I stood on the street corner in Minneapolis, Minnesota next to a business man engrossed in a phone conversation. He didn't give a second thought to who I was as he glanced in my direction, but neither did I. Suddenly, a man behind us shouted "Hey!" in effort to grab attention from a friend about a block away. Nonetheless, it startled me. I have grown to love the comfortable feeling of the small town in which I reside and go to college, so it was nerve wrecking for me to be in the heart of a city who has seen many riots in the past few weeks due to recent shootings. This little startle made me think.
If something was to happen right now, would my fellow American protect or help me? Would I protect or help him? Would I assist a lost and lonely child that has been separated from his/her parents? Or would I coward away in fear; hiding, only willing to protect and help myself?
I would like to think that my fellow American would step up and help me as I would him. But how could I say that if I didn't give him a second thought as he was standing right next to me on the street corner? I would hope that if I spotted a troubled child that I would offer my services to help protect and find a safe place for that child to go.
Then again, who am I to speak? I have never been in this situation before. So honestly, I have no idea how I would react. I don't know if I would help. I don't know if I would run in fear. I don't know if I would stand frozen in the middle of chaos.
It's not on purpose or ever out loud, but I do often find myself thinking "nothing like that will ever happen to me." How can it? Well, it can. We're all vulnerable human beings. And if we're being honest, the world is a dangerous place and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. I have learned to accept the fact that anything can happen anywhere at anytime and you're never going to be fully prepared for it. This applies to life in general. The only thing that you can do is be smart. Be smart about your surroundings, be smart about where and when you go places, and be smart with your actions.
I hope that we would all stand together to protect and help our fellow American if any stressful situation occurs in our area. The fact of the matter is, we are humans. We are fragile beings. But that's just it. We are human beings that have lives and those lives matter. All lives matter. So next time you're standing next to a stranger on the street try to give a second thought about who they are. A father, mother, grandpa, niece. They are a human being and their life matters.