Bad stuff hardly ever happens here. On a worldwide scale our crime rate is reassuringly low.
The problem is sometimes things do happen which can quickly shatter all our feelings of comfort and safety. Much of this depends on proximity. Crimes are far more shocking if they happen to someone you know, in the same area or to someone who shares the same characteristics as you or someone you love.
When I watch most crime reports on the TV I normally quickly dismiss them before comforting myself with the fact I'm not living in Syria. When I heard about what happened to Jill Meagher I couldn't be so blase. Jill was 29, Irish, brunette, smart and attractive - all characteristics shared by the love of my life.
I still realise stuff like that hardly ever happens but the actions of one psychopath can really fuck with that carefree vibe.
It would be nice to live in a place with no door locks but some burglar stuffed that idea up long ago. A few terrorists mean we can no longer board a plane without emptying our pockets, taking off our shoes and ditching that scary bottle of water. A succession of kiddy-fiddlers means most parents are now a whole lot less comfortable with their child becoming an alter boy or going away on scout camp.
As much as these crimes are horrible for the people directly involved, the broader impact also really sucks. Our minds don't work on a purely rational statistical level. Just one racist on a bus, one shark attack or one psycho rapist killer can really bugger things up.