Saturday, August 22, 2015

Insensitive? Not when crime happens to your family


​​Some say we are losing our sensitivity to crime. I think, as a whole, that may be true of our society.
People enjoy seeing crime portrayed in the movies. That's nothing new. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the earliest silent movies involved an explosion.
One of my favorite TV shows as a young adult was "Barney Miller." It was a comedy set in a New York City police precinct station run by Captain Barney Miller. 
The main characters were all somewhat squirrelly. Miller was the sanest of the lot. 
Each episode dealt with the crazies that were arrested by the detectives in the precinct. 
The show was popular and entertaining but didn't really treat the victims of crime very seriously. 
What about "Gunsmoke"? Every week during the opening sequence Matt Dillon stood in the street of Dodge City, Kansas and shot down a bad guy in a gunfight. During that final season, there was a big push against violence on TV so Matt was seen riding his horse at full gallop and where the gunshots had been heard in the older opening sequence, we saw Matt whipping his poor horse. So much for opposing violence on TV. 
Most newspapers carry at least one report of crime in each edition, even if it’s just a blurb in the public records/police blotter section. 
Usually, we want to know who has been accused, who has been found guilty and if we know them or someone in their family. Scarcely a thought is given to the victim until we become a victim. 
It happened again to our family this week. 
We were first a victim when someone broke into our house several years ago. This time, my wife's purse was stolen.
She was at a McDonald’s in Rolla, Missouri with some of our grandchildren and her purse was stolen.
She was doing exactly what she was supposed to be doing, taking care of our grandchildren when someone grabbed her purse when her head was turned for just an instant. She has no idea who did it and the grandkids didn't see it happen, either.
Hey, I admit, I’ve heard countless stories of purse snatching. but I have never really thought about what that act of violation does to a woman. 
When it happens, you want someone like Crocodile Dundee to be there.
Remember the scene in one of the Crocodile Dundee movies where Dundee sees a man grab a woman’s purse on the street? He picks  up a can of vegetables, aims, throws it and hits the purse snatcher in the head as the bad guy is running down the street. Andrew Luck doesn’t have that kind of arm. 
Other than that, I can’t say I have been too interested in the crime of purse snatching. It’s just a few dollars, right? 
Wrong. 
When it happened to Linda, she lost her driver’s license, her checkbook, her insurance cards, her keys (to home and office), her phone and her new tablet. In addition to getting a new checking account, credit and debit cards, we also have to have the locks on our house changed. And, she has to replace her wallet and her purse.
Worst of all, it shook her confidence and that was the greatest loss. Now, I tend to be more suspicious of strangers than before it happened.
The police have the description of the items and the serial number of her laptop but she will never forget the experience. 
And I will never look at "non-violent" crime in the same way again.