I finally got around to watching episode 2 of American Horror Story last night and its title spoonfed me the topic for today's post: Home Invasion. On a day to day basis there is probably no fear that afflicts more people than the idea of a stranger or strangers breaking into their house and causing them or their loved ones bodily harm. You have to wonder just how far back this fear goes, and how deeply ingrained it is in our DNA. When we lived in caves, we had to worry about bears, and wolves, and rival clans. When we settled into huts, it was enemy villagers. Even castles were sieged and sacked. At no point in the history of our species did we live without the fear of our fellow man penetrating whatever shelter we had fashioned for ourselves. When you think about it, we are actually pretty lucky to be living in the present day and age, as every one that preceded it had a higher prevalence and likelihood of in-home violence. Horrible, horrible things happen to people in their homes everyday, but statistically speaking your fear of some random bad guy breaking into your house and killing you is mostly media-driven and phanstasmal. Fully 80 percent of all murder victims know their killers. I don't know anyone that was killed by strangers in their home. As far as I know, I don't even know anyone who knows anyone. Do you? If you do, I am heartily sorry to hear it, but you are in the minority.
That's not to say I don't suffer mightily from Scelerophobia along with everyone else. I spend an outrageous amount of my sleep hours creeping around my house searching for the sources of strange noises. If I hear voices on the street outside, I peer through my blinds until they pass. If a dog barks or a motion activated light comes on, I assume it has spotted a prowler. I once pulled a knife on my dryer, for christsakes, unaware it was the cause of the sound that was putting me on edge. Personal firearms were once a completely forbidden topic with my wife, but they are inching closer to acceptable the more time I spend alone at a family farmhouse. I am very curious to know whether owning a gun will ease my anxiety or increase it.
Logic and statistics aside, I'd probably feel better if everyone exhibited the same degree of vigilance as I do, so just in case you don't share the same home invasion fears as the rest of us, here are a few links to true crime stories that might leave you thinking otherwise:
Villisca Axe Murders
Cheshire, Connecticut Home Invasion Murders
Richmond Spree Murders