Monday, January 16, 2012

The Myth of Control

We all know them.  People with CCW permits who only carry when they think there might be trouble.  Deluded individuals who somehow feel they can control when and if trouble finds them.

Let me tell you about a friend who doesn’t have CCW.  The tale is real.  I’ve just erased the identifying marks.

Winter arrived in northeast Ohio on 13 January 2012 with blowing snow and razor-like winds.  Norma and her dog were shoveling the drifts from the secluded patio behind her house.  In the summer it’s an island of tranquility from the daily rat race.  Her neighbors aren’t close and the patio, shielded on three sides by the house and attached garage, can’t be seen from the driveway or street.  The perfect spot to hide out with a good book and a beverage while the world runs its race.

In the winter the patio traps snow that melts next to the concrete block foundation creating damp spots in the finished basement.  The snow needed to be shoveled off the patio before the next warming spell.

It was late afternoon and she had just finished shoveling when her dog started barking.  She turned to find a man standing with empty hands in the opening formed by the gap between the walls.

“Do you want some help with that?” he asked gesturing at the snow shovel in her hands.  It was a strange question to ask; the shoveling was already finished.

“No thank you, I’m done for the day.’  Norma said.  She didn’t tell her dog to be quiet.  “Do I know you?”

“I helped install your hot water tank.”  

That was several months ago.   

“The plumbing company just laid me off.  Could you give me $25?”

Norma made right decisions.  She still had the shovel in her hands.  The dog was still at her feet yapping at the intruder.

“No.”  She said forcefully.  “I can’t help you.”

It was enough.  The man stood there for a second and left. 

Norma went inside and called the plumbing company.   The company knew who he was.  “No, we didn’t fire him.  He just stopped showing up for work.  He’s a little strange.  You should call the police.”

The police came and took her story, looked at the patio, and said they’ll keep an eye open in the neighborhood.  They advised her to make sure all the doors were locked at night and to leave a few room lights on.  They got back in the cruiser and left.

To me this was an pre-crime interview conducted by a potential criminal.  Norma was lucky, but I wonder how many things needed to change before she would have become a crime statistic. 

What if the dog wasn’t there?
What if he had gotten two steps closer before the dog barked?
What if she didn’t have the snow shovel in her hands?
What if she said she could give him 25 bucks and had to go in the house for the money?
What if he had been a little more desperate?

What if, what if, what if…………………………

Norma could still be laying there behind her house.

This shouldn’t convince you that a gun is the answer to everything.  It’s just an answer to some things.  This true story should convince you we have no control when trouble arrives, and when it does we have to deal with it with what we have.  

So, what do you have?

No comments:

Post a Comment