As I arrived at our weekly Music Together class, I immediately knew something was wrong. Our beloved teacher was outside on the phone, clearly upset. As it turns out, she had just discovered that her Santa Cruz apartment had been broken into. Although we finished class, she was clearly rattled. We offered words of support and security. They knew you wouldn’t be there. Everyone is safe. Things can be replaced.
Another family I know right here in West San Jose had their house broken into last month. Mostly electronics were stolen, including a worthless but invaluable hard drive holding years of family photos. To add insult to injury, the burglars stole her car out of the garage to carry everything away. It happened when mom and kids were away on vacation and dad was at work. Again, we console. Thank goodness no one was home. Everyone is safe. We are here to help with whatever you need.
A friend of mine in Los Angeles is a runner. On her way to meet some friends for a training run, she parked in a parking garage. Her trunk was open, and a car pulled up and asked for directions. The man got out of the car, handed her a pen and asked her to write them down. As she did, he punched her in the face and stole her purse. Minutes later, her friends found her bloodied and bruised on the ground. The man neglected to toss her phone, and it led the police right to him. Friends and family rallied around her. We told her she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. They caught the guy, we said. You’ll be okay.
We console each other as well, trying to convince ourselves that it won’t happen to us. As a local police officer told me, the best thing you can do to protect yourself against theft is lock your doors. And in fact, in the first case, the robbers got in through an open bathroom window. In the second case, the house is at a dead-end street next to a park. It is a lovely location but there are fewer neighbors and many easy spots to watch the house unnoticed. My friend in L.A. was mugged very early in the morning. Maybe she shouldn’t have been out by herself. But of course, it is not the victims’ faults and these aren’t just people on the news, somewhere else. These are our friends, our neighbors. It could happen to any of us. No, it did happen to us.
As we were wrapping up music class today, one mom started a collection to help our teacher replace what she had lost. At that moment, it was all we could do. But what is truly lost cannot be replaced with a Target gift card: a sense of safety in your own home, trust in the goodness of people, the ability to walk down the street without fear. We cannot let fear rule our lives, but I’m reminded today that we also have to be careful. Please, look out for each other. And don’t forget to lock your doors.