Be Vigilant without Resorting to Vigilantism

During Governor Deval Patrick‘s press conference the day after the Boston Marathon bombing, one of the law enforcement officials said that is it up to average people to be aware of their environment and report any suspicious activities or behavior.  I wholeheartedly concur.

A year ago, I spotted a pristine Apple bag bag sitting on a train platform.  As I approached, thinking “ooh, wonder if there’s an iPad inside?”  my thought quickly changed to “if I was going to leave a weapon in the hopes of getting someone to pick it up, putting it in an Apple bag would be a good idea.”  I immediately went downstairs and told the transit authority attendant and she acted on it right away.

Vigilant_magnifying glass

Photo by Rafael Anderson Gonzales Mendoza

Maybe you don’t want to spend your time while in public thinking like a criminal, but I’ll bet you would find this preferable to continuing to endure the violence we experience every day, much less the rarer acts like what occurred at the Boston Marathon this week.

Some doubt their instincts and don’t say anything because they might be embarrassed about being wrong.  I prefer being wrong 100 times for every one time I’m right, rather than ignoring potentially dangerous people and situations.

Be vigilant. Watch people and what they’re doing and their behavior.  If you have even an ounce of suspicion, call the police.  This includes abuse toward children and animals.

There are not enough police or FBI agents to handle the violence in our country.  It is up to us to help prevent violence in all its forms.

And, this is not a call to arms or becoming a vigilante – simply about increasing your awareness and taking action by calling authorities who are prepared to investigate and handle criminal acts.