On feeling safe

Published 10:10 am Wednesday, February 4, 2015

To the Editor:

I submit to you that among those principles on which a civilized society rests and functions is the concept that it deems itself safe. By that I mean that within certain boundaries, we, as citizens of these United States, are able to act and move and exist knowing that the full weight of the law protects these “inalienable” rights to the extent that, should these rights be violated, the “law” itself will be made manifest by those employed by the populace to enforce such rights.

This entire concept should be taken neither lightly nor for granted. I recently returned from a place where I felt neither safe nor protected and was reminded, in a startling way, of what I had in my own community. Seldom do I ever fret over returning to my home and seeing my possessions stolen. The thought rarely occurs to me in walking the streets of my hometown that I might be attacked.

The night is never a time spent bracing oneself from the outside world but rather of relishing a star studded sky or the beauty of a full moon. For most of my entire life, I have been enveloped by this sense of “safeness.” It fosters exploration rather than timidity.

It frees the imagination rather than paralyzes with fear. It beckons creativity rather than suffocates with apprehension. And it is essential to human flourishing.

When a patrol car passes by or an officer strides past, rather than put you on guard, it should give you a sense of assurance that we as a county, state and nation consider your rights to such a magnitude of importance as to send all available resources to your aid should it be necessary.

This principle is felt no more acutely than on the local level. For the 50 law enforcement officers we employ here in Isle of Wight County, in addition to both Smithfield and Windsor town police, more than ever, I am grateful.

Rex Alphin, Chairman
Isle of Wight County
Board of Supervisors