Friday, November 20, 2009

Work is affecting my vision....

Not that I need glasses or anything, but I've come to realize that my work has definitely colored how I look at the world around me, and those within it.

I came to this realization, after an incident that occurred while eating lunch in our break room the other day. One of the other agents brought some magazines in and left them in the break room. I don't recall the title, but it seems to be a magazine geared towards women, and especially mothers who are home makers. At least, that's how it seems to me, I could be way off base as to their target audience. Anyway, there was an article written in it, and the woman writing it was talking about how whenever she got ready to take her kids out, she always thought about how dangerous it is outside the home. I'm thinking that's probably something that's good to be aware of. Then I read the next sentence, where she listed the dangers that concern her and make her nervous about taking her kids out. Germy door handles, car exhaust fumes, dog poo in the park,and ultra-violet radiation.

I was stunned. I pointed it out to my fellow brown bagger, Goose, and he expressed sentiments similar to my own. I'm thinking car need to be worried about the tweaking meth-head on the corner with the rusty steak knife in his waist band. Dog poo in the park..what about the sex offender sitting on the bench off by himself who's nervous tic indicates he's ready to re-offend. UV rays...what about the nice looking young guy walking along the side-walk who actually crazy, off his meds, and the shallow breathing indicates he's about a hair away from losing it.

The list goes on and on. My wife thinks I'm being dramatic when I see a car stop on the road in front of our house, slowly back up twenty feet, pull forward again, and go back and forth several more times, and I step to the door with a gun in hand as I peer out to see what's going on. It occurs to me, that she knows about the guy who lives four doors down from us that is under supervision because he killed someone(because I told her about it so she would be aware), but I don't tell her most of the rest of it. She doesn't know about the guy who lives less than a mile from our house(which is pretty close out here in the sticks) that's a convicted child molester. She doesn't know about the red-necked dirt bag that cooks methamphetamine less than 4 miles from our house, who I'm assisting the Feds to build a case against. She doesn't know that one of the guys who I sent to prison for 8 years, has family three miles down the road from us, who know where I live, because they happened to drive by one day while I was working in the yard. She doesn't know any of the hundreds of disgusting things I know about the people living within a 10 or 15 mile radius of our home.

I deal with the dregs of society every day, and I know not only what people are capable of, but how many of them there are in my area. I also know, that living out in the sticks, there's one Deputy on duty in my area most times of the day or night. If I were to get really lucky with a 9-1-1 call, he might be only 5 or 6 minutes away, and any further back up, at least half again that time. He's a decent guy, and a good cop, but he can't be everywhere at once. That's why I approach anything suspicious with a gun in hand. As a Boy Scout, many, many years ago, I learned the old maxim, "It's better to have something and not need it, than to need it, and not have it." This goes doubly for a means of protection, when you don't know if the guy slowing down at your mailbox is just lost, or looking for a victim.

My wife thinks it's drama, I think it's caution, but it does occur to me, that a few years ago, before I started this job, I might have just walked up there to see what was going on with the people in that car. Now, I only go to the door and observe, with gun in hand, until the car leaves, or I figure out what's going on and can make a further decision as to what to do.

So while maybe not everyone is a criminal, with nefarious thoughts or plans, I tend to look at most people I don't know, as potential criminals, and assess from there. Definitely a change brought on by the job. Not sure if I should try to do anything about it, or if I even want to. Better to be too cautious, then not enough.....

Take care all, and stay safe...



Anonymous said...

Geeez, that's a rough neighborhood, and they know who you are and where you are. Course, it's same reason my dad always carried and made us "aware". People's perception is always "colored" by their habits.

Casey said...

Actually, it's not as bad as it sounds. While I technically live in a 'subdivision', it's not a real neighborhood. The guy that lives four doors down, his house is just of three quarters of a mile away.

As for the others, you'd be amazed at who your neighbors really are. See if your county sheriff has a website that will plot locations of sex offenders, then snap a circle around your own home. Unless you live way, way out, you've more than likely got a sex offender or three within a couple of miles of your house.

As to the meth-heads. Well, we live in the mountains. Well, foothills really, but this is where something like meth is big. Cheap to assemble the components(ephedrine excepted) and fairly easy to manufacture, even for drop-outs. Out in the sticks, it's easy to not be seen, at least until you use too much of your own product.

It's not that I think crack-heads are prowling my street, looking for trouble or anything, but when something slightly suspicious, or out of the ordinary occurs, I immediately go to what I know from work, and assume the worse.

Days like today, where I sit in the woods watching squirrels and woodpeckers, and desperately hoping that buck on the other side of the thicket will come out where I can see him. These days help a lot. Although the deer don't cooperate, I can still tell people I'm hunting, and not just sitting alone in the woods :p


Crucis said...

My wife thinks it's funny that I carry even while at home. Then I remind her of the shooting a few doors down from her store last year where one was killed and another wounded. Next I remind her of the drug shootout six blocks down our street last year.

We also have a kid just up the street who burglarized a couple of neighboring houses during the day to feed his meth habit. Fortunately, no one was home and he would have gotten away if it hadn't been for his tracks in the snow (Snort!).