Let's Change the Subject.

"Experts" like historians and sociologists like to tell us about events that "changed everything." Sometimes they're right. Sometimes they're talking about Woodstock. But as for changing the way people live their everyday lives, I can point to two events in the early 1980's that "changed everything" -- perhaps not in the lives of the "powers that be," and perhaps not in the "historically significant" sense, but they made a huge impact on the average American family.

I am speaking of the Tylenol tampering case and the Jeanine Nicarico case, which took place within a few months of one another.

Frustrated by unending layers of plastic wrap, foil seals that won't come off, or impossible to crack lids? Thank the homicidal maniac from autumn of 1982. Before that, packaging was designed to keep freshness in, instead of potential toxins out. You didn't need to go through hell and back just to open a bottle of Snapple. Life instantly became more stressful and complicated on a day-to-day basis as we suddenly began maneuvering through layer after layer of packaging to get to our foodstuffs, medicines, cosmetics and other consumables.

In fact, did anyone ever check the alibis of the top packaging companies' executives? They had the greatest motive for committing that crime and gained the most from it. That case remains unsolved to this day.

Soon after that, in the spring of 1983, 11-year-old Jeanine Nicarico was home sick from school, alone. That was an everyday experience back then. Kids that age were routinely left home alone. There was nothing negligent about her parents' behavior. Now, I think DCFS would investigate you for leaving a child that age alone for hours. It changed the way people behaved toward their own children, and how people viewed the safety of their own homes.

Have you read The Cat in the Hat lately? How old were the kids in that story? When Dr. Seuss wrote that story, it was in the context of a bizarre event occurring in the midst of normalcy. Now it seems like a frightening home invasion borne of parental neglect.

That case, too, is still under investigation. Not The Cat in the Hat. The Nicarico case.

Have we always lived under an atmosphere of fear and anxiety? Do the causes of these fears and anxieties just shift with the times? Will we ever not live under this cloud?
Name: Übermilf
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