During a recent walk, I passed a neighbor walking his dog. We exchanged pleasantries. Not surprisingly, our conversation turned to the topic of crime.

I mentioned that I fondly remembered a Madison of bubblers (drinking fountains) and summer strolls past friendly neighbors. Kids running around the neighborhood, playing baseball and going to the zoo. Unlocked doors, open to friends and flower smells. Each morning ritual included a cup of coffee and reading a newspaper that featured sports and city events and good news about the best things about Madison. News of violent crime was a rarity.

That city I knew no longer exists. The newspaper is now filled with stories on shootings, gang warfare, domestic violence, protests, killing, rapes and assaults.

Political discourse now takes its directions from the dictionary of terrorism, tribal hate and blind rage. Payback is the new normal.

My neighbor and I snapped back to reality and spoke about house robberies, car break-ins, people assaulted while walking, road rage and other real world realities.

When I asked him what he thought the future held, he simply smiled and pulled a small handgun out of his pocket.

It was a nice day for a walk.

Bruce Longfield, Middleton

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