Safety: Perception vs. Reality

Is your safety based in the reality of the world around you? or in your limited purview?

Granted, we can only be based in what we know, so the question is really a matter of how much do you know? How much awareness do you have of what’s going on around you?

As an example, a few weeks ago when I was at the gym and the police came knocking because a shop a few doors down was burglarized. I had no idea the shop had been broken into – they went through a back door, which of course I never saw. Had the police not come knocking, I would have never known.

How much do you speak with your neighbors? Did you know that one of your neighbors had their house broken into? It wasn’t on the news, it wasn’t in the papers. Usually it takes having regular communication with your neighbors to know what’s going on around you. Of course today, many neighborhoods have groups on Facebook or use sites like Nextdoor, but however you communicate, so long as it’s there to keep you informed.

I thought about this due to a conversation I had with a loved one. That loved one doesn’t quite get one of my jobs, and does think I’m a bit paranoid. That I take steps to keep my house safe from burglary be it outside lighting, alarm system, guard dog… it’s all rather overkill  to this loved one because they’ve never experienced anything that would give them a need for such things. Well, after you’ve had your house cased, after you know some neighbors have had their house and cars broken into… yeah, you really would prefer to not be a victim.

But that’s often how it goes for many people: they come around because something happened to them. You find many women that never considered owning a gun, until that crazy, abusive ex came calling. I myself grew into this world because shortly after getting married and having my first child, Wife was assaulted while out on a walk in a “good part of town”. Yeah, often our perceptions are founded in our own ignorance of the world around us — because we just don’t know what we don’t know.

So I pay attention to police reports. I pay attention to the FBI Crime Statistics. I try to seek out information about the dangers around me. Yes, you have to keep it in perspective, and yes I can see how some people would think this is paranoia. But why should seeking knowledge and doing responsible things with that knowledge be considered paranoia? Or really, should we let being called “paranoid” bother us so much, since the label is being applied by those so obviously ignorant?

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