When a crime occurs, particularly one that involves loss of life, it seems to strike a little closer to home when it takes place in suburbia. Not that the deaths are any less tragic in a big city, but somewhere in the backs of our minds, when someone is killed in a major metropolis, a little voice says, “that couldn’t happen here.”
But, of course, it can.
In smaller communities, people tend to know their neighbors. They’re the people you talk with as you get your mower out or the folks down the block whose kids babysit yours. A “wild child” in town might get picked up for shoplifting or drugs or DUI. He isn’t arrested for murder, and he certainly isn’t a terrorist.
But that’s the thing about American terrorists. They’re not predictable, particularly when they act alone. My terrorist character will come from America’s heartland. He’s just the boy – or maybe the girl – next door.