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|Time To Roll Down The Window|
I was driving along the other day enjoying the comfortable, cool, and quiet ride that today’s automobiles provide…Ahhhhh, peace and quiet, ultimate comfort. I did not have a care in the world. I was oblivious to everything and everyone around me. It was only after having been awakened from my semi-conscious state of euphoria, by a somewhat rude woman who has a passion for horns, did I realize that I was only traveling about 40 miles per hour. I had literally blocked out the world for a moment and had no clue what was going on anywhere around me.
It was enjoyable for the moment, but maybe not the smartest way to drive a car. I began to wonder… Have we become a nation of people who hide behind rolled up windows, only concerned about what is going on the confines of our own little “car” world? If we are, it’s really no surprise. After the continuous loud and obnoxious honking from political corruptness, crazed criminals, and all of the other literal noise pollution we are subjected to, it is easy to slowly roll up the window inch by inch until the only thing we hear is ourselves relaxing a bit. It may be loud and crazy out there, but it is nice and quiet in our little cocoon.
My dad, who was a cop in the sixties, tells me that real policing stopped with the addition of air conditioners in patrol cars. He says that more cases were solved by what they heard than what they saw. It was the breaking window, or the screeching tires, or the person screaming that alerted them that something was wrong. Like a hunting dog that uses their sense of smell, they used their sense of hearing to find the source of the problem. Once the air conditioner came on the scene, the windows were rolled up, the ability of acute hearing was lost, and cops became dependent on being notified that something had occurred; usually much later after it occurred. He says they got way too comfortable. With all due respect to today’s police officers, I would refer you to paragraph one.
Some may think that this mode of behavior, whereby we view the world from a glass bubble, oblivious to the sounds that typically accompany the sights, is completely alright. As long as this worldly noise never makes it to the serenity of the quiet chamber, all is well. But, is it? Does the absence of recognition to bad things ever make the bad things go away? It is usually just the opposite. If a bad thing is allowed to continue, because no one hears the sound of the badness, the bad will come back again and again if unchecked. And, make no mistake; the bad will eventually make it in to the world of false security and quietness that you have created. It is only when the bad noise is actually confronted that it will subside and lower the dangerous decibels that it emits.
Too many people, with bad intentions, are taking advantage of the fact that no one is listening. Not only do they no longer try to lurk with the least amount of noise possible, they blatantly shout their badness at the top of their lungs; knowing full well that the worst that could occur is a little lip reading which usually is interpreted incorrectly. Bad acts are committed in obvious and public places while we walk and drive by with our literal and mental windows rolled up so tightly that we are oblivious to it all.
It is no different than my Grandfather’s mule who, for years, walked back and forth down one row after another, with blinders firmly in place, only seeing what was directly in front of him and hearing nothing but the non-threatening sounds of my grandfather's familiar voice. Back and forth, back and forth; oblivious to the rest of the world. Little did the old mule know that a tractor was plowing the field across the road, which would eventually lead to the end of his basic usefulness.
As for me, I’ve decided to start listening more and more. I took the advice of my dad and rolled down the window for a while. You would be surprised what you hear. Sometimes the sounds are pleasant and sometimes they are not. Either way, I’m listening. It seems to be the smart way to go through life. For those who still think the world sounds better behind the rolled up window, keep one thing in mind.
The sound of silence can sometimes cause both deafness and blindness. Open the windows and your eyes will follow. There’s a lot going on out there! God gave us great gifts through the senses. It’s up to us to use them, with the taste, touch, smell, sight and most assuredly sound….sound of all things, both good and bad.
For those who are a little unsure of all of the senses that were God given, isolationism was not one of them. We did that one all on our own. Roll down the windows…..and, by the way, let me know if you hear anything!
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Stan L. Hall is the former (retired) director of the Victim Witness Program for the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office.
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