I'm concerned about a friend. He's a housing inspector for a Southern California county. He conducts most of his inspections in lower income areas with heavy gang activity and violence. He often has to walk past gang members who stare at him menacingly, or they drive slowly along beside him and check him out. Recently, a gang member was evicted from an apartment and, for some reason I don't quite understand, blames my friend for it. He made ominous remarks about my friend to one of my friend's colleagues.
My friend doesn't seem to be concerned. He's the most laid back person I've ever known. He's also an ex-Army officer proficient in martial arts and boxing and, I think, a little too sure of himself. He's not belligerent or anything. In fact, as I said, he's very mild mannered. But he doesn't seem to be afraid of much of anything. I don't know how much of this is courage, and how much is too little awareness of real dangers.
It's good not to be inordinately afraid of people or life. My friend used to train police dogs for a living, and he says it's very important to project authority and not show fear around dogs, especially hostile ones. He thinks the same is true around people who try to intimidate you. It's possible that his attitude will keep him out of trouble. It's also possible that some "tough" guy with a knife or gun will decide to test him. That's a test I hope my friend never has to take, because the chances of failure are too high. And if he flunks the test, he may never get another chance.
I wish his county would furnish him with body armor and allow him to pass a course and carry a firearm for self-protection. That way, if he's ever tested, he might have a better chance of making it home to his beautiful wife and lovely young daughter. But that's not how it works in his county, and, I suspect, most others.
I hope nothing happens to him. It probably won't. But the longer he works at a job like that in a place like that, the more likely it may be that something will happen. If it does, I hope he passes the test and gets to go home to his family.
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