Watching the news is always depressing, but last night it was extra depressing. They uncovered a new scam – someone knocks on your door, says he’s with the City and that there have been snakes in the neighborhood and he would like to inspect your backyard. As you let him in, and spend some time with him in the yard while he “inspects” it, his accomplice cleans out your house of electronics, jewelry and cash.
It didn’t happen in our city, but it happened in a neighboring city. As safe as we like to think this place is, what prevents criminals from coming here too?
We used to answer our door when people would knock. Sometimes it would be friendly neighbors, at other times, solicitors. But lately, we haven’t been answering our door, and it makes me sad. I can’t help but think back to grandma Chava, who always answered her door. More often than not, the people knocking were what we call solicitors – in particular I remember an old beggar woman, who received a smile and a few coins from grandma. Grandma had next to nothing – but that beggar woman had even less, and grandma had found a way to help her out.
Another common scam – highway scams, where you stop to help someone in need, only to find out he’s a criminal that robs you and drives away with your car. No one stops these days to help people in trouble on the highway – but what if something happened to you? Wouldn’t you want someone to stop and help?
We’re born naive and trusting, and over the years, we learn caution and cynicism. A child would gladly go with a stranger who offers her candy – we have to teach her not to trust people she doesn’t know (though sadly, many unspeakable crimes are done by trusted family friends). Learning to be guarded and careful is important – after all, evil exists and we must protect ourselves and our loved ones from it. But sometimes it makes me sad. I do believe that most people are good – but the evil, even if just a small percentage of the population, have power over us, and they change us, the way we think, and the way we interact with each other.