Monday, February 18, 2008

No One Is Ever Safe

Stop fooling yourself, nowhere is safe.
Take an extreme example, the "panic room". What happens if you can't get out? Not safe.

I read an article on the MSNBC site, Vulnerability exposed in today’s open campuses
Still, the freer environment of campuses also can pose security risks, said Ron Stephens, director of the National School Safety Center in California.

"For the most part, college and university campuses are much more wide open to the public," he said. "There's not a lot of screening done for students. There are probably few institutions that screen ... to see if someone coming on campus has a troubled or checkered past.
See right there, that's a bad assumption. People don't have to have troubled or checkered pasts in order to crack up, they just don't. The human psyche isn't a perfect machine where you can take it in for a tune up and figure out what's wearing down, and then replace that part. The crux of the issue is that most of the time, you simply cannot tell. If people could tell, they'd try to fix the problem. They would. And location really matters not at all.
"People go crazy whether it's at a school or at a workplace. ... You can't live your life not going to class," said Barbara Coons, a 21-year-old junior at the University of Pennsylvania.

That may be harder to say on a campus ripped raw by violence.

"My dad was saying last year, 'I'm really glad you go to Northern where stuff like that doesn't happen,'" said Bryce Lack, a 19-year-old NIU student, referring to the Virginia Tech massacre. "You look at everybody differently now."
See, Barbara Coons gets it.

Of course it's harder when you've just been through a tragedy. When you're nerves are rubbed raw by a terrible, violent outburst, nowhere seems safe.

I am reminded, though, of the book (and movie) "The World According to Garp". Garp and his wife are looking at houses with a real estate agent, when a small plane crashes into the home they're considering. Garp immediately declares that he'll take it, because it's been "pre-disastered".

It had a certain odd poetry to it - when something really bad has already happened there, what are the odds of it happening again? It's like lightning striking twice.

Do all the reasonable things that people do, and live a reasonable life, If your nerves are raw because of an unusual traumatic incident, get help. That's what psychologists, counselors and support groups are for.

We have to live our lives as a balance. We should not buy guns as presents from people who talk about how much fun it is to watch children and animals suffer. We should not stay locked indoors 24/7, having contact with the outside world only through our mothers, because mothers are the only people you can trust. We have to live our lives in the middle. Avoid things that are obviously dangerous, but continue to do things that should reasonably be safe. Don't take out a wad of cash and count it at night in a poorly-lit, poorly kept up neighborhood. Lock your door at night. Shop at the mall, go to the library, attend lectures. Take your children to the park, or to national monuments. Live your life, because nobody else can do that for you.

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