What happened Friday was terrible, something I always feared as a parent. My daughter was eleven, and I saw threats to her everywhere.
There was the teenaged bagger at the grocery store, who stared at her each time we shopped. I found myself tracking him as he worked throughout the market. I always put us in a different aisle, another section, or the farthest checkout line.
There was Mr. Sloan, the barber, who parked more than a block away from his shop, in a hidden spot behind a tree, where he could talk people into his car if he wanted. I started coming there mornings to make sure it was always his spot. I was never disappointed.
And then there was Steven, the school janitor, polite and deferential to everyone who knew him. But he had terrible photos on his computer at home. Photos I found on Friday, and that was when he came home earlier than I expected. But I had a hammer with me and wore gloves. A good father prepares. There are so many people who might hurt my daughter, and I have a plan for every one. You can’t be too careful.