Time to Play it Safe

broken window in a door
This door was easy to break into.

Here’s a quote from an article on Fox 5 in New York about a man attacked by a mob while on a subway:

NEW YORK – The NYPD is searching for five suspects who attacked a 47-year-old man during a robbery inside a subway station in Brooklyn.

The mob got into an argument with the victim at about 3:30 a.m. on May 18 in the Rockaway Parkway station. The dispute escalated and the suspects punched and kicked the victim in the head and all over his body, said New York City police.

A video showed the fight spilling onto the subway platform with the victim trying to defend himself as the group attacked.

The suspects took the man’s bag containing jewelry worth about $7,550 and fled southbound on Rockaway Parkway.

Here are my immediate thoughts:

  1. Why was he on the Subway at 3:30 a.m.?
  2. If he had $7,550 worth of jewelry, couldn’t he afford to take an Uber or find a cab?
  3. What’s really going on here? I don’t believe we have all the facts.

Here’s an outtake from an article about the shootings in Chicago last weekend:

A man was shot to death early Sunday while leaving his car in the city’s Little Italy neighborhood on the Near West Side. The man, 32, was leaving his car in the 1300-block of West Roosevelt Road about 4:30 a.m. when he was shot twice in the chest, police said. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he later died, police said.

Again, I have to ask, why was he out at 4:30 a.m.? Are we supposed to believe he was on his way to work?

Avoid Places where Trouble Happens

It’s good to avoid trouble, but it is even better to avoid places where trouble happens. That used to mean dive bars, whorehouses, sleazy strip clubs, and corners in drug-riddled neighborhoods. These days, the list is much larger. It may even include your local convenience store, laundromat, and nightclub. The later it gets, the more dangers in terms of crime.

If you know a cop who works in your area, ask them what places in your area you should avoid after 9 p.m. The list will probably surprise you.

“But I grew up near there,” you’ll think when he or she names off a few places. Sure, but that was years ago. Neighborhoods change. Society changes. And when the sun goes down, the people who hang out in an area change. You can reduce your chance of being killed by being home before 10 p.m.

Growing up, I ran around the neighborhood for a mile or two in each direction and as long as I was home by 6 for dinner, no one worried. These days, you can’t let your kid out of your sight in that neighborhood and most others. It’s not just gangs, drive-bys, and assaults you have to worry about, it’s kidnappers and traffickers.

A friend of mine’s daughter and boyfriend got involved in “an altercation” in a fast-food restaurant parking lot at 2:30 a.m. after a college basketball game. The police had to be called. Apparently, they were wearing the wrong team colors. I asked, “what was she doing out at 2:30 a.m.?” Her father insisted, “She had every right to be there.” I agree, she had the right to be there, but it would have been smarter to be at home in bed. When there are two of you and ten of them, being legally correct carries little weight. I don’t want my tomb stone to say “He had every right to be there.”

Sometimes the Police Just Shrug

There’s a liberal city I know of where vehicles with Trump bumper stickers would get keyed, have their tires slashed, or even get broken into (probably by people looking for guns). Call the cops and they just shrug, no doubt thinking it wouldn’t have happened if you drove a Prius and had a “COEXIST” bumper sticker. Their liberal bosses don’t care if some Trump voters get harassed, so the cops don’t care. They think you should have known better, and they are right. Knowing when you are in enemy territory should be part of your situational awareness. Plus, the gray man doesn’t have bumper stickers.

How many times do you think police take a statement that goes a little like this: “Well, I was just hanging out on the corner with the boys at about 2 a.m. Next thing I knew, I heard shots and my leg gave out.”

I bet they shrug and think, “If you’d been home in bed, you wouldn’t limp for the rest of your life.” In their mind, hanging out on a corner in the hood at an hour when “decent people” would be home in bed means you are not a decent person and may well have deserved to get shot. They will find the car the shooters used abandoned and maybe set on fire two miles away. There will be no arrests, in part because no one will cooperate with the police. The shooting will be just another statistic. Even when a young child is killed, it’s only in the news for a day or two.

It’s not that the police don’t care. They’ve given up because they see the revolving-door justice system is growing worse and being a cop is more thankless and dangerous than ever before. You are on your own.

Then and Now

When I lived in New York City in the 1990s, my apartment was robbed once, my car was broken into three times, a guy I worked with walked around a corner and was cold-cocked by someone who not only knocked him out and broke his nose but then robbed him, and skanky prostitutes would offer to give you blow jobs while you waited in traffic at the Holland Tunnel. What did I do? I moved out of the city.

Starting over in a new place was refreshing. We didn’t realize how bad things were until we got out and could look back at it. By all accounts, it’s far worse now.

I didn’t move directly to the country, but we got there eventually. When we look around, my wife and I wish we had moved here ten years ago.

Prepping is important, but it is also important to live somewhere you are unlikely to be assaulted, where there is no random gunfire and stray bullets, and where the police don’t treat everyone like a suspect.

Good Advice

When my daughter started dating, I told her something like this, “If you meet a guy in a bar, he’s probably an alcoholic. If you meet a guy who was in jail, he’ll probably end up back in there. If you date a guy who’s been in rehab for abusing painkillers, don’t be surprised if he steals from you, crashes your car, and overdoses on your couch.” After dating a guy she met in a bar long enough to see the truth in these words, she took my advice.

The corollary is, if you live in a big city, you will face big-city problems like homeless people harassing you and peeing on your stoop, rampant drug use leaving needles and condom in the park, car jackings, smash and grab robberies, and getting caught in a crossfire between two gangs. Take a look at your environment. Are they shooting mom’s pushing their kids in strollers? Do you feel safe?

I guess you could summarize this post like this:

  • Don’t do stupid stuff.
  • Don’t hang out with stupid people.
  • Spend as little time as possible in places that attract trouble.
  • If you live in a dangerous place, move.
  • Make your home as safe as possible and spend time there with people you love and admire.