Yesterday the chaos in our country took another turn. We stayed glued to the news, shocked at the tragic event in San Bernardino, a city with little or no connection to most. Tonight the victims of the tragedy were revealed, names and faces followed by stories of wives, partners and children left behind. Instantly the names and faces make it personal, close to home and sad beyond belief.
The media poses the obvious questions of motive, terrorist connections, additional accomplices. Individuals struggle with the question, How and when will this stop?
I don’t have the answers but I do have a cry for action. An action that we all must take. If you’re suspicious of a neighbor’s, co-worker’s, family member’s or stranger’s behavior and those suspicions are founded on more than one unusual event, report your concerns to the police!
The days of “staying out of our neighbor’s business” or “not wanting to get involved” are gone. Our world has changed. We all have a part in keeping each other safe even at the risk of being wrong. Just as with reporting child abuse, it is not up to us to substantiate our suspicions. That’s why we have law enforcement. I often ask teachers and parents, wouldn’t you rather report suspected abuse and be wrong than not report it and have a child continue to suffer at the hands of their abuser? Reporting suspicious behavior is the same. What if someone reported Syed Farook and his wife? What if the police discovered the arsenal of weapons and bombs in their home prior to their rampage?
Their neighbors were no different than you or me. They were afraid to do something. Afraid of racial profiling. Afraid of being wrong. I understand that but I also know we are in an age when our fears have to become secondary to our actions. If I were faced with a similar situation would I find it easy to put my fears aside and call the police? No! But I pray I would find the courage, knowing that speaking up and being wrong is far better than the consequence of silence.
I include myself in this plea: Think about what you would do. Think about what your fears would be and why it would be best to accept the consequence of being wrong for the sake of preventing the consequence of silence.