I grew up in the sleepy little town of Highland Park, in Middlesex County. When I say "little", I really mean it. It's less than 2 square miles. But that friendly suburb was rocked this past weekend by a terrifying crime that has left myself and many of my peers stunned.

According to reports, a 36-year-old woman was walking down a street in the borough when a man, "confronted her at gunpoint and forced her into the basement of a nearby apartment building" where he allegedly proceeded to beat and sexually assault her.

Not only did this happen in my hometown, but it happened on literally the street that I grew up on.

Harper Street is a small street of only about half a dozen or so houses, so we're not talking about a major thoroughfare that stretches for miles and has hundreds of homes, back yards to hide in, and dark alleys.

We're talking about what could easily be described as a picturesque American street. Brightly colored homes with flags on the porches and kids playing ball in the street.

Highland Park is the kind of town where everyone pretty much walks everywhere. It's actually kind of funny to think in retrospect about driving to school when I got my drivers license. Even being only a few streets from the edge of town, my walk to school was still only minutes long.

On weekends, the streets are full of shoppers, families, people walking their dogs, and kids playing. Which makes this crime, which allegedly took place in the middle of the afternoon this past Sunday, even more sickening.

My family moved from Highland Park when I was in college, but it will always be my childhood home. Many friends and their families still live there, and I visit on a semi-regular basis to walk my dog, or even just drive through and reminisce about my childhood hangouts.

To think that those visits may now have me looking over my shoulder is both saddening, and even a little nauseating.


Ok, enough bad news. Let's finish this post with a video of my deliriously happy dog:



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