Safety Obsessiveness in Sprawlville
I get some of my best feedback when I write and post about our society’s obsession with safety. So today’s Post-Dispatch article, about a new subdivision in Wentzville that is designed to a level of safety that Jodie Foster would have appreciated, is a gift to me — and to you, my gentle readers.
Several years ago, Slate suggested that instead of hanging the lawyers, we should hang the Realtors. Reading this article makes you feel the same urge — not that I haven’t always felt that way (with apologies to my friends who are Realtors). This new subdivision is so far beyond ludicrous as to make me think it’s a joke, but it ain’t. The agent in the story is just awful, with her constant fear mongering about kidnapping, when all they really have to worry about in Wentzville is mailbox baseball. (I would be highlighting some of the worst quotes, but we are having computer troubles here at the office. I am operating in safety mode and can’t cut and paste from other sources. It is very frustrating.)
The article gives a good description of why none of this is remotely necessary, but our nanny-state-lovin’ home purchasers don’t seem to mind paying more in order to worry less. Constant surveillance of your family, neighbors, strangers, workmen … sounds like heaven in modern suburbia. It is more than sad, though, because so many Americans think like this. It does not affect only them. When they vote for fear and surveillance, we get red-light cameras, ID cards to enter buildings, and children who can’t leave their parents’ view at 14. The eagerness of so many Americans to give up basic freedoms for safety both astounds and appalls me, and this new subdivision may be the most loathsome example yet.