My dog Johnny Crash started barking, for no reason, or so I thought. It was 3:15 a.m. Monday morning when he started growling lightly at first. That soon turned into a full howl, with my other dogs Piper and Chelsea joining in the chorus.
“Hush it dogs, I am trying to sleep and you’ll wake up Mom,” I mumbled.
Then I heard it, off in the distance at first, and slowly getting louder and louder. I bolted out of bed and was suddenly illuminated by bright lights coming in from all the windows. Fire trucks, about six of them, all rushing toward the homes behind mine. One of those homes happens to be where my niece Megan lives with her children. I rushed back into the bedroom and grabbed my thick blanket and wrapped it around my body to fend off the cold outside. I stepped into my flip-flops and with the dogs following behind me, I ran out the back door.
Thankfully it was not Megan’s house but I could see all the fire trucks parked along the road and firefighters running here and there. I walked out my back fence and approached the scene.
“Someone lit up my neighbor’s brand-new truck,” Megan said as I walked up to her. “I think we might have caught something on my video camera.”
The truck was parked in front of the house, close enough to ignite the patio roof had the firefighters not got there in time. Inside the home the family, including children, were asleep. At least they were until the chaos and the sounds of their truck popping and crackling startled them awake and call 911. One of the other residents of the house had just arrived home and saw two people messing with the truck. As he pulled into the driveway, the two unknown individuals ran off and the truck suddenly erupted into a roaring fire. He swiftly moved his car out of the way and checked on his family’s safety.
We all stood outside and watched the truck burn and the firefighters battle the blaze. It was bitter cold outside but we felt the heat from that fire more than 20 feet away.
“That was my dad’s new truck,” the neighbor said. “He just paid it off. It was a $35,000 truck.”
My heart sank for this family.
Sure enough, Megan’s camera caught something and the footage was turned over to the authorities. I don’t know the reason someone decided to do this. Was it for revenge? Was it some kids being stupid? Do we suddenly have an arson in our neighborhood? Was someone jealous of what this family had acquired? Are people losing touch with civility and empathy and kindness to one another that they don’t think of the harm or hurt they cause when they do something like this?
This morning I read where someone started a small fire at Historic Hineshaw School. It’s the second time in five months that firefighters had to extinguish a fire at the school and save the historic building from total destruction. There is work being done to restore Hineshaw and use the facility as a place to help others. The Courier has reported on this more than once. So, why is someone trying to damage or destroy this building? What good would come from that?
And then I read about a woman who reported she was raped on a train in Philadelphia. The report said people stood by and just watched. No one did anything to stop it. The heinous act was caught on camera and the man responsible was arrested. But why didn’t anyone stop the man? Why did they allow her to be attacked?
It made me stop and think about that Bonnie Tyler song, Holding out for a hero: Where have all the good men gone And where are all the gods
Where’s the streetwise Hercules To fight the rising odds Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed Late at night I toss and I turn And I dream of what I need
We need a lot of heroes right now to stand up and speak out when they see someone being wronged.
We need people to stop and think for a minute before doing something that could harm, or even ruin someone else’s life.
We need to get back to that place where, despite our differences, we can move forward for the better sake of all.
Patty Leon is senior editor of the Courier.