Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Jung Eun, Kim / Two-faced old women / Thurs 56

Never judge criminal by its cover

News stories about human traffickers, sex offenders, kidnappers fly around the nation. The more convenient the world has become, the more dangerous it has been. Women in particular fear to wander alone during midnight in the middle of nowhere. Even the 'Safety Home Return(여성안심귀가)' system for women has been devised in Seoul. Yet our safety rides on whether we watch out for ourselves and be alert on strangers. I myself who was under the strict discipline of my parents from childhood, was well aware of such issues from early ages. Thus, I always took precaution against those surrounding me and remained vigilant at all times. However, because of my preconception of prospective criminal's exterior image, my brother and I had once caught in a cross fire.

The one who led us in hot water was somewhat an unexpected figure whom we met in a public place. The story goes back to one of my early time's New Year's Day, when our family set out to visit grandparents and relatives in Daegu. My brother and I paid respects to our grandparents and had our moneys taken from relatives. While our parents performed memorial services, my brother and I wished to go to downtown area for sightseeing. As soon as our parents granted us permission to take a tour of the central area of Daegu, we headed toward the main street without hesitation. My brother and I strolled around the central area and enjoyed delicious meals on the street, in the restaurant and indulged ourselves in various games and entertainment activities in all over the area. Though we spent most of our New Year's Cash, we had the time of our lives. Yet, we were unware that an inauspicious event was waiting for us to overshadow our seemingly delirious happiness until that moment.

As it was getting darker, we were about to take a subway train to return home. Just then, an old women who was struggling to step up the stairs came into my view. She was limping her right leg with heavy-looking bundle carrying on her shoulder. That scene reminded me of a lesson learned in ethics class that I should always give assistance to those who are weak, namely senior citizens and physically handicapped alike. As she was limping very hard I reluctantly approached her and asked if I can give her a hand. She gave me a wide smile and handed over her mysterious package. "What are you doing?" my brother called me in irritation. "She's limping her right leg too hard. I think we should help her." I answered him convincingly. He definitely didn't like my idea but nodded slightly too avoid further argument. While he carried a heavy looking package, I backed her up. The more we walked into a creepy alley, the more the old woman pleaded to go further, saying that we are almost there. As I moved my feet eagerly forward, my brother seemed uneasy as he followed me from the back.

"Jung Eun." He suddenly wavered his hand to come near him. I left the old woman alone for a while and turned my back to him. "What's wrong?" I asked, softly in his ears. "Look at her legs… didn't you say she was limping her right leg?" he lowered his voice, half shivering. "Yeah." I answered as I took glimpse at her again. My brother kept whispering, "But she has been limping her left leg all along while walking with you….and now look at her, she's switching her legs randomly…" Terrified, I looked at her again, she was suddenly making phone calls in an upright position. "What the…" "Holy Crap.." my brother's face now turned ashen. "What..?.." Before I could finish my remarks, I was led to run franticly by him not knowing what was happening. "RUN RUN RUN !" "WHAAAAAA!!!" As my brother and I began running backwards to where we started, I heard a squeaky voice of an old lady shouting, ''Get them!!'' I got goose bumps. "Don't looook back !! Just Ruuun!!" he hurled the package he was holding at the people whom I sensed as two or three men in black hoodies chasing us behind.

As we were coming close to the main street where there were a lot of people, three black hoodies stopped chasing us and disappeared into thin air. We were very fortunate to make a narrow escape owing to my brother's acute sense of direction and my physical strength of running for my life. We were short of breath for a long time, "Organ traffickers, I assume." my brother spoke solemnly. "How did you figure that out?" I asked him intently. "I heard through the grapevine that such human traffickers make use of old people or those whom we, normal people can let our guard down to lure us. We were almost dead thanks to you my lovely sis." His voice was full of reproach. "I am so sorry brother, I really am. I don't even know what to say." I said genuinely. "Let's just put this behind and hail a taxi. This isn't even thrilling a bit. It's a worst nightmare I've ever experienced." I agreed and we returned home safely.

We normally let our guard down in front of those that seem less threatening to us. Yet I learned through such appalling experience that our inclination to judge prospective criminal by its appearance can lead us to death. We receive a myriad of news reports about murder, kidnapping and sexual abuse. But we tend to think they are unlikely to happen to us as long as we distance ourselves only from those who seem threatening. Now I can tell you dangers are lurking all around us in the form of friendly, fragile and sympathy provoking person in disguise.

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