Living on the “Front Lines”

I took my 3-year-old grocery shopping today. You probably don’t think it’s that big of a deal. But I do. You see, if you live where we do, grocery shopping is actually a death-defying stunt. And that’s because around here, people die at the grocery store all too frequently. Actually, come to think of it, even one death at the grocery store is one too many.

If I sound a bit cynical it’s because I am. And I’m not proud of that. I am proud, however, that I didn’t let fear keep me indoors this afternoon. That I didn’t teach my children to live in fear, or to eschew our ‘mixed’ grocery store in favor of a segregated one (and yes, there are several in our area).

Grocery stores have become the new front lines of this struggle that has become our everyday life. This struggle that requires mothers of 3 year olds to arm themselves before they head to work or to the grocery store…or to preschool pickup. You know, just in case.  I first wrote about this topic nine months ago when three others were killed, and the issue wasn’t new then.  It seems that little has changed, except perhaps that stabbings have replaced vehicular murder as the method of choice.  I can’t help but question where our government is in all of this.  The very body that is supposed to be protecting us has done little more than offer condolences and dispatch additional soldiers who are, unfortunately, not able to prevent attacks carried out by unassuming teenagers.

My personal struggle is not only with the daily threat of terror. It’s with the deeply-rooted belief that not all ‘others’ are bad people. And yet, as long as teenagers continue to kill us on our own streets and in our own grocery stores, it is so incredibly difficult to remain unbiased and unafraid.

And yet, I try. And I will continue to do so; to go about my regular activities and to believe that most people in the world are decent and that it’s the few that are ruining things for the many. Because the alternative would require me to become a paranoid racist. And I’m pretty sure there are enough of those out there already.



Yup, it's true. I write all day for work - and now, apparently, I write for fun too.


2 thoughts on “Living on the “Front Lines”

  1. as usual, your essay is beautifully written and thought provoking. how sad it is that you feel compelled to arm yourself in self defense when you go about your routine daily activities. even more tragic is that the world at large views you and your neighbors as the aggressors and the core of the problem. stay strong, stay safe and don’t give in to the baser instincts and the cynicism that appears to be prevailing around the globe.

  2. sari,
    as usual, you have a way of crystallizing issues that concern many of us and describing them clearly, with feeling and, even, with wit!
    I love you for refusing to give in to the mass hysteria that is sweeping our country and maintaining your integrity as a thinking, yet practical, person.

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