Something to think about

Sarah Lelonek

I realized Monday night as I locked my door in Speedway’s parking that I am a paranoid person.

My car is visible from the counter inside Speedway. If someone were to try to steal from my car, I would notice. Still, I pressed the lock button as I exited my car.

There’s more to my paranoia than just locking my car: I won’t keep my wallet in my back pocket, I have a panic attack if I forget to lock the door to my house and I get nervous when I leave my bag unattended in a classroom during breaks.

For whatever reason, I’m always afraid that something bad is going to happen.

I think my paranoia comes from a lack of trust in strangers. I have watched the news since I was little and have seen stories of robberies, thefts and assaults. Not to mention, my parents have also told me to never talk to strangers.

But when does this paranoia become too much?

I’ve seen parents put their children on leashes to stop them from running off and being kidnapped. Some people carry Mace and keep their purses and wallets attached to their chests.

When did we stop trusting each other?

I hear stories from my grandmother about how she would leave her house unlocked when she went to work. People would greet her at the store and on the street.

Now if someone talks to me on the bus, I get a little nervous. If I were to say hello to a random person on the street, I’m sure I would get a dirty look or two.

People could argue that the rising crime rate in America has to do with the lack of trust in its people, but could it go the other way around?

Could the lack of trust in people have an effect on the crime rate?

If certain groups of people are stereotyped to be thieves and criminals all their lives, that has to have some effect on them mentally. People can only be looked down upon or thought of as a criminal for so long until those people see themselves as such.

Sure, this statement can be proved false easily. Not everyone that has been stereotyped turns out as a thief. Many are probably doctors, lawyers or clerks down at the local grocery store.

But still, words and actions have an effect on people.

I realize it’s hard to trust strangers, but maybe if we were kinder to each other, it would have some effect on crime.

There is a lack of loving our neighbors in this world. I know I don’t go greet people who move in by me with a welcoming basket, and I don’t say hello to people on the street.

I see the scowls of people walking to class or those in lectures halls, and I don’t want to talk to them. I sit in my own little world reading the paper or a magazine.

But what if people weren’t afraid to say hello, what if we actually took the time to meet those we live around? Could more smiles and greets change something bigger?

I say it’s the little things that have the big effects.

Maybe America’s people need to be a little more loving and trusting of each other before we can expect a drop in the crime around us.

Sarah Lelonek is a junior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].