So, read on:
When I defined "A Culture of Fear" I argued that it included three important pieces:
- restrictive fear
|Good Neighbors from U.S. Fish & Wildlife ...|
Please, try to think of your neighbors names. Who lives to your right? Who lives to your left? Who lives across the street from you? Who lives over your back fence? If you live in an apartment complex, who lives above you? Who lives below you? Can you name all of them?
I would bet that you used descriptive nicknames (and probably not nice ones) with more than a few of them.
When I was growing up, we lived next door to "Old Mr. Shut Up," and across the street from "That Huge Asian Family." The first was derogatory. The second wasn't.
Now that we've established that most of us don't know our neighbors and that it contributes to a culture of fear. Let us talk about how to change that.
You don't have to get to know all your neighbors. You don't even have to know all their names, but you should certainly be on friendly terms with them. Say "Hello," and wave when passing. Perhaps ask simple questions. I recommend asking different ones each time you meet. If something seems interesting, remember it and ask a follow-up question next time.
Of course, all of this means that you aren't focused on a screen when you pass them going from car to the house. It means you don't have your ear buds in listening to music or disembodied voices. It means you aren't talking on the phone when you pass them.
It does mean that you are taking the time to stop and smile when you pass them. It means that you have slowed down enough to interact with each other.
If you have the time and the funds to do so, invite one family over for an outdoor picnic. Make it a potluck to spread out the burden, and show interest in your neighbors' tastes. The get together might lead to mutual babysitting agreements, carpooling, or other ideas that will help you feel safe, and save money.
If nothing else make sure that there is one close neighbor, which you trust to watch your house when you are away. If you want to trust them, but still aren't sure, then make sure to get information on them and exchange it. That way if something does happen you know who to go to ask questions about it first. If nothing happens, then you can trust them further as things go on.
Ending your geographical isolation is the easiest of the three pieces to combat. I'll be back in about a week to discuss working on the general paranoia.