed our judgement may be. We see someone disciplining their child differently than we would, and out comes the camera to shame this person and make their life hell. We see someone being awkward and we snap photos and blast them on the internet. Really people, stop it already. Remember we are all humans, we need mercy and kindness, not shame.
Last, stranger danger is overblown. That one case in a million people, we think that will happen to us, and instead of saying I'm going to be confident and trust God, we instead live in fear and fear monger those around us. I mean there's a whole website that is supposed to be centered around neighborhood folk getting to know one another, but stems down to the latest house break-in or car theft. I mean by all means, don't be stupid, because yes there are desperate people out there, but do we act like everyone is bad and we can't chance getting to know them, or do we live in a way that we see the good in everyone and try to establish a community where we truly help one another. I would much rather that, that one where I feel like I can't venture out of my house or let my kids play in my yard without a police call, wouldn't you?