Yesterday, as I was leaving a parking space, I saw that my ticket had quite a bit of time left on it. (In Oakland, the parking meters issue a ticket valid for a certain time period (based on how much you put in).) Two cars over, a young woman was just starting to get out of her car, which she’d just parked. I went over and, standing at least eight feet away, I called out, “excuse me, would you like my parking ticket? I have quite a bit of time left on it.” As soon as the young woman heard my voice, without looking up, she moved to close her car door. Her immediate reaction was that she was about to be attacked. Then, when she saw me holding the ticket up, she changed, but the distrust and fear in the US is rampant.
Later that evening, I was watching the “news” on TV. The first story was about the trial getting ready to start for some young man accused of murder. Then there was another story along similar lines. Then there was a story about how BART (the local rapid transit system) riders in a certain area had been exposed to a very serious disease recently. It was revealed at the end that the disease was measles, and a rider some weeks ago had come down with it. This last item alone took up about a minute, which is a long time on the news, and the total must have been five minutes or so.
And we wonder why there is so much distrust in the United States – so much fear of others.
Incidentally, what’s interesting is that studies show that those who see crime and violence as the greatest problems tend to be exactly those who are least likely to be victims of it.