R – Reality, Fear consists of a collection of thoughts based upon what we have experienced in the past, and based upon what one thinks is going to happen in the future.

While fear is not a tangible object, it certainly can be very real within human emotion. Certain media venues, such as horror movies, have brought in interested viewers to experience this strong human emotion through disturbing images. While this may be fun for some viewers, being confronted with real-life fear is not enjoyable at all. This real-life fear drives the person to act or think a certain way. Just like the human body fights off infections, the human mind will fight off the meme of fear by doing anything possible to avoid confronting this fearful event or idea.

While this possible event may seem like it is very real within our minds, it may not necessarily be logically real. Because of certain events we have experienced or perhaps different things we have been told or have seen, we believe the future will happen a certain way.

One generally perceived thought is that public housing residents are the sole cause of violence that happens in the Rockford region. According to some homeowners in troublesome areas, such as Sesheta Whittier, public housing residents cannot be held responsible for all of their neighborhood’s crime. Other public housing residents, like Carol Cook, insist that they want their families to be safe, just like any supportive parents. In this case, it appears as though just because violence happens in a certain area of town, it means that those who are living there are commiting these crimes. This is simply not the reality.

According to crime data from the Rockford Housing Authority, 75 percent of those arrested in 2014 were not public housing residents:

Courtesy of rrstar.com

While there are some who will resort to violence, the average person will aim to make a hospitable and safe place for their family to live. Before judging the reality of a situation, a person may consider doing research and leading a personal investigation to arrive at the most level judgement. By taking the time to study the situation and becoming armed with factual information, the person may now find that both their own opinion and the general opinion was a misinformed judgement. In reflection, when this person confronts this fear, they now realize that their fear perceptions had turned into cold, hard attitudes.

Proposed reality is something that is very easily formed by various stakeholders within the community. Sometimes, a perceived reality can be based upon an opinion that is formed solely on an outlook of the given situation, rather than full knowledge of it. To combat this, those who have knowledge of the situation and know of its strengths and weaknesses will educate fellow community members. In doing this, a new reality will be created that is aligned with truth. The public will know the strengths (what to capitalize on) and the weakness (what to develop/work on) of the new reality.

When the public and its individuals are educated with a reality-based attitude, fears will automatically decline as the path to community success is revealed. An imagined reality that once incited a bleak future will turn into a manifestation of an enlightened, dynamic Rockford. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to seek the truth in the face of fear knowing ever so well how uncomfortable facing fear can and will be.