Cory Doctrow on statistics
, saying exactly the sort of things that I've said before.. but maybe more well written:
.. the fact is that attacks by strangers are so rare as to be practically nonexistent. If your child is assaulted, the perpetrator is almost certainly a relative (most likely a parent). If not a relative, then a close family friend. If not a close family friend, then a trusted authority figure.
And yet we continue to focus our attention on the meteor-strike-rare paedophile attack instead of protecting our children from the real, everyday dangers they face from the familiar. This has the [effect] of making our children less safe..
I mention this in the wake of the nine year old subway rider in NYC
, where the subways there are most likely many
times safer than they have been in previous decades and the child was probably less likely to run into someone they knew than if they were hanging out in their own apartment building. Responses to that story were varied, but mostly vehemently against it, calling the mother who allowed it an unfit parent.. These same
people tell stories of riding the subway or walking through Manhattan in the 70's when they were young, admitting that it was probably a good experience in the end, yet in the same breath admitting that they won't let their kids out of the back yard until they're 30, married, and wearing a titanium exo-skeleton.
And, of course:
This is the same calculus that allows the fear of terrorism to take away our liberty.
What gets me the most out of all of this is that in my daily conversations with folks - smart, dumb, young, and old - it seems
like most people understand the negative effects of the fear-mongering press and the loss of liberty and civil rights that all this causes.. yet people will still put their foot down about their child's safety, and the protection of such-and-such monument in po-dunk town that has a 99.99999% chance of never being attacked by terrorists.
In theory, we are all liberal, open, sharing people. In reality, all it takes is one scared mofo in the back of the room to start circling the wagons.