Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Unarmed, but dangerous, in suburbia? Watch out in Wallingford!

The suburbs can be a great place to live, as long as you don't lose your mind and start freaking out every time you see someone new or unfamiliar.

Unarmed, but dangerous, in suburbia? Watch out in Wallingford!


Today's post comes courtesy of Lisa Tucker McElroy, a Drexel University law professor with a nose for news and a love of language. (This is not her first appearance in my work. Last fall, she organized the Mom outing that led to this column analyzing the movie, "I Don't Know How She Does It." Speaking of overachievers, I don't know how Lisa does it.)

McElroy, like me, lives in a quiet suburb prized for its schools -- a place where so little happens, that nothingness is a selling point for Realtors.

So imagine her surprise at a series of email blasts last week from authorities about ... wait for it ... a random man standing on a corner in Wallingford doing nothing illegal but absolutely freaking out parents and educators -- so much so that he generated police intervention and a school lockdown of sorts.

Read her account of suburbanites losing their mind (and their manners) in the Huffington Post. It's a cautionary tale for the affluent class, once she ends with hope because, let's face it, the reality is already depressing enough.

Here's what I hope for my fellow residents, McElroy writes. I hope that we'll act neighborly to each other, teach our children to trust instead of fear, and treat newcomers as friends rather than threats.

Here's what I hope for my town's police force. I hope that Chief Jones will resist pressure from residents to overreact to what he admits were suspicionless circumstances. I hope that, in the face of a real threat, he will send out detailed information that will aid residents in identifying dangerous persons in our midst. And I hope that he will devote town resources to educating his force about citizens' rights on public streets.

Here's what I hope for my children. I hope this is the scariest and most unfair situation they'll ever encounter in our sleepy little town.

And here's what I hope for that (blessedly) unnamed man. I hope you got apologies up, down, and sideways. And I wish you peace.


-- Monica Yant Kinney

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Blinq is a news commentary blog featuring contributions from Inquirer Metro columnists Kevin Riordan and Daniel Rubin.

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