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Thursday, July 10, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 5/24/2008

Cautionary tale

S. AMJAD Hussain, a retired surgeon, University of Toledo trustee, and Blade columnist, is not a man who shies away from danger.

He has dodged guerrilla bands in pursuit of stories in his native Pakistan, and seven years ago, traveled in Afghanistan and interviewed important members of the feared Taliban just months before Sept. 11. That led to a Blade series that later became a book, The Taliban and Beyond.

But what he never expected was to be sprayed with Mace, pistol-whipped, and forced to flee for his life from his own comfortable home in Springfield Township, where he was working on his computer late Tuesday evening.

The men who invaded his house were most likely thugs looking for money, and had no idea who their victim was. But if there is a silver lining to this terrifying incident, it is that Dr. Hussain's prominence may draw new and needed attention to the problem of home invasion.

Toledo is scarcely alone in seeing this kind of criminal behavior. More than a decade ago, civil rights icon Rosa Parks was similarly attacked and beaten in her Detroit home by a young black man who, irony of ironies, even knew who she was. Sadly, the downturn in the local and national economies threatens to make such desperate attacks more common, and they underscore the need to take precautions.

There are, fortunately, many things one can do to deter robbery and home invasion. Large dogs, for those who are so inclined, can be a very effective deterrent. Doors should be locked and alarm systems installed and turned on. Most of these criminals are looking for very easy marks. When Dr. Hussain's attackers realized his sons were upstairs, they fled.

Beyond that, however, some smaller and more rural townships such as Springfield and Monclova need to ask themselves if they can adequately provide for the security of their residents. Annexation, or at least more sharing of police forces, may be advisable, and even necessary. And residents of every community need to be aware that you can't keep cutting taxes and have adequate security at the same time.

Dr. Hussain alerted thousands of our readers to the true nature of the Taliban before most of America had any idea. Now, it would be a happy irony if his close call with personal danger did something to make us more secure from the beasts within our society at home.



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