Don’t Surrender the Night to Criminals!

The following post was made on Facebook a while back by a good friend:
“It doesn’t do any good to form anti-violence groups or anti-violence walks. The killers are sleeping during the day or trying to stay hidden from the crime they just committed the night before. They are up all night plotting the next victim, laughing at the groups, and planning more violent crimes. What really needs to be happening is, don’t put yourself in the position for something to happen. Be aware of your surroundings. Choose your friends wisely. Stay inside at night. Take care of you!”

My response:
Friend, I like, and for the most part, agree with just about everything you said, except for that last part about “stay inside at night”. As I’m sure you know, staying in at night is not always possible or practical for many people to do, particularly since many people work at night; some work indoors, other out. However, I understand your meaning and intention behind your words. Now, to be clear, if people decided to stay indoors at night – particularly out of fear of what could or might happen to them, then society freely gives the night over to the criminal element and law-abiding citizens would voluntarily restrict themselves to enjoying only the DAYLIGHT hours! Do you know that hundreds of stories have been written over the last few centuries about such a crippled society? Why do you think vampire and werewolf stories are so popular? Or why stories, like The Omega Man and I am Legend (based on the first film mentioned), zombie stories, and the Resident Evil, and Nightmare on Elm Street series, et al, are so popular, too?  People ALREADY fear the night and the darkness, and what COULD happen in an environment in which they cannot see beyond the silhouette of their own physical frames; a silhouette made by the light of the moon or that street light they just walked past.

Others fear whatever might be lurking in the shadows of the nearby alleyway. Furthermore, many people fear the darkness even in their own homes. They turn on the lights in every room or, at the very least, leave on timers, night-lights, and their radios and TV’s blaring in hopes of deterring anyone who might consider sneaking and hiding in the home to do them harm. Those more paranoid about darkness will, once they’re home, check every closed or cracked open closet door or window, behind bathroom shower curtains, and even the “creepy” dark basement and shed room – with flashlight and big broom handle, stick or worse, a knife or gun, in hand.

The darkness of the night is ALREADY well-feared by many in society…and, as you have said friend, the criminals KNOW this quite well. Therefore, it would not matter if one “stayed in at night”, for after a while, that person will realize that he/she has a self-imposed curfew for certain hours of the night, restricted from going outside until the supposedly “safer” daylight hours. Would you want to miss out on those beautiful starry, full-moon nights that God blankets the sky with several times in each earthly season? Would you want to rob yourself of that “evening constitutional” (aka WALKS) alone or with that special someone in your life, out on the street of a quiet neighborhood, perhaps to get some fresh evening air or just to enjoy a cigarette? Perhaps you’ve always enjoyed that evening walk to talk about the future with a special person, or walking the dog with your son or daughter, or maybe even waking alone and talking to your Creator. The simple things of life may seem to be gone forever as our times change but… that’s just it: it only seems that way! The answer is NOT to hide behind closed doors, or to avoid any job or situation that requires one to go out into the night. Danger and perhaps death itself (to borrow a biblical text) will always be “like a roaring lion; walking to and fro, seeking whom it can devour”.

Man realizes there is “danger in them there dark woods”, and so he meets his fear of the dark and its unknown by making light or FUN of it in the attempt to combat that fear. Man shows that while he respects the night/the darkness, he is NOT totally afraid of it. Being a free-thinking and strong-willed creature, Man will not easily surrender control of ANY part of the day of which his Creator has seen fit to bless him with!

And so, the results from the mind of Man are the stories, the TV shows, the films, and yes, the legends of the infamous “boogeyman”, which thrill, horrify, and stimulate that part of our psyche and intelligence.

The combative attempt Man creates to protect his freedom and God-given right to enjoy the night is for him to form active, LAW-ABIDING (not vigilantism), and often VOLUNTEER neighborhood watch teams and community anti-violence groups. These teams and/or groups watch and walk within his community so that a clear, strong, and demonstrative message is sent to the watchful eyes of the criminal element which, in effect, says to would-be criminals:

“TO THOSE CONSIDERING COMMITTING A CRIME IN THIS COMMUNITY:
BE WARNED: WE, IN THIS COMMUNITY, ENJOY OUR GOD-GIVEN DAY, AND  ARE NOT AFRAID OF YOU. WE WILL WATCH FOR YOU, REPORT YOUR LAW-BREAKING ACTIVITIES TO AUTHORITIES, AND IF NECESSARY, EVEN FIGHT YOU. WE ARE PREPARED TO GIVE OUR LIVES TO PROTECT OUR FREEDOM AND OUR RIGHT TO SAFETY, PEACE AND HAPPINESS FOR THE SAKE OF OUR LAW-ABIDING FAMILIES AND FRIENDS!”

This is (or should be) the purpose of any neighborhood watch team and/or local community anti-violence group. Therefore friend, for you to say that having such groups “doesn’t do any good”, even when you speak from a perfectly understood frustration over the cancer of violence that continues to infect and spread in Michigan cities and others throughout the country, implies that we ought to simply give up trying to deter local crime! As a military veteran, one who has fought for the rights and freedoms for this country, and one who has walked the streets of a few curfew-ridden and restrictive societies in OTHER countries (which only became so AFTER the people there surrendered the night to the criminals), I am not prepared now, nor will I ever be willing to simply give in to the American criminal element so damn easily!

So, just what IS the solution for society to take back the night from the criminals? I really don’t know. But I like the fact that many of our cities have brave, LAW-ABIDING neighborhood watch team and/or local community anti-violence groups to help deter crime and do whatever they possibly can to protect us. While such teams/groups are deterrence to most crimes, they are not omnipresent; they cannot possibly see everything or be everywhere all the time to deter or prevent all the killing and violence that continues to occur in our cities. As citizens, we can help both ourselves and the brave men and women who make up these teams and/or groups by voting on approval of funding to employ, adequately train, equip, and pay even braver men and women to become uniformed police officers. The answers to local criminal problems often seem to be found within the local citizenry, and what it does, or does not do, in the interest of fighting crime!

Our world is challenged daily with domestic and international terrorism, and the destructive actions of deranged people or groups who seek to rob a peaceful society of enjoying the peaceful setting of a work place, learning institution, shopping mall, fast-food restaurant, theater or any public/social setting. As alive and thinking creatures, WE must discuss and debate with our neighbors, community leaders, and legislators, possible ways to combat that which threaten our enjoyment of life in ANY part of the day OR the night. WE must consider our rights and freedoms not only in this country but world-wide and what WE can do to bring back a more orderly, yet free society without necessarily robbing or restricting ourselves of the freedoms and rights to life and the pursuit of peace and happiness. Consider the following illustration drawn from my personal experience as a father:
A young toddler placed in a playpen or crib can move about freely but only within the confines of that playpen or crib. The toddler watches mom and dad (and maybe any siblings) move about freely outside his playpen. It isn’t long before the toddler too, would want that same freedom. Pretty soon, the toddler WILL make the attempt to…”escape” his “confinement”, which most toddlers successfully do …and much to the dismay of the parents! When my son did it at nearly two years old, his mother and I were shocked! We would later learn from other parents that our son’s actions was something many toddlers attempt to do from the moment they can stand and walk. The point for my illustration is this: if we restrict our natural-born spirit to be always being free and hide indoors during ANY part of the day or night due to a perceived (and, depending where you live, often justifiable) fear of danger and crime, it won’t be long before we would indeed get tired of staying indoors (aka “cabin fever”) and want to get back outside, on the streets, out into the night. Either way, the criminals will still be out there…waiting.

– From Detective Comics No. 33, November 1939

While TIMING is important for the commission of any crime, basically, criminals are (to quote from Bruce Wayne), “a superstitious cowardly lot.” Criminals do NOT operate or respect certain hours, or a set clock schedule in the same sense as most law-abiding citizens; they function on OPPORTUNITY! So be it day or night hours, including the hours past midnight, given simply an OPPORTUNITY, criminals WILL commit a crime. It’s simply what they do. We need to keep this in mind as we take LAWFUL measures to protect ourselves, our families, our homes and/or businesses and personal property. We need to keep this in mind as we support the brave men and women who group together and are willing to watch, patrol and help legally deter crime in our neighborhood communities and cities. Let’s figure out how to alleviate criminal OPPORTUNITY and LEGALLY beat the criminals at their own game! Let’s encourage ourselves, and others, to immediately report to authorities ANY crime(s) we see or know about. Let’s NEVER SURRENDER any part of our God-given 24 hour day to the criminal element! Let’s NEVER RESTRICT ourselves, our very lives, to cowardly rushing indoors at first sign of dusk or twilight, hiding out of fear of the awful things that usually happen at night! Finally, let’s NEVER GIVE UP our goals to always making our lives pleasant, enjoyable, peaceful and safe for ourselves and our families!
Keepin’ It….REAL!

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