When we see someone approaching our car windows, we roll them up. In the evenings when we go to bed, we bolt our doors from top to bottom. We install alarm systems and panic buttons in every nook and cranny of our humble abodes, and build extra-extra high security gates with spikes on top, to surely impale the flesh of any potential asshole intruders. How can anyone blame us? We live in a country that has one of the highest crime rates in the world. It is because of this that most South Africans literally live in fear. I am not saying this is wrong in anyway, our safety is of the utmost importance, but this paranoia and intense over the top fear keeps us from actually living our lives to the extent that we should be. The ongoing, never-ending violence and hate-crimes in our country does not help us feel any safer, so naturally we feel it necessary to put all of these protective measures in place. Many people decide to up and leave to another country with a lower crime rate; such as Switzerland or Australia (and then ironically get mugged or murdered upon moving, proving that crime is something from which you simply cannot escape)
We surround ourselves with “High Walls”, physically and figuratively.
However, I have a massive problem with people who live in fear. I myself live with such people – the most paranoid humanoids I have ever encountered in my worldly existence. We have this fancy roll-down security gate separating the upstairs bedrooms from the downstairs area. It was about 4 in the afternoon when my boyfriend, Shaun, and I arrive home, but when we decide to go upstairs, lo and behold…the security gate is locked – protecting our fearful hibernating housemates. I thought, really? There are other people in the house, you are not alone, AND it is only 4 in the afternoon, and you have locked the heavy-duty prison gate for protection? So is it fine if Shaun and I get hacked to death by intruders, as long as you are safe and sound from the deathly danger downstairs? Do we REALLY live in this amount of fear? This is absurd. Locking yourself inside like an inmate at a high security prison cannot actually be called living.
Having previously lived over seas for well over a decade, I have observed much difference in residential security. Homes in England, for example, do not possess one single burglar bar, high wall, or gate (The majority of middle-class homes, unless you are rich to an ungodly extent and can afford to cater to your hibernation habits) yet the crime rate up there is significantly lower than down here. Of course there are deeper and more complicated reasons for this, which is a discussion for another article, but one reason is that the houses are so very close together, with no high walls, meaning that not only are neighbors are so close to one another for emergency assistance or police-phoning, but if a burglar gets inside, people will hear you scream, and you will not be so trapped behind your high security systems (which could, in a situation like this, end up working against you if the burglar has already found his/her way in)
Living in big isolated houses , as opposed to normal-sized houses close to one another down a street, is in many ways putting you in much more danger. Your home is clearly more of a target as it is obvious you have riches and many wonderful things to steal. Burglars literally rub their hands in glee at these houses! They will also think – if that person can afford so much security, imagine how much nice stuff I can take? Who cares if I take their lives with it? And one thing to remember – if the burglar wants to get in bad enough, the burglar will get in. No matter how many spy-movie-gadgets you have surrounding your home. He will get in. And your big fancy James Bond security pumped house will keep you no safer than a regular home with a white picket fence and no burglar bars.
It is through living in fear that we are actually putting ourselves in more danger. A prime example of this is the Oscar Pistorius case. If he had not been so paranoid and neurotic about his vulnerability, safety and security, he would not have bought a gun, subsequently meaning that Reeva Steenkamp would not be a pile of ashes right now. Living in fear is more dangerous than the reason for that fear. I am not in any way saying we should all knock down our gates and live in little shacks with no security. Not at all. I am merely making an observation that people should ponder upon.
Moral of the story – Just don’t live in so much damn fear. You are only attracting bad things to actually happen to you, and preventing yourself from living the life you should be living. If you want to walk to the shops, walk to the shops! Without the fear that someone is going to jump on you and rape you. If you want to sit alone at home with a glass of wine in front of the television – do it - Without the fear of someone waltzing in and disemboweling you. Living in fear is not living. Carry a pepper spray if you will. Keep your doors locked if home alone. Always let someone know where you are. Make sure the necessary security measures are in place. Just don’t keep yourself from living a normal life.
Break down those high walls inside of you preventing you from being a normal human being. Live. Live your life.