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.