A Kinder, Gentler Nation

Just after headlines concerning the large American prison population and my slap-dash finding that Americans don’t like criminals and feel very safe comes an interesting editorial report from BBC North America Editor Justin Webb:

What surprises the British tourists is that, in areas of the US that look and feel like suburban Britain, there is simply less crime and much less violent crime.
Doors are left unlocked, public telephones unbroken.
One reason – perhaps the overriding reason – is that there is no public drunkenness in polite America, simply none.
I have never seen a group of drunk young people in the entire six years I have lived here. I travel a lot and not always to the better parts of town.
It is an odd fact that a nation we associate – quite properly – with violence is also so serene, so unscarred by petty crime, so innocent of brawling.

Glenn Reynolds credits our high level of gun ownership, but I’d suggest that the cause and effect relationships are more intricate.

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Greg
Greg
13 years ago

So high gun ownership deters crime?
Well that explains Washington D.C.’s incredibly low crime rate…
…oh wait…

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
13 years ago

Greg,
That’s LEGAL gun ownership…

michael
13 years ago

No public drunkenness? I’ve got to take him for a tour of Providence in Rescue 1.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
13 years ago

Michael-I am sure you are right,but I have been in the UK and the Netherlands and there is rampant public drunkeness at hours when a lot of ordinary people are out and about.Isn’t most of what you see late at night?I worked midnights often in Chicago on INS unmarked patrol and saw more drunkeness by far in parts of Amsterdam,particularly those areas frequented by British tourists.I was on an Icelandair flight with a bunch of soccer hooligans(not kids by any means) and they were a sorry collection of besotted pigs-rude and crass.This particular crew was from Glasgow.I felt bad for the airline personnel because the Icelandair people are very courteous.The a**hole sitting next to me asked”Joe,where can we get good whisky in Boston?”(He struck up a conversation with me for some reason)-T told him to go to any bar in Southie and make sure they knew he and his friends were from the UK.
The people who hold their liquor better than anyone I’ve ever met are Cameroonians-I have friends from there who live in the Netherlands-they can consume enormous quantities of alcohol and never act rude.Sometimes they pitch over and pass out,but they don’t act like jerks.

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

Dude’s obviously never been by a college campus on a Thursday night, or a stadium parking lot at a football game.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
13 years ago

Rhody-you missed the point i think.There are places where people are drunk in large numbers all the time.Gallup,NM is probably the worst place for this in the US

Tim
Tim
13 years ago

Think Webb’s story also reflects how America is inaccurately perceived around the world through the violent media we export. Only when people actually come here and observe how we live do their pre-conceived notions of the wild wild west evaporate.

Mike
Mike
13 years ago

The unsoken truth “which dare not speak its name” is that the white suburbs of America are just as bereft of “stranger to stranger” violence as Europe.
It is America’s Third World cities which any sane white person fears to tread. Just ask the families of Jason Ferguson and Amy Shute if “diversity” is “our strength”.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

“I have never seen a group of drunk young people in the entire six years I have lived here.”
“Dude’s obviously never been by a college campus on a Thursday night, or a stadium parking lot at a football game.”
Dude’s obviously never been to Barrington.

Will
13 years ago

“No public drunkenness? I’ve got to take him for a tour of Providence in Rescue 1.”
While we in the ‘burbs might not have roving gangs of drunks causing a ruckus, I really have to sympathize with Michael on this one. Ever visit Providence after 1am or so in the area of Pine Street? I swear that’s where they all go!

michael
13 years ago

It can be a nuthouse. I’m still amazed at the number of homeless alcoholics wandering around the city.

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