I don't feel safe anymore
By CECILIA A. TUCKER
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 24, 2003
I am becoming more and more frightened as I listen to the news. I used to think all the bad things in the world happened elsewhere. I would only listen to the news to hear the traffic and weather reports. I never ever considered anything of value happening in my community until recently.
It seems it doesn't matter if I live in a small or large community, bad things and questionable people seem to be lurking in all neighborhoods. I don't feel safe anymore.
Terrorist is a word I used to associate with people who lived in other countries. I saw them as radical activists, out to create havoc and revolution because they were unhappy with the way they were being treated. I thought about them being in the Middle East, Indonesia and the Philippines.
After 9/11, I knew there were terrorists in our country, too. I had never thought about that even being a possibility until recently. I am beginning to believe there are no safe places in the world anymore.
Over the holidays I found myself needing to travel by air. As we approached the airport, our car was stopped and thoroughly searched. After checking our luggage, we had to have it opened and inspected by individuals making sure we were not carrying any suspicious items on the plane.
As I looked around, I saw armed guards standing at every scanner. Recently I heard that some pilots are going to be allowed to have weapons in the cockpit in case they need to protect the plane and the passengers. I don't feel safe.
When I go to sporting events and concerts I am amazed at how many armed people are there checking and manning the entrance gates. I never thought our 'free" country would ever become like the rest of the world.
Why did I think we were immune to this type of living? I guess I thought we were powerful, protected and entitled to live a good life because we were THAT! I guess our country has had to regroup lately. We are not all THAT! Other countries' ways of existing seem to be having more of an influence on us than we are on them.
Now terrorists are potentially everywhere. They may go to the same movies I go to or we may attend the same school. I may be living next door to a terrorist or we may ride in the same bus or plane. I struggle with wanting to be accepting of all people but I must admit I am having a difficult time seeing others as safe people. I don't want to become paranoid and discriminating but I fear I can't be sure who to trust anymore.
I recently heard of another terrorist being arrested close to my neighborhood. I thought a mistake was made when it was reported where these people live, but it wasn't. My first thought was that I needed to move to a place that would be safe and then I realized those days were gone.
If this is as good as it gets, how will I ever be able to find the security I once thought I had? I don't want war and destruction to infiltrate my neighborhood. Somehow I guess I had always thought our USA was better than the rest of the world and we deserved to live here because we had worked harder to get what we had.
Maybe I was wrong. Maybe we were just luckier and our luck may have run out.
I don't feel safe anymore.
- IT! (Private thoughts of the Indomitable Teen) is written by Cecilia Tucker under the editorial guidance of a panel of teenagers (in exchange for pizza and volunteer hours). Tucker is a licensed marriage and family therapist at the Counseling Center for New Direction in Seminole. Comments are welcome. You may write c/o: IT!, Xpress, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or e-mail Floridian@sptimes.com. If you are interested in being on the teen editorial panel, please contact Cecilia Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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