The Flinchum File

Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
Subscribe to the Flinchum File
View Archives

Needed: A New Precaution

One of my favorite Republican writers has long been Peggy Noonan, who was the primary speechwriter for President Reagan.  Last week, she wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal that deserves some thought.

She argues that crime is more scary now, not because there is more crime, but because we no longer know the rules to keep ourselves safe.  Quoting her:  “Previous crime waves were a matter of street thugs and professional criminals, and you could take steps in anticipation of their actions.  Don’t walk in the park at night – criminals like darkness.  Take the subway during rush hour – criminal don’t like witnesses.  Don’t be on Main Street at 1 a.m., but do go the afternoon parade.”

What should be the rules to protect ourselves from insane young men, who are steeped in video games, schooled on social media, never held a girl’s hand and having the barest grasp on reality?  Noonan describes them as “our culture’s roadkill.”  They’re also dangerous.

How do we teach “situational awareness” to first-graders?  As a child, I was taught to get under my desk and cover my head when attacked by nuclear weapons.  (Have we improved that at all?)  Should we teach children to never turn their backs to a door?  Should we teach them to counter-attack their attacker – quickly?

The logic supporting the best defense from a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun could also support the best defense from a bad kid with a gun is a good kid with a gun – which is logically rational but realistically irrational.

There are classes on situational awareness, but such classes can also be traumatic, especially to children and sensitive adults.

For adults, simply staying home is not acceptable!  Should stores be required to install mirrors around corners – all corners, so we can see the danger sooner?  Should the government fund self-defense training?

Almost as an afterthought, she recalls police officers as nice men in cotton shirts who wore a holster with a gun and shot bad guys.  Today, they look like bulked-up WWE players, wear layers of sophisticated equipment, and move in swarms.  Police used to shoot well and communicate poorly.  Today, they communicate well and don’t shoot at all.

Maybe, we should take a more existential view that it doesn’t really matter, because dying is just part of living?  That’s true, but the method of dying is still important.  However, that’s not true for my friends and loved ones.  They deserve a long, happy life . . . and deserve a life without fear!  How?