A freakishly perverse scene unfolded in the neighboring town last week when, according to newspaper accounts, a man cornered a six year old child at knifepoint and proceeded to remove the boy's shoes and socks and slice his shoelaces. All this played out in full view of several neighbors, who watched as the boy extricated himself from this attempted kidnapping and ran home. At that point, the child's father and some neighbors went into action.
The perp made a few deluded turns around the block in his pick-up truck before the group was able to stop him, using their bodies as human shields. The Norwich Bulletin newspaper attributed this quote to the boy's father: "He would've had to run me over in order to get away."
In a relatively small, rural region riddled with convenience store robberies, parking lot hold-ups, and attempted kidnappings, I am freakin' freaked out. Drugs feed part of the problem in this area, which serves as a convenient rest stop not only between Providence, RI and Hartford, CT, but between Boston and New York. Poverty eats at it. Mental illness is an issue everywhere, and we've got no lack of it here.
I have no idea what to do. This community is sick. How do you start to treat a disease with myriad causes and seemingly infinite symptoms? I realize this is a bigger question than any one community; any one state; any one nation. It is, I think, one of the biggest questions of all.
Mine is a small family. Mine is a small child. If I can see the big picture, that doesn't mean I have any idea what to do about it. It doesn't mean I have a clue where to start.
So, tell me. I really need to know. What's the game plan, people? How can we keep our children safe?