Every morning I take my kids to early morning seminary (a church-run scripture study class for high school aged youth). I used to always go on a run or to boot camp during that time, but now that it's cold(er) I've opted to just sit in the car and read and do the exercise in the warmer parts of the day.
A few weeks ago I was parked under the street light on the corner so I could read my book. On the street perpendicular to me came a car very slowly. Then it stopped, with its headlights somewhat pointed right at me. I was uncomfortable. I looked to see if they were throwing
newspapers or delivering something to a house there, but they weren't. In fact they were stopped in front of a fence with no prospect of a door to walk up to. It wasn't a normal place to stop. After a few seconds the car moved forward just a few feet, and turned to be pointed more directly at me. It was an awkward angle for the car to be stopped right at an intersection with no apparent reason.
It was dark and I couldn't see into the car at all. As I sat there waiting for them to move on so I could stop feeling anxious about it, I had the sudden thought of a gun pointed my way and a driveby shooting. Why? No reason. It was an absurd thought. But it came to my mind rather quickly.
Then I calmed right down because I remembered I was in Australia. People don't shoot each other here. Handguns and shootouts just don't happen. There are strict gun laws and people don't commonly have their own weapons.
When we first arrived in Australia and people were getting to know us, my kids were often asked by friends at school, "Have you ever seen someone get shot?" We would laugh about how distorted their view of life in America was.
But perhaps I am the one with a distorted view of reality. Because in my normal everyday life, apparently I do carry a real fear that I could find myself on the wrong end of a gun.
And that's scary.