Why the Hesitation?

So I called 911 today.  In fact I called them at around 6:55pm this evening.  But I was reluctant to call them.  Isn’t that weird?  Weird that I was reluctant?  I thought I heard gunshots in the back alley.  After three weeks of hearing firecrackers and fireworks going off, you’d think I would know the difference.  Since there is the familiar whistle and bang, I figured that two successive bang, bangs without the whistle was very strange and right away my gut feeling was “Holy Crow!  What was that?”  So what did I do?  No, I did not go outside to take a look.  I went upstairs for a higher vantage point.  My hand was on the phone and I was thinking that I should probably call and yet I hesitated.  Granted it was only a 4 minute hesitation, still, I hesitated.  And that puzzles me, especially since I call the RCMP every two weeks as one of my responsibilities at work.  But I guess the difference is the uncertainty.  I wasn’t 100% sure this time about what I was calling for.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to get involved.  And maybe it was really nothing?  But it was a different kind of bang bang.  And maybe someone else would call.  But what if someone else out there was feeling the same way, hesitating to call?  So I called 911.

Thankfully it turned out to be fireworks.  The Vancouver Police Department responded very quickly.  And it’s actually very reassuring to know how quick they can be for something like that.  And yet I found myself apologizing to the dispatcher because I had wasted their time.  But was it really a waste of their time?  It’s what they’re there for right?  To check things out and make sure that society is safe, Right?  And the dispatcher basically said something to that effect, that they would prefer we call and have it turn out to be nothing rather than no one calling and it turning out to be something bad.  So why the hesitation?

Funny thing is, I remember feeling this exact same way the last time I called 911.  And that was a few years ago. when I thought I saw a jumper on the bridge.  I did not want to get involved, but the guy was standing way to far from safety to be admiring the view and if he really was just trying to get the perfect shot, then he was putting himself in danger for a silly photo.  But still I called.  I don’t know what happened in that instance.  I’m gonna guess that it turned out to be nothing and I will say that I am glad, but again, why the hesitation?  And I wonder, with my background and training, I hesitated to call, what about people who don’t work in enforcement?

I’ll have to mull this over for a while.  Perhaps I’ll pull out my knitting and put the kettle on for some tea.  I don’t like that I hesitated, but I did and now I’ll have to think about why.


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