A while back a friend of mine had a strange encounter in his neighborhood. He was returning home on foot and needed to determine if his wife was inside their house. This was imperative because her parents were staying in the house for the week. My friend didn’t want to be alone around his in-laws — one of his Mother-In-Law’s favorite things to do while on vacation was make little side guilt-trips, often at my friend’s expense.
So he ducked down, crept up to the side of the house, and peered through a window.
“Hey, you!!” someone shouted from behind. My friend spun and saw Larry, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer. He was standing on the sidewalk, thirty feet away, with his hands on his hips. Larry, who was in his eighties, was dressed in knee-high socks with bright, white walking shoes.
“Larry,” my friend yelled, while gesturing for him to be quiet, “it’s me!”
Like any good Neighborhood Watch person, Dirty Larry wasn’t going to let the fact that he was completely ignorant of the facts get in the way. Recently retired, he was now a Citizen Crime Fighter who needed a way to feel important. And this was his big chance to save the day. He wasn’t gonna let that slip away.
Dirty Larry shook a bony fist in the air and then barked “Get away from that house!”
My friend realized that further explanation was futile. He crouched and jogged across his front yard, keeping near the side of the house. Then he walked to a Starbucks to kill some time. Undoubtedly feeling like a hero, Dirty Larry continued on his rounds, walking down the street at 1 mile-per-hour.
Who knows what could have happened if Dirty Larry had been packing heat. My friend probably would have lost a window in the attic. But it could’ve gone bad. I remembered this event after watching the Zimmerman/Martin tragedy unfold. The biggest threat in your neighborhood is probably the guy who thinks it’s his job to keep it safe.