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KRYSTLE CLEAR: From Real to Irrational

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This one might be a weird one- you’ve been warned.

Tonight, a story I have been working on for quite a while is airing. I sat down with the family of Charles Freeborn, to talk about life after the trial. A quick refresher of this story for you: Last August a drive-by shooting killed 28 year old Charles Freeborn as he was watching television. Nearly a year later, police’s prime suspect, Richard Polak, was tried for his murder. A jury acquitted him of all charges. Earlier this month I sat down with Polak to talk about his life since the trial. For tonight’s story, I sat down with the Freeborn family to find out all the ways their life has changed.

I don’t think it will ever be easy for me to sit down and talk to the family who lost a loved one. Each time, my heart aches for their loss. This time was no different- but they had an had an additional component to discuss: fear. There is no one in jail. No one answered for the crime. No one has been caught- there is still a murderer out there. It’s scary enough to think about how this happened- so suddenly. He was sitting, watching television in the comfort of his girlfriend’s home, a place he thought to be safe.

As I am putting the finishing touches on my story tonight, a photojournalist sitting next to me says “did you hear about the Missouri man charged with plotting another movie shooting?” You have got to be kidding me. I, like many others I am sure, will never be able to be completely at ease in a packed theater again, thanks to the shooting at the Batman movie this year, and now, someone was plotting a similar mass murder? At the Twilight Premiere?! I feel like this question is asked more and more now- but what is wrong with the world? Is there no where we are safe?

Occasionally my friends and family will say something to me like “I can barely watch the news anymore. Why do you always have such terrible stories on there?” It’s because people keep doing the terrible things, and it’s our job report the truth about them. I wish there were less things like that to report, trust me.

USA Today article on the shooting plot

So here’s the weird part of this post I promised you from the beginning- talking about fear- real fear- made me think about irrational fears. And boy, do I have a list of those.

But I feel like I am not alone on that one. I feel like just about everyone has an irrational fear or two. Now, I admit, for some people what I refer as an “irrational fear” is a true, honest to goodness all encompassing FEAR. So if you are one of those people- please don’t take offense, i am not trying to trivialize your fear! For me, they just fall in the category of “irrational.”

Take spiders for instance. They terrify me to the core. I can barely breathe when I see one. And forget about getting close enough to it to kill it! I have even jumped out a moving vehicle to get away from one! (True story!) The irrational part? They are SO small- most of them (thank goodness) smaller than a fingernail! But still, no matter what their size, I can’t help it- the fear controls me.

Another one for me- elevators. They freak me out. I have a nightmare at least once a week about being trapped in one and then falling. It is a terrible feeling, let me tell you, and I always wake up right when the elevator hits the ground after an excruciating long fall- no sooner. So whenever I get in an elevator I tense up- sometimes hold my breath without realizing it. A lot of people try to calm me by reminding me it’s nearly impossible for a elevator car to fall. There are emergency cables, and plenty of other safety measures put in place. Plus, many of the elevators I go in are only for a few flights, so it’s not like there would be far to fall if the impossible happened. See? Irrational.

And clowns. I do not like clowns. Can’t tell you where this stems from, but they give me the he-bee-gee-bees.

Last year, I had some of these irrational fears played out in a worst case scenario while I was doing a story at the state capitol. I was trapped in an elevator- with about five clowns. Yup. Worst. Day. Ever.

Please share your irrational fears, I am curious!