Published: Aug 30, 2006 09:23 PM
Modified: Aug 23, 2006 04:55 PM
I told the deputy it was just a thing, it wasn't like it was a person or an animal.
So why did I feel like buying a baseball bat after somebody tried to steal my car stereo?
It's not like I'm proud of it. But honestly, the first thing I thought when I saw the shattered glass was that I was going to buy a baseball bat, wait for the thief to come back and bust his knees.
The truth is, I still feel a little like that.
An aluminum bat, maybe.
Deputy Mike Nikels of the Orange County Sheriff's Office arrived in minutes.
He even took prints, which is more than the Durham police officer did five years ago when my car was first broken into. Nikels commiserated too, said he hadn't seen anything like this in my neighborhood in a couple of years.
Funny thing is both times my car's been broken into, the thieves got nothing.
In Durham, they busted the window but must have split when someone saw them.
Last weekend they busted both driver's side windows but couldn't pry the stereo unit loose. Bashed it up pretty good, though.
I had waited a long time to buy this car, and waited longer after that to be able to pay for the Kenwood stereo in cash. I don't buy a lot of things.
So Monday, after draping a tarp over my Civic all weekend, I called Jim Huegerich, the director of the Chapel Hill Police Department's crisis and human services department.
The unit's five counselors and contract help counsel 3,000 people a year, both victims and those around them. A lot have been through a lot more than me, but Huegerich didn't make me feel like what happened to me was any less traumatic. Most of what local law enforcement deals with is property crime, he said.
So what was I dealing with?
- Anger. Maybe it's a guy thing. When I told reporter Patrick Winn what had happened, he asked if I was feeling vigilante-ish.
- Fear. Why did they pick me? Had they been watching my home? Are they still?
- Withdrawal. This is where I am now, I guess. Do I get another stereo? What if it happens again?
I'm feeling only a twinge of what some crime victims feel.
Huegerich told me about a 54-year-old woman whose home had been broken into while she was in it.
She seemed fine soon afterward, but then didn't show up for work. When police went to check on her, they found her sitting in her kitchen in a nightgown with a butcher knife.
"When we're victimized it makes us question the things we've taken as givens all our lives," Huegerich said.
Like my car being safe in my driveway.
Like that woman being safe in her home.
If you have been a victim of a crime, find a sympathetic ear. It's not easy, Huegerich says. Talking about scary things makes some people uncomfortable. On the other hand, some people want to hear all the gory details.
Sometimes even our spouses aren't able to help us, he said.
If you need someone to talk to you can call the crisis unit at 968-2806 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. Someone is on call, however, 24 hours a day.
As for me, well, I was still glancing at the busted stereo this week for the clock that wasn't there. And I still don't know if they can eject the Steely Dan CD (the one with "My Old School") from the player.
But I'll probably replace the unit. I'll just make sure to get the kind I can take inside at night.
So why do I still want the bat?