Monday, 2 September 2013

Crime and Punishment

Our neighborhood has been in the news a lot recently. A lady a few houses down from us woke up to find an intruder in her bedroom. She grabbed her cell phone immediately to call the police and the intruder fled on foot.  They didn't catch him. A few weeks later a couple found a man reaching through their bedroom window. The husband chased the "groper" down the street but couldn't catch him. I have been watching the news and there seem to be more and more crimes reported on the news every day.  We have been told to keep our doors locked and bar our windows, and we do. We take every precaution to keep our family safe.  We street proof our children. We have two extremely vocal dogs.  I wanted to think that we were protected.

As it happens we had a situation last week.  People react differently when they feel that they are in danger. Sometimes people become paralyzed, but this is often the most dangerous reaction as it actually is a failure to react that causes the most harm. Some people flee the situation and it would appear that these people seem to have the best success rate. But what if you are in the house, it is after midnight and all of your kids are in bed? You awake to hear the sound of the door. You aren't quite sure that you heard correctly so you get out of bed and you start to head to the door to make sure it isn't one of the cats, when you hear the door again. Paralysis. Did you lock the door?  Is the burglar picking the lock?  Is he just making sure that the door is locked and that he can't get in?  You don't hear anything again but you know that you have to see if he got into the house. Weapons?  What can I use as a weapon? No baseball bats, samurai swords or any type of weapons in the house at all. There's a broom in the kitchen!  You grab it and head to the door but you don't hear anything further so you head to the front window and see if you can see the burglar.

Well this happened to me just the other night.  After the paralysis subsided, I looked out my front window and saw a man wearing a jean jacket walking from my driveway and onto the street. What do I do?  Do I wake my husband?  No, he has an early morning meeting. Do I call the police?  I have never called the police about a crime in progress before. What if this is the guy who has been breaking into the homes of the neighborhood?  I figured that I had to make a stand and call the police and warn them of a possible criminal in the area. The police officer who answered the phone call was professional and efficient and she said that she would send a car out to check out the neighborhood and they would contact me if they needed more information. My phone rang within 15 minutes.  The police officer told me that they thought that they had apprehended the person that tried to get in our house. He asked if all of my children were home. I panicked. Did this monster hurt one of my children?  I told the officer that my children had gone to bed hours ago but that I would check to see if they were all in bed. The officer paused and said that it probably wasn't necessary as the young man they found said he was my son!  Why would a robber pretend to be my son?  It would be so easy to disprove. What was his game? Suspiciously I asked the officer to find out the man's name. When the police officer came back on the line there was a chuckle in his voice as he said my eldest son's name and that apparently my son couldn't sleep so he went for a walk.  What I had heard was my son leaving the house and not a burglar trying to get in!

I was mortified. I apologized profusely and I am sure I was rapidly turning red with embarrassment. The sweet police officer reassured me that it was all ok and the officers would bring him back home.  I turned on the lights on the front stoop and waited for the arrival of the prodigal son. As his foot touched the driveway I told him that he was grounded...forever!  He looked at me sheepishly and finally smiled when he realized that I wasn't serious.  He followed me inside where we started the discussion about what happened and how we could have avoided this situation.  I am of the opinion that it is very important for us as a family to talk things out after we go through predicaments.  But I never actually thought that I would ever have to call the police on one of my children!  What a night!!

At least we can laugh about it.  But isn't that the best way for everyone to handle difficulties?