Cynthia Bond Hopson

I Lied, I am Living in Fear

Living in Fear

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I Lied, I am Living in Fear

I didn’t see it happening. I woke up one day and there I was—making sure I got gas before dark, parking my car close to the door, clutching my purse, limiting my news to lessen my stress. Months ago, I emphatically stated I “refuse to live in fear” so, now how do I explain my relief when I see an armed guard at the door when I go inside the bank?

At first it was terrorist attacks far off, then they came closer when the Murrah Federal Building was bombed. Then the school massacres, attacks at the theater, political rallies, sporting events, the library, concerts, churches, bombings at marathons, nightclubs, restaurants, grocery stores—nowadays mass shootings are daily fodder for news reports.

Some stations opt not to name the perpetrators to avoid giving them notoriety and keeping sensationalism from being an incentive for folks who would copycat these horrendous crimes.

This year so far, we’ve already had more mass shootings and attacks than we’ve had days and that doesn’t take into account the massacre at Michigan State University this week. Schools were once considered safe zones but between shootings, hazing, and bullying—cyber and regular old take-the lunch-money kind, our children might as well be at the OK Corral at high noon.

Some students are afraid to go to school because of previous shooting incidents and according to recent reports, some of the Michigan students had already been victimized by past shootings or massacres.

We know we’re in trouble when a six-year-old shoots his teacher– on purpose. I thought he accidentally wounded her but then school personnel said no, others knew he had the gun and he planned it. What in the world did this woman do to this impressionable tyke that he decided to take care of his business once and for all?

My children loved their first-grade teachers and Miss Debra, our son’s teacher, could do no wrong. I finally accepted that it didn’t matter what I said, if it differed from her instructions, her word was the gospel.

Carjackings, daytime assaults and robberies. smash and grabs—where a team rushes in a business and does what the label says, took most of the joy out of my mall meanderings. I fully intended to go my merry way, do whatever I was big and bad enough to do whenever I got ready to do it but the more, I thought about local and national events, the more cautious I became.

I don’t know what the answer is—every time somebody repeats that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” mantra, I cringe and am living in fear because while it’s true, guns don’t have a conscience, and they don’t drive cars and go around shooting folks on the highways and byways. People do.

When killers and shooters are too young to vote or enlist in the military, I’m not the only one who should be concerned. Stiffer laws might make us feel temporarily safer, but we must confront our fears and neglect, then dissect, address, and tackle their root causes if we expect the hatred, delinquency, hostility, hopelessness, and anguish that’s fueling them to end.

We must build relationships across generations, across cultures, race–the entire spectrum, and we must care for and about all the children, not just our own. I don’t know if mentoring, after school care, parenting classes, affordable homes for families to live in and flourish, are the answer but we do know they’re a good start. Trust me, we can’t build enough prisons or hire enough officers to buy peace of mind.

Looking for inspiration and straight talk with a bit of attitude? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more, and now every first and third Sunday on 94.7 FM, she’s hosting her very own podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, & One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There to Here.” In each episode she’ll share some of her favorite people who’ll inspire and uplift you. She’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful, so slow down, you’re in for a treat!


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