December 02, 2004

The Horror Next Door

IN CATCHING UP on our blog reading, we were shocked to learn that one of Perry de Havilland's neighbors in Chelsea, London, was recently murdered in a home-invasion burglary. John Monckton's wife, Homeyra, was badly injured in the attack as well.

Mr de Havilland is understandably infuriated with the British authorities, given the United Kingdom's unjust policies for dealing with crime. He writes:

Of course the state forbids people like the Moncktons from owning the means to defend themselves. And the CCTV cameras on our street? I cannot tell you how much better they must make everyone around here feel. The police who have closed off my street are festooned with all manner of weapons and body armour but given that their actual role in modern Britain is little more than clearing up the mess after another disarmed householder has been butchered, perhaps waterproof coveralls and mops would be more suitable equipment for our tax funded 'guardians.'

Bitter? You bet. The world is full of predators and we are required to face them disarmed and as much in fear of the law as the criminal who attack us.

We would ask readers to keep the Monckton family in their thoughts and prayers, and we are deeply sorry for the pain they and their friends are going through.

One truly horrible aspect of this story, from our viewpoint here in New Hampshire, is that this is not the first instance of gruesome criminality which has affected bloggers or those close to them.

A few months back, Chavezista thugs in Caracas shot the mother of an acquaintance, with whom we once worked. And just last month, Wayne Wides in South Africa wrote about a newly-married friend of his who, along with his wife, was shot during a home invasion. (We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers as well, and wish them a speedy recovery).

Mr Wides writes:

One of the implications of having one's friend shot at home is that it does make you more aware of the crime locally. But while it's saddening to hear him say ''it's his own fault' and that it was 'because he's been too casual in the garden in the past' (for goodness sake man, you have barbed wire on seven foot walls, a motion sensor security system and it's your garden), it's a reminder of the need for a rethink on the strategy of crime and how we've come to accept it as normal.

We have to admit we think of crime as "normal," by which we mean to say we have a preventive mindset towards it. For instance, we always -- always -- lock our car, and we don't answer the door if we don't know who it is, and we keep an eye to being well aware of our surroundings. But these are lessons we learned in rougher places than our current city of residence, which has crime rates that are nothing compared to our hometown of Kalamazoo, Mich.

Here in Manchester, N.H., we have roughly 20 pc of the violent crime and half the property crime which old K'zoo experiences. Some of the differences are downright shocking: for instance, Manchester's rate for aggravated assaults is roughly 10 pc that of the Celery City. This despite the fact that Manchester is practically a suburb of Boston.

There are undoubtedly many reasons why Manchester is a safe city, but we suspect one big reason is that the authorities here do not consider crime "normal." For once that happens, and the broken windows start appearing and minor crimes go ignored, that's when the slippery slope to chaos begins.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at December 2, 2004 09:14 PM | TrackBack