Ghoulies and Ghosties

The world is full of wackos.  Today’s paper brought that home to me yet again.

I hate to read the newspaper anymore, because each day’s issue brings news of another attack, another robbery, another abduction, another atrocity. Just living day-to-day seems fraught with peril.

According to Wikipedia, the term “home invasion” was coined by the Chicago Sun Times in 1973 (though they cite the event described in Truman Capote’s 1959 novel, In Cold Blood, as an example).  Until 1983, we hadn’t coined the phrase “going postal,” because no one had gone postal.     The word “road rage” entered the vernacular in the 1980s and “carjacking” in the 1990s.  I know these things no doubt were happening all along, but apparently not so often that we felt we needed a word for them.

I used to feel safe traveling.  Now, not so much.  I still can’t drive on I-95 just south of the Washington DC beltway without looking up at the overpasses and imagining snipers there.  Every airplane trip, I am reminded that there are bad guys out there by my long wait and partial disrobing at airport security.  And every car trip into the city is scheduled to avoid driving there at night.

Parents no longer let their kids go outside alone to play.  Now they have prearranged “play dates” (and that’s another phrase that’s fairly new to the lexicon.)  Every school day afternoon, there are two or three parents in cars parked at the end of my street, waiting to pick up their kids as they get off the school bus.  This street is a cul-de-sac that is one block long and located in a country village.  And some of those kids are teenagers!

We are all afraid of the ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night.  It’s a wonder we aren’t all barricaded into our homes.  Oh, wait, I guess some of us are.

Surely it wasn’t always this way.

Back in the day, people often left the doors to their houses and cars unlocked.

Travel was fun, and even glamorous sometimes.

As a kid, I walked a long way to get home from school (but, no, it wasn’t “five miles through slush and snow” – that was my dad).   My own kids variously walked, biked, or rode a skateboard home from school, which was on the other side of town.

During the summer, the kids often went outside to play with their friends in the neighborhood right after breakfast, and I wouldn’t see them until dinner time.  I wouldn’t dare do that today.

They might be shot by the wacko who killed two llamas with a bow and arrow this week, as they grazed in their fenced and posted pasture on the farm right behind my house.


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21 Responses to Ghoulies and Ghosties

  1. Neva Flores says:

    Sometimes it feels as if the world has gone crazy. 😦

  2. Oh, how sad. I remember the world you’re describing – left on my bike in the morning and gone all day until evening. But Llamas? Killed? Sad.

  3. souldipper says:

    After the freedom I had in my childhood, I cannot imagine living through the angst that parents seem to need today.

    Too much information gives negative people too many ideas. And many of us are not living in a manner that allows us to spot people who may be heading for the ‘edge’.

    My Guides addressed this very issue a few days ago. Is it appropriate to give the link? I will and if it is not good blog etiquette, please let me know, PattiKen. http://souldipper.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/someones-living-in-the-bush-mom-the-guides-respond/

    • PattiKen says:

      I agree, parents have a tough time of it these days.

      I see any number of possible causes for the current way of the world, but whatever has led to it, I find it very sad.

      Thank you for the link, Amy. No problem with “blog etiquette,” as far as I’m concerned.

  4. tracyhsays says:

    Nice write, Patti.
    I was one of those kids that would leave after breakfast and not return til the evening…Mom wouldn’t give it a second thought as long as she knew the general direction I was in. I worried when my daughter walked up to the mailbox…not twenty yards from my door.

    Sorry, but… DAMMIT! I have always been a hunter, or at least I’m still one in my heart…and it sickens me to see some perverted dumb-ass do something like what was done to those llamas! I swear if I saw it done…he would be pulling an arrow out of his ignorant ass. Sorry, but this angers me to no end!

    On a lighter note…I once stealthily stalked for quite a few minutes some deer I saw grazing in the woods. I was not hunting them, as it was not hunting season, and I was unarmed. Just as well, too…I had stalked, and snooped, and crawled, and sneaked up on some…goats! I sheepishly turned my red face back to the car.

    • PattiKen says:

      Sad, isn’t it, that we have to worry about the kids going out to the yard alone?

      I’m with you on the idiot with the bow and arrow, Tracy. The senseless killing of those llamas really made me angry too.

      I got a good chuckle at the mental image of you stealthily tracking and sneaking upah on … a bunch of goats! Ah-ha-ha.

  5. Jamie Dedes says:

    All disconcerting truth, Patti! Thanks for posting …

    And here it is Halloween coming up … and we’re making little packages for some kids in the neighborhood. We’ll hand-deliver them because no one lets their kids go trick-or-treating anymore… at least not around here. It’s considered too dangerous. I take that to be a sign of these times. (We’re also making treat bags for the homeless … a very different but equally sad sign-of-these-time.)

    On a lighter note, but still a fear: a friend called me tonight because she made arrangements for a romantic weekend away with her boyfriend (really – isn’t there another word for these “friends” when we are over 60!!!) … he refused to go because of all the news stories about bedbugs! 🙂 LOL … thought we should end on a lighter note! 🙂

    Hugs to you, Patti! Hope all is well …

    • buttercup600 says:

      I am laughing out so loud about this comment Jamie!!!! I agree about the “other word” than just boyfriend at this stage 🙂 🙂 hahahahahahahaha (bedbugs is a worry though…think I would have done the same)

    • PattiKen says:

      Trick-or-treating is still common here, but the kids all travel in packs with several parents as escort. We live in a small town, but those two poor llamas live in this town too, so small town or not, there are still wackos.

      How nice of you to make treat bags for the homeless!

      Their are several words for those special friends, and none of them sound right. Partner? Significant other? Lover? Boyfriend does seem a bit adolescent, though. Mate might not be too bad…

      I don’t know, I can’t get too worked up about bed bugs. I can just hear my father’s voice saying “They don’t eat much.”

  6. buttercup600 says:

    Growing up in South Africa, this is very near and dear to my heart…I remember it all too well and it is so very very sad. Loved this post Patti…sending you love my friend xxx

  7. 2zpoint says:

    I hate going to big towns for these very reasons…Where I live the people do still leave their doors unlocked for the most part because we know who is coming around since it is such a small town…. and we all have firearms. It sure makes thieves nervous when there is a chance that they might get shot going where they are not supposed to. You are right though its amazing people even come out of their house with the stuff that makes nightmares happening all around.

  8. lceel says:

    I truly feel that it is no more dangerous now than it has ever been – what HAS changed is our access to information. What HAS changed is the media and their insatiable appetite for NEWS – or what they consider to be news – and their competition for ratings.

    I once bought a second hand chest of drawers and in cleaning it out, in preparation for use, I pulled out the newspapers that had been used to line the drawers. Pages from the “Des Moines Register”. From 1947. The things reported in that paper, from 1947, could have gone on today. Violence. Abuse. Abductions. “Home Invasion”. It was all there. But I promise you, few, if any, in Chicago, just a few hundred miles away, were aware of ANYTHING printed in the “Des Moines Register”. These days, things that happen in FRANCE make it to our consciousness – much less Des Moines.

    But the perception of danger increases with each report of all the bad stuff that happens absolutely everywhere. It’s been happening all along – it’s just that now WE KNOW.

    • PattiKen says:

      You’re probably right, Lou. If so, I’m really glad I didn’t know when my kids were young. They went outside and played. They traveled around town on a bike or a skateboard and had adventures. And they got into more trouble than I was aware of apparently (see the next comment). 😉

      They had fun, and thank heavens, suffered no long-term ill-effects.

  9. Mxwll says:

    This strikes close to my heart. I lament for my kids…the loss they will never feel. I feel it for them. It is not just for the lost days of play that I feel for them, but the minor mischief that I got up to as a teenager that, should they attempt it, may land them in jail due to a highly reactive law enforcement machine. The evils that men do, and the publicity they receive in the doing, have driven us to make laws that have little or no flexibility. A minor infraction could harm them for their entire lives. I have been chased through the woods by overweight out-of-shape police who gave up after I jumped the 1st log or bush…I mean; really, it is just a keg of beer and a campfire. Now it is a minor in possession with intention to distribute and unlawful destruction of property. They took the fun out of the mischief.
    Naughty does not a criminal make.
    As for the Llamas…that guy needs psychological or moral guidance or both.

    • PattiKen says:

      Chased through the woods by over-weight out-of-shape police??? Just wait till your father gets home, Young Man.

      Oh, wait, I guess I was scarier than he ever was. 😉

  10. The problem is same world wide, though in India we have a different kind.
    It is the government offices which are more corrupt.
    Routine life is little peaceful
    Nice reading you.

    • PattiKen says:

      Thank you for visiting, and for your thoughtful comments. India is not alone in having a corrupt government. There are corrupt government officials everywhere, I’m sure. Certainly we’ve had our share in the history of the US. I’m glad for you that your everyday life is peaceful. I’m not saying that ours in the US is not. It’s just that the moments (and there are many) when it is not are shouted loudly by the media, and that scares people.

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