Something amazing happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Something that some people thought could never happen. I enjoyed closing 2014 with a bang.
I walked through the streets of Hanover alone in the evening and no one hurt me.
Now before I go on having fun, let me be clear – I am not making fun of anyone who has actually been victimized by a crime locally or anywhere else. I feel terrible for folks who have to go through things like that.
I am, however, making fun of people who take small pieces of information and conflate them into a larger narrative that just is not true.
This happens all too often with the state of Hanover. Sometimes it’s in reaction to something horrible, like the assault and robbery of an older couple on Moul Avenue last week. An event like that certainly should remind us that bad things can and do happen sometimes, even in our backyard.
But that does not mean that everyone’s personal safety is constantly at risk, like you see some people intimate if you get involved in discussions on local issues on social media.
The recent talk of revitalization efforts on Hanover spurred some of these false fears. Some people reacted to the stories in the paper about what was, what is and what will be happening downtown with comments about how they felt unsafe downtown.
I just laughed. Just look at the news, especially the police log which is printed on a regular basis. People aren’t getting jumped at random intervals in alleys, much less on main roads like Routes 94, 194 and 116. The notion that people enjoying downtown businesses put themselves at risk is just silly.
That’s why I tested the theory one night between Christmas and New Year’s. I wanted to put myself in harm’s way just to show people that it’s possible to survive. I also may have been better off not driving and was just a mile or so from my house. But we’ll go with courageous crusader instead of “guy who knows when he isn’t OK to drive.”
I ventured out on Carlisle Street and then headed to (street redacted so as not to compromise future walks in public at night) and crossed to (I will not give away my location to the hoodlums who may be lurking) before heading straight for my house.
I arrived safe and sound. I also got a nice little workout, which is an added bonus of this mode of transportation. Far from dodging gangs of opportunistic bandits, I think I saw three people. On a Saturday night around 11 p.m.
Hopefully I see more bodies on the street in 2015 when I put my life in my hands again. The opening of two craft breweries will hopefully give others the courage to head into downtown after the sun has gone down.
Those people can rest assured that I stand before them as a survivor. I managed to take a leisurely walk through town without any major incidents. Stranger things have happened.