If this seems worse, there is a logical reason in illogical timesFebruary 28th, 2012 by Steven Gardner
During Monday’s district meeting hosted by City Councilman Roy Runyon there was a small disagreement between him and resident David Johnson about where the current scare ranks with past fears.
Johnson said the current fear, centered on a person who may have stabbed three people on well-traveled streets, is worse than ever. Runyon referred to the 1990s, when Bremerton struggled with street gangs, in saying that this current situation may not be the worst its ever been.
I don’t know for sure. I’ve only lived in Kitsap County since 2002, and for the first three years we were in Poulsbo. I worked out of that office. I felt no fear there. For the last six-plus years we have lived out in Illahee and I have worked downtown. For those years I have had my guard up a bit walking from the office to the parking lot a block away, but for me it has never been as questionable a proposition as it is now.
One time someone unhappy with how coverage was in the paper caused one of our reporters to ask for an escort to his car, but that died away as an idle threat. I was never personally scared myself. Now we all take measures. We generally don’t walk to the parking lot alone anymore. I don’t have any music playing on my iPod. In general I seldom did that before anyway, but now it’s for a reason.
Still, that’s no indicator of how bad this is historically.
So I asked someone who would have much more perspective than I: Chris Dunagan. He’s worked here for more than 25 years, so he was working here during the 1990s. And for many of those years he lived just down the street a ways.
Before I left on vacation a week ago I asked him whether things had ever been this frightening. Nope, he said.
We may be overdoing our fears, and the police officials who spoke to us Monday both said we should continue our alertness even once an arrest is made. And it is possible that the fear we feel now might be forgotten in a few months. But the idea that people are more scared now makes sense to me for the following reason.
When violence is up in most cities, it is still most often between people who know each other. Even if it’s gang violence, victims can be incorrectly targeted, but generally the killers are not attempting to be random. In fact, in most cases people seem to be targeted. But in this case all it seems to be is so random, that the victims are people who happen to be in the same place at the same time as someone who gets the notion to do something awful. I’m not sure anything could scare me more.
I agree that my movements and my commitment to living my life haven’t changed much at all since this all started. But I’d be in great denial if I said I wasn’t more nervous than I used to be. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so nervous about crime in my entire life.