Rationally minded people do not live life in fear that they will be the victim of a crime. This is not to assert that they live recklessly—rationality, after all, implies a modicum of caution—but they do not allow fear to impede living. While those more brazen may find rationalists boring, rationalists do, in fact, live life.
I have never feared living life. I make the appropriate concessions to my safety by locking doors to the house and car, leaving my name unpublished in the local phone book, avoiding interactions with suspect people, traveling down well-lit streets as opposed to dark alley-ways. But I have never feared living life.
The possibility of failure and isolation from all that was familiar did not stay me from moving to Georgia and building a life for myself (and then Braden) even though many—early on—questioned my decision. The attacks that darkened America on September 11 did not temper me from boarding a plane for a friend’s wedding nine mournful days later even though many were—and still are—grounded by that terror. The homeless man who forcefully attempted to enter my car when I pulled up to his intersection one afternoon did not chill me against homeless men at intersections even though many—shamefully—are wary of homeless men all the time. As a rationally minded person, I approached these unnerving experiences—and others too tedious to address—as moments to live with caution and awareness, but never with fear.
And then I was the victim of a crime. And now I am afraid.
In the scope of life, the crime committed was menial; no physical harm came upon Braden or myself, a blessing for which we are truly thankful. A selfish punk (or two) broke into my car and freed from its securely locked trunk two suitcases containing ten days worth of vacation clothing, a camera holding record of a 9th birthday celebration less than two weeks passed, and a blossoming wizard’s collection of Harry Potter movies, years one through seven. The car was parked, upon urging of my rationality, beneath the window at the front of Marriott hotel at which we were staying—a hotel I selected because of its seemingly safe location in a suburb of Kansas City. (A location we had frequented one other time without reservation.) Three days after the crime, all of the clothing items (short one pair of sandals), were discovered in a trashed room on the very floor of the hotel in which we had stayed. The criminals rolled our full suitcases in through the front door of the hotel on Friday evening, rummaged through the contents, discarded what they did not want, and rolled our practically empty suitcases (now holding only stolen electronics) out through the very same doors on Monday morning.
The return of our clothing does not erase the pain of the violation or subsequent fear that has followed. Caution has been replaced by incessant worry. Worry that I left the car or front door to the house unlocked. Worry that I left the garage door wide open. Worry that even with the doors locked, someone will again break in and steal from us. Worry that the thief will come to the address on the luggage tag, and carry his violation into our home.
And now, instead of being a rationally cautious and aware woman in control of her world, I am a woman fearfully aware of her vulnerability in a world she cannot control.