No spike in police killing–constant panic is what’s killing us

I’m not justifying even ONE of these killings, but it’s as I suspected–the frequency of

Baltimore riots

Baltimore riots

trigger-happy police killing has not suddenly escalated. This NYT article gets around to that after wasting our time  with a cutesy top. It points up the real problem–the outsized impressions people get by reading things on the Internet and watching TV.

Though it’s much harder to compare statistics because statistics themselves are more accurate and complete today than they were 30 years ago…I highly doubt that so many more children are being molested, kidnapped or heaven knows what else now to justify the extreme safety measures that parents feel appropriate, and that authorities encourage–to the extent that it is so rare for kids to walk home from school today that they’re even called “free range” and their parents risk arrest.

My kids, now in their 30s, never had play dates. They just went out and played. We usually knew where they were, but not always–and they didn’t have cell phones with GPS tracking devices, either. Please note I’m talking about Jerusalem, where it is “common knowledge” that there are terrorists on every corner at all times. Fact–in 2014, a year known for car-ramming Palestinian attacks, 13 people were killed in Jerusalem by terrorists or criminals. Thirteen. It’s a city of 800,000 people. Compare that to your city. You’ll probably have to add a zero. There were 108 homicides in 2014 in Washington, DC, a bit smaller than Jerusalem, for example. Yet the image of Jerusalem in particular and Israel in general as “unsafe” persists, complete with State Department travel advisories.

Even 108 homicides in Washington is no reason for panic. In fact, in general, there is no reason at all for panic. A careful reading of crime statistics shows that we are more in danger of harming ourselves, physically and psychologically, with our “safety” measures than we are from criminals or terrorists.

It’s time for is to get a grip on reality and readjust accordingly. Just like the absurd level of security at airports (where grandmothers with US passports get prodded, probed and X-rayed), over-the-top precautions, and especially the mindset that brings them on, are depriving us of our freedom, depriving children of an essential part of their childhood, and distorting society in ways we have yet to measure–because the effects will be seen only in another decade or two. By then there will be more unnecessary “security” measures, and more people saying we can’t compare the statistics, and on and on. We must get a handle on this NOW and restore some sense to our lives.

Otherwise, to expand the saying: the terrorists, criminals and cowards win.

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