This weekend I boarded a plane to fly to Orlando, FL. I had already had one flight on Thursday night and was exhausted after a long day of classes. I was late for my connection, got my seat assignment and boarded the flight. As I made my way back towards my seat, I saw what would on any other day be a nightmare flight. Sitting in my row, was a married couple with an 18-month-old baby. On a typical day, this would anger me, as it would most people.
As I sat down, I realized that this little girl was the personification of safety. She was totally oblivious to the dangers of being on an airline in our modern society. She seemed so peaceful. As we were preparing for take-off, she leaned over, grabbed my hand, and uttered a quiet “Hi!” This was when I realized she felt completely safe, and I feel all people are entitled to this luxury. I believe that everyone, no matter how old should be able to feel this safe.
My opinions on public safety are heavily influenced by where I came from. I grew up in a place where the feeling of safety was sometimes very far removed. A place where a walk down the street alone at night, even sometimes during the day, was not recommended. Growing up in South Africa I saw theft, rape and murder haunt the front pages of the newspaper on a daily basis.
Luckily, I never had anything happen to me, but I know people who live in constant fear because they were attacked, had their cars hijacked, or houses robbed, This history of violence creates a very unsettling feeling; if it happened once, why could it not happen again?
Since moving to the United States, I have realized just how precious my safety is. I know that I am safe in my own house and around my friends and family. Unfortunately, this is not true for all people.
I believe that girls should be able to go out at night, go to parties or bars and know that they are not going to be assaulted. I believe people should be able to walk home alone at night and not have to worry about who or what is around the corner. I believe that young boys should be able to feel safe when attending Sunday school, or sitting at home playing video games, or sports in the backyard. I believe that husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins should feel completely safe when they are in the security of their own living room. I believe that all people should be free from hands that hit and mouths that yell, safe from bruises and bleeding. Everyone should be able to enjoy life in the safety of our own living rooms, and in our community.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.