From a comparatively squeaky sterile country to the land of “manifest destiny”, one has to accept all that this place has to offer – the good, bad and ugly. Whatever am I thinking of?
I’m thinking of Wild Wild West, ghost towns and bandits, railway robberies, CSI, and various other movie productions of heroic acts against crimes accused or vindicated. A gun culture dating back to ‘cowboys and red indians’ from popular black-and-white western shows.
This morning, I woke up to yet another report of fatal shooting, this time near Seattle – a domestic violence that left three other innocent people dead. What’s even more disturbing is the gun advertisements inappropriately tagged to the piece of news.
Say no more.
Family and friends back home are getting worried for me. I checked with my contacts who have been living in the States for years what all this mean to them.
They choose not to be bothered by such things. It happens all the time, at any time, came the replies almost in lamenting tones. Just stay out of trouble spots and reside in good neighbourhoods, was the common advice.
Talking about neighbourhoods, I have a theory to tell what makes a good neighbourhood. Check the sidewalks – they should be neat, clean, evenly paved, with tidy landscaping and broad enough for two persons walking side by side comfortably or one person and a dog.
But that’s just the hardware. I believe the heart of a good neighbourhood is in its people. I met a volunteer at the thrift shop who lives north of the city, in Shoreline. By Seattle’s standards, that’s considered ‘ulu’, a rural place lacking in affluence and opportunities.
Chatting with Julie, the lady who sorts out books at the shop, I get a feeling of care and sincerity. Julie introduced me to another volunteer, a retired truck driver who recommended me several books on Seattle at $1.99 with 50% discount for those with blue labels. What a bargain! I bought three books which turned out to be most useful for my stay here.
That’s how this place is. One meets nice people along the way and that helps to dispel all fears and reality that somewhere out there is a lunatic about to hurt someone.
Well I suppose the mantra is to stay safe and vigilant all the time, anywhere we go in this stressed and hurried world.