Living Happily Ever After



“You can’t talk of the dangers of snake poisoning and not mention snakes.” (C. Everett Koop)

I learned something else from the MSNBC episode of “American Greed” that featured the crimes of Shawn Merriman: there is danger associated with crime. Real danger. I see that now, thanks to the show that aired June 20, 2012. But back then, living the nightmare, I scoffed at the very thought of it.

From the moment my former husband revealed his crimes to me and to his victims (those who thought they were “investing” with him) authorities checked with me often regarding my safety and the safety of my children. They encouraged me to find some place else to go, to exist in (I can’t use the word “live” because we really weren’t “living” in those terrible months we were simply trying to survive them) in the months it took to investigate my former husband’s crimes, to build a federal case against him, to seize our assets and worldly possessions deemed of value and to accomplish every other task associated with the revelation of a Ponzi scheme. Besides, I didn’t have anywhere to go anyway. My parents were dead, I had children in school and I had no money. Where was I going to go?

So the authorities looked out for me. They called me frequently to ask, “How are you doing? Do you feel safe? Has anyone threatened you?” and other similar questions.

I always answered their questions by insisting that I was safe, that while my neighbors weren’t treating me or my children kindly (or even civilly) and were angry (rightfully so) about their losses, they were had always been good people and would never harm us physically…Yes, they broke into our house when they thought no one was home and inadvertently terrorized my teenage daughter who actually was there and heard them walking around, talking, looking in cupboards, trying to get any information about us they could including opening boxes I had packed to move and doing who knows what else—as my daughter hid in a dark corner of the room and prayed they would leave before they found her during their invasion of our property and privacy. And yes, three years later my youngest child is STILL afraid— of the dark, to brush his teeth alone, to be alone in a room without the light and white noise on or  to go anywhere without a light on because he’s terrified “bad people might be in our house.” But I never believed I needed to fear for our safety.

I was wrong.

Almost, but thankfully not, dead wrong. Which I only recently discovered while watching ”American Greed” and learned of at least one close call we avoided because a hostile victim came to his senses in time to prevent an additional tragedy. Lets just stay a loaded gun was apparently involved and leave it at that, shall we?

Moral of the story: I guess there are lots of them, but certainly one of them now includes the lesson that not only does crime NOT pay, but it brings with it danger, too. Dangers you can’t see. I now know I should have been less stubborn and more trusting of the authorities and their concerns (experts who were fearful for a very good reason.)

And thankfully, we’re safe—despite a very bad idea one angry man was able to repress and my prideful, stubborn streak that refused to run when I had nowhere to go.


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