In a lifetime full of surprises, a brush with attempted murder has rattled me. Last night, in the early morning, as my wife, son, and I were fast asleep in our beds, someone walked up my steps, approached the front door and squirted an entire bottle of gasoline into my mail slot. He then dropped a lit piece of paper through the opening. The rain foiled his plans and he retreated, his murderous plans unfulfilled.
A multi-jurisdictional task force responded and I am told they are making progress. But, the near-death experience is not the worst part. It is the realization that someone hates me enough to try to wipe out my family. For those who read the New York Post, this story may fail to impress. Arson is rampant in this country and people die every day from random and intended acts of violence.
Yes, I am an aggressive, forceful lawyer. I am sure I have enemies. Though, to be honest, I feel like I would make enemies regardless of my occupation. You see, I am brash. And forceful. I am aggressive and relentless. And, I can hardly get through a day without penning a hostile e-mail. I am overly sensitive with super-human strength. But, I have dedicated my entire life to helping other people. Given the chance to advance my own interests or quietly help someone in need, the choice has always been clear and easy. A guy in my neighborhood who has abused me needs interference with the township construction official? I didn’t hesitate. You see, I have strong opinions. I believe in a self-defined sense of right and wrong. When my sensibilities are offended, when my code is violated, I react. Strongly and perhaps disproportionately. And, if that weren’t bad enough, I am not always right in my initial, forceful reaction. But, it comes from a good place. A place of love and compassion. It is often misinterpreted.
So, who wants to kill me? It’s been 15 years since I put someone in prison and 5 years since he was released. Today, most of my time is dedicated to fighting financial disputes on behalf of major corporations. Hardly the stuff of dramatic vengeance. I still litigate against the occasional evil-doer, but that’s the price you pay for always defending the good guys. Still, with one or two exceptions, it’s hard to believe someone would take out my family over anything I have said in court.
Maybe it’s a Palestinian sympathizer, angered by my public expressions of Zionistic integrity. I doubt it. If it were, I would surely be dead.
Maybe it is one of my closer friends; frustrated by months of an inability to penetrate my rut. That seems unlikely. It is obviously their fault.
I am hoping it turns out to be a prank. A random assault without meaning. And, yet, tonight I find myself living an episode of Law & Order. Wondering how I can protect my wife, the greatest person I know. Or my children, who could never understand this level of violence.
For now, I can only engage in critical self-analysis and let the police do their job. But, I am shaken. Not because I fear the future. It’s the past that makes me worry.