2007, Journalism, Politics, Society

The Culture of Fear

This culture of fear is ridiculous.

On Thursday, I was on my home, and at the James-Main intersection. I wanted to cross it a particular way because, on Thursday, the new View comes out. It is located in a box on the southeast corner. So I want to go to that corner, rather than the northwest. I think that’s understandable. It also makes sense that I might want to catch the north-south light, instead of having to wait through the whole east-west light. (Though usually it wouldn’t matter…Thursday is the only day I do this.)

So I see that I might not make it unless I hurry. It’s green with the walking dude, but I’m a ways away. So I start to walk fast. The flashing hand starts. A girl starts to cross. I enter the road and, seeing that the hand is going faster, start to do a half-run type thing. I come up right behind the girl, who is walking very slowly for a yellow light, but then this is Hamilton, and pedestrians don’t care at all.

Me, I am thinking about one thing: I want to get out of the intersection because a) it’s Hamilton and people are crazy and b) because it’s common courtesy to not jaywalk directly in front of traffic. My instinct is to jog around this girl, to the left, because that’s where the View box is. She gets up on to the curb and, on the edge of the curb, so that no one else behind her could conceivably get out of the street, she spins around to my left and, without looking at me, lets out a gasp and jumps a foot in the air. I, being my usual self, don’t really figure out what she’s reacting to just at that moment, and I barely avoid crashing into her by moving to my right, and now, slowing down, going over to the View box. The girl still looks the other way. When she is satisfied I am not going to rape her, she turns back towards me and walks by, up the street.

There was no one behind us. There were no loud noises. Though she didn’t look at me, I can only assume (though it makes an ass of me) that she was surprised by me. She thought I was assaulting her, pretty much in the street in one of the biggest and busiest intersections in Hamilton. That is all I can conclude from the incident.

Either people gotta fuckin chill out or they gotta not walk around downtown Hamilton at 7:05 PM. People are going to run. It happens. Chill the fuck out. I need to get on the sidewalk too.

The world doesn’t have to be such a scary place. But if you believe it is, it will be.

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