Monday, December 07, 2015

Civilization Trusts You

     You know what? I trust people. I have to -- and so do you.

      I have heard a lot of elitist nonsense from the anti-gun side, and a little from the pro gun side. And I get that the world is stuffed to the gills with yahoos; I've seen "People of Wal-Mart." I qualified for Mensa; I'm supposedly smarter than most of the folks I meet and I'm pretty sure that's so.

      But many of those "yahoos" have skills I lack. Some of them are just better people than I am. And the truth is, most people are all right. I've had cars conk out in bad neighborhoods and had three guys show up to push the thing to a gas station; I had a muffler fall almost off in a wealthy neighborhood, had to pull into the nearest driveway and wire it up out of the way, and the homeowner came out to see if everything was okay. The rich guy didn't run me off. The poor guys didn't rob me.

      You trust these people. You have to. You trust your next-door neighbor with natural gas and a charcoal grill. You trust his seventeen-year-old kid at the wheel of their car. You trust the utility workers to not zap you or poison your city water. You trust the Mormon down the block, with a couple of year's worth of food and who knows what else socked away in his crawl space. You trust the drivers of enormous tractor-trailer rigs on the highway, and the garbage man in his huge truck. You do so every day and you don't think about it much.

      And your neighbor with a gun or two, or twenty? You're trusting him, too, like it or not. The odds are hugely that he's not out to get you -- the firearms death rate (other than suicide) in the U.S. is one third of the automobile death rate. (Add firearm suicides in and the rates are within a tenth or two of being equal, a little over 10 per 100,000.)

      If you want a safer world, get to know the people around you. If you want less violence, make more friends. The world is full of people. Most of them are pretty much like you: they want to get along. We mostly hear about the crazy and the wicked -- but they are a tiny minority.


JayNola said...

Knowing the people around you is just good sense. But you know what they same about common sense. I know people who have lived in their houses for 10 years and never spoken to the guy next door. I've talked to their neighbors more than they have because I wanted to make sure. I wasn't blocking their driveway.

Paul Schwa said...

Most folks are good folks.

pigpen51 said...

two thumbs up to this. i am in florida this week. took a wrong turn and got sort of lost in a bad area. asked directions in a stop n rob type store. a young couple took me outside, looked up directions on their smartphone, explained them to us, and then told me about the cool animals showing up at Dunedin beach after dark if you shined a flashlight at the water.
The couple were about mid twenties, looked like the hippie types from my youth. couldn't have been a more extroverted young woman in all of florida. the guy seemed nice, kind of thrilled to be with with her, and i couldn't have been more impressed with them.
this was in Largo, and she told me, just talk to anyone on the street, everybody is friendly, and helpful. The young man was from my stomping grounds of MI originally.
I do think the good people far out number the bad. Good people don't make headlines.

Jim Dunmyer said...

During the discussions pro/con when our State had just passed a CCW law, some folks didn't want others to carry in a library. Didn't trust folks with a gun in their pocket; many still don't.

Yet, those same people think nothing of crossing a street at a crosswalk with a driver sitting there, engine running, XMSN in Drive. Trusting that the driver won't mash on the gas and run them over. If you asked them "do you trust that driver to not run you over?" they'd probably look at you like you were speaking Russian.

As you say, most people are Good.

RandyGC said...

I'm trying to remember a discussion in a work of fiction (Ringo? Kratman?) regarding the issues of different cultures understanding each other when one was "high societal trust" (paraphrasing), such as you describe, where we assume most people are not out to screw you, and will take prudent steps to avoid causing injury (physical, economic etc) to other members of society.

Then there are those with "low societal trust" where you assume anyone not of your family/tribe/clan what have you is actively going to screw you at any opportunity, and you have a duty to screw them, and nothing is done for strangers unless there is an obligation of some sort to do so.

Jim Dunmyer said...

I'm not sure that your scenario is fiction. It's well-known that societies with a high degree of trustworthiness and (relatively) low governmental corruption (IE: trustworthiness) are more advanced in all measures than the others.

RandyGC said...


I obviously wasn't clear. I wasn't stating the scenario is fiction, only that I somewhat recently read a good synopsis of the concept in a work of fiction.

pigpen51 said...

oops, I forgot, i am mensa material also. not a joiner. entry into college test 100% first ever. still just a common foundry foundry worker. don't judge a book by it's cover.

Anonymous said...

"I qualified for Mensa; I'm supposedly smarter than most of the folks I meet and I'm pretty sure that's so."

You as well?

It ended up causing more problems for me, once those results came back they started to treat me like I was some kind of alien.

That was the wrong move on their part, they should have challenged me more, instead I ended up bored and kinda tuning out school in general.

And that ended up being to *my* detriment.

That 147 number doesn't do a whole lotta good unless one knows how to focus it.

Just my experience...