A War Against Shadows

About two weeks ago I began to think that if I couldn’t blog about something in my life at least once a week than two conclusions could be drawn:

  1. I have no business writing a blog.
  2. My life is not very interesting.

Since I slaved away at an English degree, I figure I’ve at least earned number one for a substantial grace period. Number two, however, has turned into a simple case of “be careful what you wish for.”

My wife, Katelyn, on her birthday, wanted to get away from the fuss of the city and head to Berrien Springs for some camping, fishing and wine tasting. We ignored our phones for much the blissful day and half, and I began to think about how crippling our digital world has become; relying on our smartphones, living out our days through DVR’s, PS3’s, iPads, Netflix and Facebook.

Knee deep in the rushing St. Joseph River, throwing out a few dozen yards of fishing line, we openly discussed how “real” life is far from real anymore and how the tangible experience of enjoying the outdoors has drifted off into digital obsolescence. We talked about how we should get outdoors more. Hike. Fish. Kayak. “We don’t need all this stuff,” we said. 

Someone was listening.

And they were glad to oblige us.

“At 11:30 p.m., on the evening of June, 11, 2012, James and Katelyn Curtis arrived at their residence on the northwest side of Lansing, MI, after leaving the premises vacant for a period of 37 hours,” said James Curtis, private investigator hired by the victims. “Upon arriving home, they discovered the rear sliding glass door open. After a hurried inventory of the home, it was determined that the victims were relieved of two LCD tvs; a Macbook Pro; Playstation 3 console, controllers, cables and games; computer speakers; digital keyboard workstation; netbook; non-functioning iPhone 4; and power strip.”

“It was soon determined,” Curtis continued, “that the burglars had entered by forcing open a window in the rear of the home, and that something had startled them–two guitars rested against the back of the house, apparently left behind. Police arrived on the scene immediately and are actively investigating the incident.”

That should sum it up. Thanks, James Curtis, P.I.–only, it doesn’t.

That was nine days ago. Or more appropriately, eight sleepless nights ago.

Robbed. What a powerful word. It evokes entitlement. It connotes possession. What once was there is there no longer. Empty. We have not been robbed of our possessions. What has been stolen from us is our home. The haven of safety. The very definition of security.

Was that the ice maker in the fridge? Honey, the motion light went on. Is that the dog getting water? Leave that light on tonight. Did I lock all the doors? Did we move that in the backyard? The war against shadows has begun–and we’re losing.

And yet, here I sit, on an old laptop they managed to overlook–or maybe ignored. I fished out a power cord for it that I haven’t seen in nearly a year. I have no punching bag or boxing gloves to speak of, so the anger I’ve come to feel is being relieved through punching these keys.

Anger. That’s what we’re left with. Knee-jerk reaction is to move–pull up anchor and move on to the next port–but there is no safe place. Safer? Maybe. Safe? Never. No, we’re digging in. Adapting. Channeling our anger into production. 

I would tell you all the details of the measures we’ve taken to help ensure our safety, but our hired Private Eye has advised to keep them private. Apparently the internet can be a very revealing place. Who knew?

No, what I really want to talk about, and I realize it’s way way down deep in this post, is what we, as victims, can do to help bring our enemies to justice. How can we help ourselves? I’m not interested in the best kinds of home defense systems. I’m not interested in prevention. We’re past that now. Many others are past that point. And not just robberies. People do terrible things to terrible people. How many people are legally eligible and able to hunt these criminals? It’s unfair to place the entire burden of bringing criminals to justice solely on the shoulders of law enforcement. They’re outnumbered. 

Complacency is the mother of injustice. It breeds opportunity: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” 

I’m entertaining many possibilities, always short of vigilante justice. I have no superpowers to speak of, other than perhaps being exceptionally long-winded. One group I have come across that I find interesting is the Crime Stoppers of Mid-Michigan. Their mission is to help solve crimes by rewarding $1,000 to those who provide tips that lead to an arrest. The more I read, the more I’m interested in becoming a part of this group–or perhaps give a small donation.

I want to start throwing some ideas around, but I also want to hear your stories. What happened to you? How did you cope? How did you help authorities? I think we can find some answers and catharsis together. 

Finally, I typically do not do this, but I’m sending out an end-of-post plea for my readers to send this post and blog on to whomever you feel could benefit from it, provide beneficial information to, or just simply to create awareness. It’s scary out there, people, and we’ve got to keep our human connections alive–not just our digital ones.

-JC

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4 responses to “A War Against Shadows

  1. My dearest James and Katelyn, this robbery has taken so much more from you both, than just stuff that can be replaced. I am forever grateful that you or Katelyn weren’t there at the time of the robbery. I pray with time, you both can find some peace and rest a bit.

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