Moral hazard and martial arts — and was I making any sense at all?

It all started when my sister and I got to talking about the up-coming Olympics.  I used to enjoy them when ABC presented each day’s events as a tightly packaged three-hour narrative, complete with villains (usually the Russian, French, or East German judges) and myriad heroes, whether they were the known champions who saw years of hard work paying off, or the dark horses who surprised everyone by appearing out of nowhere. While I may not like my news packaged, I don’t mind it at all when it comes to my Olympics.

Now that the Olympics seem to be 24 hours a day, with a fairly random presentation, I’m overwhelmed and, barring something spectacular (such as Michael Phelps’ amazing run of gold medals), I don’t have the patience for it.

Having determined to our mutual satisfaction that we both feel the same way about the Olympics, my sister offered me an interesting factual tidbit:  “I’ve heard,” she said, “that they’re thinking of adding Mixed Martial Arts to the Olympics, but the people opposing it say that it’s little better than dog fighting.”

My hackles went up instantly — not at her, but at the people who would say that.

“First off,” I said, “professional MMA is a voluntary activity.

“Second, these guys perceive themselves as warriors victims, not victims warriors.  [That was a heck of a dyslexic mistake, wasn't it?]

“And third, while they get a lot of injuries, I bet the injuries are less serious than football.  It’s the whole ‘moral hazard’ thing — the more you insulate people from known risks, the more dangerous their behavior is.

“Think of the difference between football and rugby.  The rugby guys get seriously trashed with superficial injuries to most parts of their bodies, but the lack of helmets mean that they don’t lead with their heads.  You therefore don’t hear about head and spine injuries with rugby players.

“With football players, though, the helmets and padding mean that the league has relied on increasingly large players, who use increasingly aggressive pressure on the opposition.  The injuries can be deep and profound.

“MMA’s the same thing — the guys tear up their knees and shoulders, which is a bad thing, but not life threatening.  It’s a risk they ought be allowed to take.  And they’re grown men, which means that they’re probably getting a lot less trashed than all those little gymnastics, who have been taking enormous risks with aerial activities, not to mention the bone stress and eating disorders.”

Clearly, I was on a roll.  Fortunately, I was preaching to the choir, since my sister just said, “Well, you know that the safest communities are those with the least police presence.”

“That sounds right to me,” I responded.  “After all, no one is going to care as much about protecting you and your loved ones as you are.  Provided, of course, that the authorities haven’t taken your weapons away.  You know that old saying:  when seconds count, the police are minutes away.”

“Yeah,” she answered.  “Look at Chicago.  They have this insane crime rate and they already have one of highest ratios of police officers per citizen in America.  So the City is going to hire more than a thousand police officers, as if that’s going to work.”

“It’s just like teachers, isn’t it?” I offered.  “We keep being told that our failing schools will get better if we hire more teachers, even though there’s no evidence that this approach works.  More than that, it ignores the fact that, back in the day when you and I were in school, our classrooms routinely had 35-40 students per teacher, and our test scores and overall education was just as high as now, if not higher.”

“That’s right,” said my sister.  “They never look at whether the teachers are teaching a smart way, or whether politics is interfering with education.”

She and I ended our conversation then, quite satisfied with each other.

But here’s the problem:  Were we right about anything we said?  Is rugby safer than football when it comes to serious (brain and spine) injuries versus superficial (teeth, nose, elbows, knees, etc.) injuries?  Are the safest communities in America those with the least police presence?  Does Chicago really have one of the highest rates of police per citizen?  And do today’s students really know less than students in the 60s and 70s, or have our expectations gone up since then?

These are good questions and we probably should have known the answers before we started talking.  As it is, I’m simply too lazy today to check whether my facts are right.  And in keeping with my previous post, “When ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”  Since every issue resolved itself so neatly, why in the world would I want to mess up my nice little conversation with actual, possibly different, facts?

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Comments

  1. says

    This 2008 report using 2005 figures shows Washington, D.C. at 6.71 police officers per 1000 citizens, NYC 4.93:1000, Chicago 4.63:1000. With Obama in the WH, one might think Chicago police staffing would increase, but apparently Chicago is trying to hire 500 new police officers without increasing manpower. 

    This 2010 study says the “commonly held belief … that more police officers on the streets or investigating crimes results in less crime and safer communities. Intuitively, this belief is logical; however, no solid data support this claim.”

    As an interesting historical comparison, this 1899 New York Times article, reports that the NYPD had 7,500 officers on the force with an officer to citizen ratio of 20:10,000 or 2:1000, less than half of today’s ratio.

    Eastern U.S. cities tend to have more police officers than western cities because police officers there do all the jobs from street to office. Western cities use civilian employees for office work and other non-essential jobs; if you carry a gun, you’re on the street.

    • says

      Indigo Red: Thank you for finding all those numbers. In many ways, more policemen seem to indicate that our society has given up on teaching its citizens self-control, and is just conceding that they’re going to be violent. To me, this seems analogous to putting your thirteen year old daughter on the Pill, “because she’s going to have sex anyone.” Too many parents see this as something easier than engaging with and watching over the child at a moral level. Sigh.

  2. Zoltan says

    Illinois does not issue concealed-carry permits to anyone. New York City and Washington, D.C. have very restrictive policies to issuing these permits. In Los Angeles county one almost has to be a celebrity, a sitting judge or a big campaign donor to the right people in order to obtain a permit. Crime rates and murder rates are higher in areas where only the bad guys are carrying guns.

    • says

      Zoltan: It wasn’t until I crossed the political Rubicon, moving from Left to Right, that I learned that the NRA was correct all along: When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

  3. says

    When the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program started up there was a big concern about Marines getting injured doing MMA type of training and such. A study was done to see what activities caused the most injuries in Marines and it turns out basketball is the most injurious sport Marines participate in. Additionally, boxing is more deadly than MMA simply because of the gloves, yet it is an Olympic sport. You’re more likely to get a traumatic brain injury in football than in MMA and they wear helmets.

  4. nuqlv9ol7u says

    I am not an expert on Rugby rules. I am familiar with High School Rugby, and soon, I should also be familiar with College Rugby. I think the Head Injury theory originated with someone who does not understand Rugby.

    US Rugby and US Football have different rules, and subsequently, the play is different. Head to head contact is not a feature of Rugby, but there is shoulder to shoulder contact in rugby. Rugby is a rough sport, and there was usually one serious (ambulance ride)  injury per season. In my opinion, rugby is a very rough sport, but in Rugby, sportsmanship is emphasized more than US football.

    As to police numbers, the safer communities probably need less police. Fewer gangsters operate in nice middle class neighborhoods, and as such, there tends to be less violence there. There are criminals, but they would be less violent (white collar crimes). Before gangsters have infested a neighborhood, being personally armed may be more of a deterrent, but after the infestation, it is less of a deterrent.

    In my opinion, the reason Chicago needs the additional police is because of policing policies. Police are constrained by liberals, and this results a policeman being less effective. This is also a problem in the public schools. In both areas, chaos is increased through application of liberal/progressive theology. This theology has created a tar pit at the lower level of society, and it lowers competition for the higher levels of society. Liberals/progressives are the smartest people in the world, but somehow, they are not able to see this.

    Is this a bug, or is this a feature of liberal/progressive theology?

    • says

      nuqlv9ol7u (that’s an unusual user name): When it comes to crime, you’re describing a nice downward spiral. More crime, more cops; more cops, more helplessness; more helplessness, more crime; more crime, more cops, ad infinitum and ad nauseum. And the way Progressives work, it’s definitely a feature. Or at the very least, they’ve decided to optimize a bug.

  5. Charles Martel says

    Regarding whether today’s students know more and are better educated than yesteryear’s, there’s one oblique indicator that might be helpful to the discussion: uptalking. That’s the irritating habit of ending declarative sentences with a question? Young women seem to be particularly afflicted with the tic, although feminized young men (anything to get laid, eh?) increasingly are picking up the habit.
     
    One theory holds that uptalking is the result of a society which is so badly educated that speakers cannot presume that their listeners will understand their references. “So, like, there was this big war between the United States and Japan? World War II? Like, it happened in the 20th century, which was, like, the century before this one? The twenty-first century?”
     
    I rarely run into a recent college grad who has anything but a rudimentary knowledge of politics, history, economics, religion, or logic. Even highly intelligent grads—and I’m thinking back to abc, a Harvard grad who pestered us here last year—are appallingly lacking in anything but surface gloss and name dropping when it comes to making a cogent argument.
     
    So I think the level of education in this country has plummeted. Thanks to political correctness, the public schools mint hundreds of thousands of illiterate minority drop-outs, affirmatively action college grads who are perpetual victims, and white philosophy major baristas who need computerized cash registers to deliver accurate change.
     
    Don’t even get me started on a young editor I worked with, the recent graduate of a New York university, who once wailed when I opened an umbrella indoors because it would bring bad luck. You can be assured that while she favored all progressive causes, she could not understand how superstition was so terribly unbecoming in an ‘educated” woman.
     
     
     
     

    • says

      Charles Martel: I’ve never heard the theory that this feminized inflection bespeaks intellectual security or doubt. I always assumed that it was simply a reflection of the fact that the feminists had achieved their goal and managed to emasculate generations of men. Now I see that there are two perfect theories to apply to a very irritating verbal tic. Or, do I mean, now I see that there are two perfect theories to apply to a very irritating verbal tic?

  6. Caped Crusader says

    Can there be any doubt? Remember your post of October 27, 2011 and the fun we all had commenting on my observations of the free fall in basic knowledge that has been going on for 40 years?
     
    http://www.bookwormroom.com/2011/10/27/are-we-finally-seeing-the-end-of-the-college-bubble/
     
    Get yourself 50 of the Wonderlic Personnel tests and give them to college and high school graduates and you will not believe what supposedly educated and smart? people do not know. As someone who has hired for 45 years I can tell you a high school diploma of the 1960’s represented a better educated person than a graduate degree today, all other factors being equal. The sole exception being those educated in the “hard sciences” where BS and personal opinion will get you nowhere. Blacks who went to school under segregated and adverse situations are far better educated and smarter than their contemporaries have demonstrated. Important factors are the rise of affirmative action, dumbing down and grade escalation for easy draft deferments in the Vietnam era, the idea that all should go to college (to provide the “educational establishment” full employment since they have failed in the previous 12 years; where they will continue to learn nothing of value), and the general lack of curiosity, and love for reading (and thereby learning on your own) that many in my generation possessed. I read every book in the library during my grade school years (no TV), until the library became to big in higher grades. I read every science and sports book I could get my hands on since they were my principal interests as a young person. Wish I had been better and had more interest in languages. I recently watched a program on Military Channel, where and old officer was amused as having been introduced by the principal of a school as a veteran of World War Eleven (WWll).
     
    God help us all!!!!! We could stop this if we just increased taxes and hired more teachers, right?
     
     

    • says

      Caped Crusader: I know that it’s traditional for each generation to denigrate the next, whether one talks of intelligence, education, or morals. But you’re right that, this time around, we’ve got objective facts. This is the first time in history that we’re able to prove conclusively that the next generation really cannot live up to its predecessors. No gloating, though, because it’s those predecessors who embarked upon policies that set this generation up for failure.

  7. lee says

    Like, a few years ago, um, you know, I had applied to grad school at um, Cal, and they like rejected me! And the, um, very same week, like, I was in the, you know, locker room there, like, uh, eavesdropping on, you know, a conversing between, um, two girls, both like grad students. And I was, like appalled, you know, how they, uh, like talked. Like every other word, you know, was followed by, uh, some like vocal, um, hiccup. (Which, uh, thanks to Google, I now know these are like called “discourse markers.”) “This,” I was thinking, you know, “Is what they think is the ‘cream of the crop?’ They can’t string two sentences together! They don’t have enough confidence in their thought processes even in a mundane private conversation to avoid verbal tics. And their grammar? Oy, vey! And I get rejected!? Go figure.” 
     
    By the way, I was accepted at University of Michigan. Whew! Talking about dodging a bullet–at Cal, I probably would’ve had to suffer through an actual class with Judith Butler, instead of just being forced to read her tripe.

    • says

      Lee: If I were the boastful type — and I’m usually not, I might occasionally be inclined to boast about having graduated from Berkeley magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa — without ever studying. I’m mentioning this fact now, of course, but not in a boastful way. Why? Because it was like being Einstein in kindergarten. I was no Einstein, but Cal — in the liberal arts program — sure was a kindergarten. If you had a solid grasp of paragraph structure and you could parrot back Marxist cant, you got As. It was that easy. If I’d actually applied myself, instead of being totally disgusted or bored most of the time, I might have gotten a summa cum laude degree. I don’t regret not making that effort, though. Imagine how much more Marxist garbage I would have to purge from my brain in the years after graduation. It was hard enough getting rid of the small amount I’d already absorbed.

  8. says

    The economy being what it is, we regularly hear threats that police will be laid off.  Presumably, some police forces have shrunk.  Has anyone done a study to determine whether crime went up or down in areas police forces were reduced? 

  9. Michael Adams says

    On Tuesday, the tenth, instant, I got a fairly clear view of how far education has fallen. I do agency nursing, and usually work Monday through Friday, but, I had a week day off, and dropped into the office, which I seldom visit. (We nurses just go out the clients’ homes, and drop our notes and pay slips into a drop box.)  I got into some conversation with the boys who do the scheduling, all of them younger than my son, all of them college graduates. One is named Alden, so I asked whether his first name was actually Alden, or John, as John Alden and Priscilla Mullins had many, many kids, and the land is well seeded in J and P’s descendents, most of whom are rather proud of such a heritage, and name a kid in every generation John Alden Magillicuddy, or whatever.. Not one of the lads had ever heard of “The Courtship…” In other news, they did not know, not one of them, what or where the aorta is. Understand, they are not nurses.  They have  no need to know this, to perform their jobs. Still, I learned it in fifth grade.  If I’d been a bit slow, I’d have gotten it again in the seventh and the tenth. 
     
    My daughter, a high school senior, has always had a vocabulary several years ahead of grade level, but she did not remember where to find the aorta, either.  However, she knows about Frank Gilbreth, and has even hung a Morse code chart, inside a plastic protector, in the shower.  We are all expected to learn it.  I think she won’t mind, then, if I put up an anatomical chart on the wall opposite the t-bowl. Maybe I can even rotate them, this month bones, blood vessels the next, digestive tract after that, major muscles in December, perhaps.
     
    In short, the pieces you have posted most recently, lamenting the lack of factual basis for the thinking of Leftists and their patsies, reflects the fact that there are just not enough FACTS in Americans’ heads. Is the sixth birthday too young for my grandson to get a Visible Man?

  10. JKB says

    Don Quixote,

    A man after my own heart.  A few years ago, I premised that the police make it safer for criminals.  A family member who was in law enforcement took issue.  However, when there are police, the citizen is to call the police and leave the criminal to them.  Sure they sometimes get a bit rough, but they are trained to exercise restraint and to bound the criminal over for the judicial system.  With no police, some citizens, at least, are likely to use aggression against the criminal.  He sure isn’t going to want to detain, process and try them, much less incarcerate them.  Best to just use deadly force to put the matter to rest, so to speak.  

    Incarceration takes a lot of money and infrastructure.  Before we got that big, and long after in the remote communities of the West, petty crimes were handled by fines and possible encouragement to move on.  Serious crimes, like murder and horse theft, were handled by hanging.  No long incarcerations, waiting for trial or waiting for execution, just a good dinner and a morning appointment with the executioner.

  11. JKB says

    “And do today’s students really know less than students in the 60s and 70s, or have our expectations gone up since then?”

     This article does a pretty good job explaining what happened to education.  A little something called post-modernism and the denigration of critical thinking, except as a buzz word

    Capitalism and Western Civilization: Critical Thinking | National Association of Scholars 

    As long as the legacy of postmodern multiculturalism continues to dominate higher and public education, the academic conceit of critical thinking from today’s liberal education will continue to be an ironic oxymoron. For postmodern multiculturalism dismisses Western reason, evidence, science, and knowledge, the very foundations of critical thinking.

    What is tragic is that 100 years ago, we started 3rd graders on real critical thinking.  But due to the influence of the Progressives and post-modernism and what is now passed off by the Academy as critical thinking, such skills are now suggested to be taught in the professional schools.  

    Tonight I saw the show “Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader,” it makes me wonder what would happen if we put our most elite Academies’ scholars up against a 5th grader from 1910.

  12. Caped Crusader says

    Don Quixote
    The economy being what it is, we regularly hear threats that police will be laid off.  Presumably, some police forces have shrunk.  Has anyone done a study to determine whether crime went up or down in areas police forces were reduced? 
     
    DQ:
     
    Agree with and support JKB, and his belief, as mine, that due once again to liberal meddling and turning things topsy-turvy, it has evolved to the point that police in effect are there to offer protection to the criminal, and the victim be damned. I can offer two anecdotal instances to substantiate. Once our police went on strike and the crime went down to almost zero, since the perps knew there was no police to be called and they were very likely to be shot. During the MLK assassination riots the police were to busy to answer calls and as a friend remarked, “I am so afraid I will be shot by a neighbor, that trash removal is only done during daylight hours at our house”. Crime rate near zero then, also.

  13. Call me Lennie says

    You always make sense, Bookie.  Another case of athletic moral hazard that’s right up your alley would be the boxing glove.  At first blush the glove would appear to make the sport safer because it protects the hand and muffles the impact of any given punch by (a) making it slower and (b) spreading the shock of the punch across a larger area of the body.  So what this does is prevent the breaking of bones in the hand and face.  On the other hand, it allows both fighters to give and receive a vastly greater number of blows with much greater amount of accumulated shock to the brain.  Which is why even a boxer who was never knocked out, like Muhammad Ali can still suffer catastrophic neurological damage over the course of his career. 
    As for your rugby and American football comparison, I think the same observation can be made about the difference between football when it was played with leather helmets and no facemasks and football with modern equipment.  You simply didn’t make some of the plays made in modern timers because if you did, you’d get knocked unconscious.  On the other hand, you could sustain an infinite number of lower level shocks to your head with consequent problems in later years.  And there is definitely the problem of players being being much bigger and faster without an attendant increase in skull thickness to protect the brain
    But I would add one cautionary note to the current wave of hyper-concern (maybe) about football and brain trauma.  Much of this concern is being triggered by the unhappy experiences of ex-players who played in the NFL in the Seventies when many teams were playing on very hard artificial turf.  By the end of the season, in some northern cities these field were hard as rock, so that simply hitting the ground with your helmet was the most dangerous element of all.  There was one division, which included Pittsburg, Cinncinatti, Cleveland and Houston where everybody played on this surface and there appears to be an inordinate number of traumatized NFL vets from that division.  I think this factor needs t obe investigated before we go all mega-nanny state on the sport of football
     
     

  14. jj says

    Crusader – hard not to agree with your #19.  Cops are anyway an odd dynamic in a “free” (yeah, yeah – I know; ha, ha) society.  And it’s a very old cliche that both the cops and the crooks look down on the victims who occupy the middle ground between them – that would be: us – as patsies in all directions.  The cops feel, if anything, a closer kinship and some respect for the crooks who are out there taking advantage of the mugs (us); whereas they feel no respect at all for said mugs.  Us.  The cops speak their own language, use their own codes, use their own verbal shorthand and private references.  They socialize mostly (you could say “only” and be pretty accurate) with each other.  They are their own little subculture: heavily armed, not too bright, far too often inclined to be bullies.
     
    It was in some ways funny to watch good old liberal Seattle got a wake-up call a couple of years back, in 2009.  A long-term problem child and nut (a technical term, I use it as a shrink) from Arkansas went off the rails in a big way one afternoon, and killed four Lakewood (that’s a suburb) cops while they were having lunch in a diner.  That wasn’t funny at all, of course, and a tragedy for the families.  But what followed was, to a lot of these sweet, innocent northwest liberals, astonishing.  For the next few days following the murders, for as long as it took to track down and blow this guy apart, (there was never any realistic chance he’d be taken in and held for trial, and all the adults knew it), the police vanished from Seattle, and western Washington in general.  They were just gone.  They were preoccupied and busy, and they did not give one damn about what else went on while they were out looking for this guy.  There could have been forty other murders a day in Seattle during that time, and they would not have cared.  Not at all.  I mean not cared to the point they might not have even showed up.  Every detective, every squad car, every cop of every rank was busy.  And of course they found him, and of course they blew him apart.  And took all his friends and relatives and anybody he’d ever said hello to into custody for assisting a felon, or something.  Okay.
     
    But then it began – somewhat belatedly for an allegedly intelligent population – to dawn on the folks that they’d just seen something pretty amazing.  Their police had just established, for all time, right out front where it was hard to miss, that they did not and do not give one damn about them and their concerns.  (They not only established it, they rammed it down everybody’s throats.)  Lovely, law-abiding, friendly people to whom unkind thoughts never occur (much of Seattle’s population bears a strong resemblance to English Sheep Dogs) began saying things like: “wait a minute!  If I was murdered, what would I get?  The usual response?  Two bored detectives who might or might not manage to stumble across whoever did it?  But let a cop go down, and it’s 24-7, balls-to-the-walls, everybody’s involved, we’re at war?  Protect and serve who?  Each other?”  And then of course when the cops concluded all this stuff by having a funeral parade that was, literally, ten miles long and involved hundreds of police cars, shutting down I-5 and too many local streets to mention, that didn’t go down so swell either.  People began saying downright unfriendly things like: “how many thousand gallons of somebody else’s – taxpayer’s – gas did you guys burn in this performance?  How many miles did you put on somebody else’s cars as an expression of your grief and solidarity?  And – did you even ask if you could do this – or do you just figure you won those cars and that gas?  We see dead kids come home to Fort Lewis from the Middle East every day from serving their country, for which they get nothing like the pay and benefits you clowns do – they don’t get a thousandth of this.”
     
    And so of course when the Seattle cops walked off the end of the legitimate policing pier and ended up under scrutiny by the Holder Whatever-it-is Department – certainly “justice” would be a misnomer – they found damned few allies around to defend them.  So now they operate under the gimlet eye of a bunch of jackasses from DC, which makes them afraid to do much of anything at all.  Which is both good and not-so-good.  But it is interesting.
     
    With ref to Indigo Red (#1), the only data I ever knew of was in New York City during the second half of the 1990s – the Giuliani administration.  Rudy liked the cops, but he always figured they were being used wrong, so when he became mayor he began to use them – as he saw it – right.  New York City, he noted, is nothing more than a collection of neighborhoods, so we’re going to be old-fashioned neighborhood cops.  You’re going to get your fat asses out of the cars and into the same world as everybody else, and you’re going to walk a beat.  When people in brownstones on the upper west side hear footsteps on the sidewalk at three in the morning, it’s going to be you.  You’re going to know your beat.  You’re going to know the people who live and work there, and you’re going to know their routines, so you can instantly spot when something’s out of place.  Every time you walk past a store that’s closed, you’re going to step over and try the door, making sure it’s locked, just like an old-fashioned cliche of policing.  When the waitresses leave the club at three in the morning they’re going to expect to see you making sure they get on the bus all right – and you’re going to know their names and they’re going to know yours and you’ll say hi and spend a minute with them while the bus comes.  When you see a broken window-pane you’re going to know it’s George’s window, and you’re going to say “George, fix the window, it’s an invitation  for a problem.  If it stays broken it looks like nobody cares.” 
     
    And it worked.  New York City went from being a war-zone under that idiot Dinkins to the safest place in the world of its size.  You could walk the streets at three AM and know you were okay.  Homicides were cut by 4/5s.  At no time in my life after the mid 1950s was NYC as safe as it was in the second half of the 1990s.  It wasn’t just anecdotal, it was reflected in the stats, but the main thing was, it was obvious to people on the streets.  It became a very civilized place.  Museums and galleries that used to close at 6:00 stayed open until 9:00, because visitors had a good shot at getting home safely.
     
    So it isn’t just cops, and numbers of cops.  It’s how they’re employed, and how they interact.  Getting them out of the cars and on the streets forces them to interact.  When somebody says “hi” to them, after a while (it ain’t easy!)  they say “hi” back, instead of immediately wondering what the guy’s up to.  It humanizes them.  In New York, you had conversations, not confrontations.  “That bulge under your arm’s a gun?”  Yes it is.”  “Got a permit to carry it?”  “Yes I do.”  “Can I see it?’  “Sure.”  Give him the permit, take the gun out and show him that the serial number matches one of the ones on the permit.  (Every gun you owned in NY was on the permit.)  That was a lot better than the “up-against-the-wall-with-your-arms-spread!” crap that a suspicious bulge used to elicit.  It was only possible when the cops stopped being cops and became people.  Numbers don’t matter.  Brains and approach do.

  15. Mike Devx says

    Great #23, jj!  And I wouldn’t even call it a rant.  Helluva post.

    I’ve long suspected that what you wrote about the police fraternity is true.  Based on what you wrote about Rudy Giuliani’s New York City, what you describe doesn’t have to be the case, but it too often is, I think.

    I suspect much the same is true about our soldiers.  They fight for each other; the re-enlist for each other.  And for love of country and patriotism.  But I doubt they do it for love of all of the American people.  Too many of us are not worthy of that dedication, and I doubt we as a people in the general sense inspire that kind of dedication.

    I remember a couple of years way back in college when I worked at an amusement park called Cedar Point in Ohio. I was part of a crew in a food concession shop (The Fudge Factory).  We refered to the park as The Zoo, and all the visitors we called The Animals.  To their face we were respectful and decent, but the day in day out throng was somewhat worthy of the moniker.  You had your general mix of people: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  They were people.

    And when I think about cops… when they’re not doing the Giuliani thing, what do they see?  All they see are the dregs and the predators.  Even when they have to deal with regular people and the generally good people, they’re dealing with us at our worst: When we’ve done something considered wrong.  To me it’s a mistake to come to view the people with general mistrust and sneering disrespect, but it actually isn’t a surprise when it happens.

    The very few times I’ve been a crime victim (2 or 3), the cops I’ve dealt with have been perfectly fine, if not really all that helpful.  They were low-profile cases and I got the impression little attention would be paid, and little attention was paid.  At the police station to pick up the reports and check on things, the only impression I got was of bureaucracy.  But unlike many government offices, it was a working bureaucracy, not a mind-numbingly inefficient, wasteful, and we-totally-don’t-give-a-damn bureaucracy.  

    Which reminds me:  There’s one woman I see at the local post office who truly cares about her job, is efficient and helpful, and always personal and considerate.  The others are to varying degrees AWFUL.  I sometimes want to ask that woman, “How do you stand it? How do you manage to keep your own standards so high, when you’re surrounded by sloth, lack of ambition to even try to do the job halfway properly, incosiderateness, and a do-the-bare-minimum-that-keeps-me-from-being-fired attitude that surrounds you?”  I don’t think I could keep on going if the culture that surrounded me were that corrosive.

    I totally agree with what you wrote about Giuliani.  I was there in 2000 and what you describe about 9pm, 10pm, 11pm is absolutely right.  It was safe, it felt safe.  I wonder, under Dinkins and Bloomberg in the decade since, how much has already been lost.
     

Trackbacks

  1. Watcher’s Council nominations…

    Joshuapundit-Nobody Else Made It Happen, Mr. President The Noisy Room – Dancing on the Global Fiscal Cliff Simply Jews – Mirra Eisenshtadt: the woman who leaked a Soviet state secret The Political Commentator – Just this once, OWS may actually……

  2. Watcher’s Council Results…

    Here are this week’s full results. Council Winners*First place with 3 votes! Simply Jews – Mirra Eisenshtadt: the woman who leaked a Soviet state secret Second place with 2 2/3 votes – Joshuapundit – Nobody Else Made It Happen, Mr. President Third plac…

  3. Watcher’s Council results…

    *First place with 3 votes! Simply Jews – Mirra Eisenshtadt: the woman who leaked a Soviet state secret Second place with 2 2/3 votes – Joshuapundit – Nobody Else Made It Happen, Mr. President Third place with 1 2/3 votes……

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