Thursday, August 14, 2014

Popular exaggeration of risk

Security expert Bruce Schneier agrees with Lenore Skenazy of Free Range Kids:
But, "What if a man would've come and snatched her?" said a woman interviewed by the TV station.

To which I must ask: In broad daylight? In a crowded park? Just because something happened on Law & Order doesn't mean it's happening all the time in real life. Make "what if?" thinking the basis for an arrest and the cops can collar anyone. "You let your son play in the front yard? What if a man drove up and kidnapped him?" "You let your daughter sleep in her own room? What if a man climbed through the window?" etc.

These fears pop into our brains so easily, they seem almost real. But they're not. Our crime rate today is back to what it was when gas was 29 cents a gallon, according to The Christian Science Monitor. It may feel like kids are in constant danger, but they are as safe (if not safer) than we were when our parents let us enjoy the summer outside, on our own, without fear of being arrested.
One comment says:
This nonsense is what happens when society gives women the right to vote.

Some will immediately point out the it is a woman who is quoted in the article from Free Range Kids but that is the exception that illustrates the rule. People keep talking about "irrational fears" ignoring that most of those irrational fears steam from women, particularly post-menopausal women. The West may be going to hell in a handbasket, as a friend of mine stated, but how much of such dissatisfaction directly coincides with the rise of women in public life and the need for politicians to cater to their fears?
Skenazy is a sensible woman about risk, so clearly it is possible for women to be sensible. And some men are irrational about risk. But for the most part, women are much more likely to choose their foolish instincts over common sense.

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