A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer.

By Nina Pajak

Well. I think it’s fair to say I’m terrified forever.

After reading the story of Gilberto Valle, the NYPD officer who has been arrested for planning to abduct, rape, torture, cook and eat women, I’m feeling like it may be time to add another lock to the door.

It doesn’t help that I’m already a voracious reader of every scary, gory headline out there, and an equally voracious watcher of most NYC-based crime procedural shows. My mind is essentially an encyclopedia of potentially dangerous scenarios and the multitude of ways in which they can play out. Everything from ordering delivery to walking the dog to riding in a taxi sends my mind racing through the various risk factors. You may think this is no way to live, but I’d argue it’s the best way to ensure you stay alive.

I’d already long been aware of predators who gain access to unsuspecting victims by posing as police officers or firemen. I know all the rules. If you’re concerned, don’t pull over until you’ve confirmed the officer’s identity with dispatch. Make sure the guy has a real badge. Same thing goes for opening a door.

But a real cop? This crosses the line. It’s not like I’ve always felt the NYPD was fully trustworthy and above violent behavior. In the past year alone, we’ve heard many stories of rapes and beatings and unjustified shootings, some alleged, some no longer in question.

For me, though, this guy takes the cake. I am officially traumatized at the mere thought of him. Here is someone who is clearly deeply disturbed and dangerous: according to evidence found on his computer, he (allegedly, of course) conspired in great detail to kidnap women with the help of a paid accomplice. He also allegedly used police computers to help compile dossiers on 100 women who would theoretically be among his targets. He planned to use his status as a police officer to simply “show up at her home unannounced” and “knock her out.” Easy peasy.

He had chillingly thought-out plans and fantasies when it came to tying the women up and cooking them slowly in his (apparently very large) oven. He acknowledged to his accomplice that he could get in huge trouble (um, yes) if he were ever to be connected to one of the disappearances, so it seems pretty obvious that he knew right from wrong. He’s not mentally unfit like a raving lunatic: he is a cold, calculated madman. And he passed whatever civil servant/personality test required to get a badge and a gun. And he managed to keep that badge and gun for six whole years. Who even knows what he’s been up to all this time?

Thanks, NYPD. I may never sleep again.