For decades hospitals X-rayed Halloween candy and parents made their kids throw away apples and popcorn balls for fear that the bogeyman had inserted razor blades or needles.
How upsetting that we had a real bogeyman in our midst, inserting needles in packages of meat at Shop 'N Save on North Belt West in Belleville. How unfortunate the ripples that those actions are likely to send through our community.
If the 68-year-old Belleville man on oxygen and in a wheelchair is in fact guilty, then we'll all be looking for an explanation along with justice. Was Ronald Avers a mean old man, a sociopath, a PTSD victim or an animal rights activist?
But having that answer doesn't do much to reassure a community. Justice will not fix the damaged reputation of our commercial community member. Removing Avers from society for the rest of his life won't remove the specter.
Maybe our best course is to follow President Ronald Reagan's advice: Trust, but verify. Don't stop shopping at Shop 'N Save: They discovered the culprit and have taken extra precautions. Just check your packaging.
We are our own last, best defense, and we also know the difference between fear, caution and foolhardiness.