I’m a relatively transparent kind of guy. Meaning, I don’t mind sharing some information about my history, my family and where I work. I certainly wouldn’t post my home address or social security number online. But for the most part, I will answer just about any question asked of me within reason. But there are many people who are none too keen about sharing anything remotely personal online. Everything is locked down… real name, city and state, cell number, school they went/go to, names of relatives, etc.
Why do I bring this up? Because I was listening to the news on my way to work this morning and I heard about the Colorado DOC Chief who was killed in his home after answering the front door. I immediately began to wonder what the assailant’s motivation may have been and how they found out where the Chief lived. I wondered if they were a disgruntled subordinate… maybe a recently parolee seeking revenge… maybe just a deranged person who gets kicks out of wounding or killing authority figures. Or maybe it was none of that and it was a random act of violence, a case of mistaken identity, or a jilted lover.
Maybe we’ll never know.
But that line of thought also reminded me of a conversation I had a couple years ago with someone who was concerned about the fact that people knew my real name. It went something like this:
THEM: Aren’t you afraid of what people might do?
(said with genuine concern for my safety)
ME: Do? Like what?
(not really understanding what they were getting at)
THEM: Well, that someone might use your name to find out where you live or work and like, come kill you or take you hostage or something.
ME: (laughing) Nah, I’m nobody important. No one cares where I work or live. If I were more in the public eye, I’d certainly err on the side of caution. But for now, I’m so far off the radar that I have first cousins who couldn’t even tell you the city I live in to save their lives.
THEM: Yeah, maybe. But still… I NEVER post my real name online. Not even on Facebook.
(as if Facebook is a breeding ground for stalkers)
ME: I can appreciate that. I just don’t think my first and last name is an issue of privacy. Names are easily acquired. I can go to the grocery store and see the cashier’s first and last name printed on the badge they wear. Or I can go to a city website and find out the name and office location for the director of Parks and Recreation.
THEM: I guess so. Still, I’d just rather be safe than sorry.
ME: To each their own I suppose.
It makes me wonder how concerned other people are about their privacy online. I know it’s not just an issue of paranoia. Some of the concern is definitely justified. But I think that everyone draws the line at a different point of comfort.