by Jeanne Sager
How well do you know your neighbors? Are they trustworthy? Are you sure? Folks in one Florida neighborhood probably thought so. Then they found out the guy living up the block was being arrested and called the " No. 1 person that can distribute child pornography throughout the world." Cops say John Shearen downloaded the most child pornography in the state of Florida. And now they're stuck going door-to-door, breaking the news to parents that this sicko was living right down the street from their kids.
Just how do you respond to a knock on the door like that?
"Hello, Ma'am, one of the world's most dangerous pedophiles is living in your neighborhood," says the cop.
And you do ... what?
Do you scream bloody murder and run for the shower? Do you call your realtor and put the house on the market, stat? Do you book an immediate counseling session for the kids with the local kiddie shrink? Or do you politely say "Thanks Officer," and get on with your life?
The unsettling thing is we don't always know what our neighbors are really like. You may see them every day, talk to them every day, interact with them every day, and then blam-o. You've got the cops telling you that person who let you borrow their snow blower is really a world class creep.
It's happened to me. Not a pedophile (Thank. God.), but we've had a series of people arrested in my area for various crimes that blew me away. Her? Really? I probably would have let her babysit my kid, and Oh. My. God.
I can't help but wonder if this is why community has been redefined in America. We would like to think we could recreate Mayberry, but there is too much unknown, too many skeletons hiding in people's closets.
Or in the case of this Florida neighborhood, hiding on someone's computer AND in his closet. Cops say they found pairs of children's underwear in Shearen's home as well as some 500,000 images and videos. And yet none of his neighbors said they had any clue.
Shearen is now in jail with no bail. He's facing 20 counts each of distribution and possession of child porn with more charges possible.
Does this make you think about how much you know about YOUR neighbors?
How well DO you know them?