Ten days ago Question Cathy and I were driving to Pierogi Festival in lovely (not lovely) Whiting, Indiana. It is the kind of thing one does when 1) Whiting, IN is not far, 2) the weather is good, 3) it's as good as any option for a random summer Friday, and 4) pierogi are good.
I am not a huge fan of big crowds, of events like music festivals or parades where masses of sweaty people I very much would not like were I to know them are shoved ass-to-nuts against one another. I don't like being massively sweaty, being touched and pushed and jostled by strangers, and generally having to deal firsthand with idiots behaving like idiots. But, pierogi.
Instinctively, the first thing I did when we arrived on the one main street along which Pierogi Fest is set up was check that the street was blocked off properly at its beginning and end points. By "properly" I mean with something large and heavy enough to deter a vehicle-ramming attack, because that's just a thing that happens regularly now.
Then I did a 360 scan for cops (so they could engage the mass shooter after he only managed to get off maybe 50 rounds) and alleys or side streets we could use to quickly get off the crowded street. There were none. The lack of entry and exit points from the street, once we were swallowed up by the crowd, made me nervous.
This is just what we have to do now, I guess. The pierogi were good. But on the ride home, Question Cathy admitted that although she felt silly, she had been hesitant about the event because of the potential that someone would show up and start shooting for no reason. I allowed that I felt exactly the same, and we both enjoyed the amusing idea that anything as tame as a festival to celebrate Polish ravioli would ever, in a million years, be a terrorist target.
The next morning we woke up to find that someone shot and killed three people at Garlic Festival in Gilroy, CA, known worldwide for its garlic ice cream and a guy dressed up as a giant garlic mascot.
This is how we live now, I guess. We have to calculate the risk of being killed at small-town food festivals before leaving the house.