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Areavoices: 'Becoming Midwestern' blogger writes about The Golden Rule in North Dakota

On our way out to Fargo last August during our big move, we stopped in Bismarck to stay with some relatives before unpacking a giant u-haul the next day. We were sitting around the table chatting, and our conversation turned to the topic of crime...

On our way out to Fargo last August during our big move, we stopped in Bismarck to stay with some relatives before unpacking a giant u-haul the next day. We were sitting around the table chatting, and our conversation turned to the topic of crime in North Dakota. Blake's Aunt mentioned that there are a few incidents that have occurred in the last couple years and you have to be a bit more cautious now than before... like most of the country. She told me a few stories of the most recent murders explaining the basic background information: who, what, when, where, how.

As soon as his Aunt finished, I remember she looked rather concerned. I think she thought I would jump in my car and drive right back to Washington. The fact was, I was more concerned with the winter weather than the crime. To be honest, I couldn't believe she could remember names of the individuals. Now, this probably sounds incredibly insensitive on my part, but the fact is, I grew up only about a half hour from DC, and my county neighbored one of the most dangerous counties in the United States. The fact is, I can't remember the name of a single person that had been killed. It's not completely shocking when you are watching the news and a few of the stories have to do with crime and murder. Unfortunate and terrible, yes, but shocking, not really.

Not only to I feel safer in North Dakota than I ever have in my life, but how much people trust one another is new to me as well. Yesterday in the grocery store, I was waiting in the checkout line behind a customer and for whatever reason, one of her items wasn't ringing up no matter how hard the cashier tried. Finally, the cashier said to the customer, "Do you know how much this was?"

This isn't the only time I'd heard a cashier ask this and it also wasn't the only store I've heard them ask it in. The first time I was asked when some ciabatta rolls weren't ringing up I was stunned. I did in fact know that the rolls were .79 cents a piece and I was honest enough to give the correct price. However, I think my reply went something like this, "They were .79 cents a piece but if you want to go check I totally understand."

I expected the cashier to think I was lying. He didn't.

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The biggest shocker for me was leaving car doors unlocked even while they are warming up in the winter. "Aren't you worried about someone stealing your car?" I asked a friend.

"No one is cruel enough to steal someone's car when it's -30 degrees outside." she replied.

Maybe that's true, or maybe North Dakota is the one place that is still standing by the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

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