This week has been frightening. The shootings at Virginia Tech and the brutal attack of a young woman in the neighborhood where I work have raised my awareness to a degree that I am not comfortable with. I find myself fighting the urge to look over my shoulder as I walk down the street, or to be extra cautious when dealing with my co-workers and patients. Arguing with my boss and the voice in my head, both telling me that you never know who could be dangerous.
I have been told before, by members of my family mainly, that I am not afraid enough. One of the last times I saw my grandmother, she greeted me with "How are you liking New York?" I said, "It's good." She said, "What's it going to take to get to you come back here? Another terrorist attack?" and she laughed. Having been a huge fan of Fox News since it's inception, I'm sure she was daily told the dangers of Al Qaeda, and how my lack of blind support of the war, and thus my lacking patriotism and support of the troops, were the very things endangering millions of Americans each day. One to the most difficult things for me, in this post-9/11 era, is the fear mongering. Terror Alerts (in NYC always a constant orange), daily updates on what terror plots have been foiled, and the knowledge that anything--shoe, toothpaste, library book--can be turned into a bomb is said to keep us informed, allow us to be involved in our own defense. But this information really just serves to keep us afraid, so we will not say what we are thinking when the clouds part of a brief moment. Danger is always present. This is nothing new. Constant suspicion and panic only make it easier for us to hate each other.