Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?
So what brings about this maudlin melancholy? Can we build a positive future by changing our mindset?
I've been reading a few things latterly in various places, that highlight the malaise. Crime is, at least in the UK, still pretty rare, sure there are hotspots and places where its relatively better, or worse. We have a chance of being murdered that is less than 0.0012%pa and mostly those crimes are committed by those who know us, For rape the statistics are 0.023%pa yet we fear a stranger in the dark. Thousands of chance encounters affected by fear of an extremely unlikely outcome. (Of course if the worst did happen the effects would be massive)
Newspapers, of course, over report these things; they like to, it sells. But it changes opinion.
We fit locks to protect our houses from burglary, but mostly we only ever use them to lock ourselves in. As a child we simply didn't lock the house, often it was left open overnight or for parts of the day with nobody home. It just wasn't an issue. The burglary rate now isn't that dramatically different to then, but our reaction to the risk is dramatically different.
What impact does our constant determination to lock and protect everything from everyone instil in the brains of our children, are we making them think like people in a free and safe society, or programming distrust and fear?
Here is an example of how it all fails. I notice increasingly the habit of lorry drivers to open the back doors of their trucks if they are leaving then overnight without stock. Seems sensible on the surface to tell the thieves that stealing the trailer would be less rewarding, but of course it also tells them by implication that the ones with shut doors do have contents.
Almost everyone is trustworthy and honest. By recognising and rewarding that through our own trust and honesty we make it a more likely behaviour and move towards a safer world. Fearing everyone that appears in front of us, demanding ID, assuming the worst, demanding proof that they can be trusted, forgetting that to them we too are a stranger, just breeds more mistrust and more hatred.
That route leads in the exact opposite direction to the one that we, in my opinion, should be taking. It's time to question our distrust, question what we fear and whether it is real or imagined, and were we don't know choose to imagine a trusting safe world, rather than imagining a crime ridden unsafe one.
How could you move in the opposite direction?, how could you be remarkably trusting and build a better future?. Apple, so often leaders in this, recently allowed shoppers to purchase items with their iPhone, Pick it up scan it, agree to pay, walk out.
When i talked to a store manager about it he said:
"We trust our customers, the vast majority are honest, and wouldn't walk out without paying, and that's what we have found. Our natural shrinkage (euphemism for shoplifting) rates have fallen since we introduced the app and trusted people to do the right thing"
For me that sums it up. I want a safer world, I think we do that by being more open, more trusting, more welcoming of strangers and less fearful of minuscule risk.
Who is with me?
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