crime and sanctuary*

I live in a very safe neighborhood. Nobody leaves their backyard lights on at night.

I think I can make a case that the safety of a neighborhood varies inversely with the number of houses that leave their backyard lights on at night. I think it’s reasonable to believe that if a man’s house has been burgled, he’s apt to want his backyard lit up. It stands to reason. I would. Just give me this one.

I think, because you allowed that as a given, that nobody’s house in eyesight of mine has been burgled anytime recently. And I can see if a light were shining in eight backyards next to mine. Nine out of nine houses that I can observe from my backyard have not been burgled.

The only backyard that’s ever lit up (it’s not now) is the vacant house’s directly across from mine. And I can find it in my heart to believe that that is a kindness the owners are bestowing on their neighbors, for safety’s sake.

So there’s no crime here.

One reason, apart from being Long Beach, which hasn’t really changed much in twenty five years, is that this particular neighborhood has only one entrance. Bad guys don’t like that. So this neighborhood doesn’t cater to criminals. Green Acres doesn’t either, maybe less so. That neighborhood is a confusing warren unless you know it.

On a larger scale, though, when you get down to it, there aren’t that many bad guys. We live in a society of few bad guys. I base that statement on my assumption that bad guys have to be related to good guys, and I can count on two fingers the number of relatives I have that have been in trouble as adults. I have a lot of relatives, most of whom I don’t see except at funerals, but even so.

So there aren’t that many bad guys. If you put them all together, the whole lot of them, they’d make a stadium or sixty’s full of people, true. But when you spread em out over the whole country, every little burg you’ve ever driven through, every enormous city, there’s not really that many of them.

Which is good; it means we don’t live in a Bladerunner world (here’s where the word “yet” would be, if I were in a less optimistic mood).

* which, if not the name of a towering novel by a dead Russian, should at least have been the name of a Fox Network docudrama, but it googled empty.$

$ “googled empty” also googled empty.

This entry was posted in big idea, curmudgeonhood, mach?, neighbors. Bookmark the permalink.