Last week at 7:15 a.m., there was a blackout in our neighborhood. I was in the store and my first concern was whether the store would allow us to buy the items or if I'd have to return home and find something to throw together for my youngest daughter's lunch. They were completely efficient in the store. They pulled out a hand scale, weighed the fruit she wanted, wrote down the codes and our name and we were out in minutes.
Hours later, there was still no power in parts of our city. I never did find out what happened or why it was out for so long. Those were my thoughts on the incident until I spoke to Shmulik. He's been a security guard for several months at the mall. Many Arabs work and shop there, as well as Jews - another sign that we live in a free and democratic society.
Shmulik checks each person as they enter; sizes them up, figures out quickly if they can pass or not. He caught two Arabs trying to sneak in without permits. Last week, an alert went out in our city and the mall was alerted. All the guards were told to stay on duty, long after most would have been sent home. Armed guards were carefully placed around, ready if an attack were to come.
On the day of the blackout, there was a whole side to the event that I did not consider. Shmulik has two main "weapons" - one is the metal detector which quickly helps him identify if a person is passing through with an object that might be dangerous. The second is his training and all he has learned. When the electricity fell, he was left with only this second thing; the metal detector was silenced.
It was, Shmulik said, very nerve-wracking, very tense.
"Why couldn't you just shut the mall?" I asked him.
They couldn't do that, he answered, and so they checked each bag, each person that much more carefully. It is a frightening thing to think about, that your son puts his life between those he must protect and those who may wish him harm.
And it reminded me how often the most dangerous of times, are those we only learn about later.