Thursday, November 16, 2017

j'ever notice...

...Young single men and women will move to a new town for work or school and go on Craigslist or whatever to find a roommate, find one of the opposite sex, and make plans they swear up and down will be platonic as if they honestly believe it (or maybe it’s a friends with occasional benefits thing; I’m not sure how the younger generations rationalize such things these days)…

…but then when they talk about sources of angst in their lives, the men are like “I’m afraid a woman will make fun of me” and the women are like “I’m afraid a man will kill me?”


Not to trivialize violence and murder, and not to blame the victim—and not to even talk about how or if potential victims could or should protect themselves, and not to deny the asymmetry in what men and women fear from each other, but:
  1. If your first thought whenever you meet someone is “I wonder if he’s going to kill me,” your biggest problem probably is not the potential violence of that person.  Your biggest problem is probably much more immediate and compelling, like the actual death threats you have already received that, yes, compelled you to consider the question so promptly; or your pathological distrust of all men, most of whom (let’s not trivialize this with a “don’t say ‘not all men’” counterrebuttal, shall we?) are not in fact prone to whatever flavor of violence you’re worrying about.  Sure, men are more violent than women, in terms of quantity and severity of injuries (not counting the woman who think it's okay to throw shoes at her beau whenever she's angry at him, on the grounds that her fists are small and his counterarguments are sound), but killing is rarely at the top of the list of intentions.
  2. You don’t get to willingly enter living arrangements with complete strangers and then claim victim status just on principle.
I mean, not for nothing, but you can’t shoot yourself and then blame society for making you a victim of gun violence.

It’s awful that bad things happen like you talk about, but honestly:  what were you thinking?  “that’s not fair” and “you don’t understand” and “I’m sick of hearing that” aren’t answers.

This is why you hear more about how potential victims can avoid becoming actual victims, and less about how bad men can be less bad.  It’s not an either-or zero-sum game.  There are already laws and police and punishments that are supposed to limit that kind of behavior—setting aside the sufficiency or effectiveness of such measures for the time being--but not a trivial amount of that is to stop criminals from taking advantage of the people who not simply cannot but will not learn to take measures to avoid becoming a victim.

A lot of that is earmarked by soliloquies that start with “I should be able to….”  Well, yeah, you should, in a perfect world, and maybe even in a possible world, but it's not this world and we all need to learn to live in it…and sometimes that means learning to avoid criminal behavior and sometimes that means learning not to commit criminal behavior.

I repeat:  it’s not either-or, it’s not zero-sum.