April 08, 2008
The aberration routine
In the third attack on or near SEPTA in Center City in 10 days, three men wearing black wigs assaulted and robbed a 30-year-old Southwest Philadelphia man riding the Market-Frankford El late Friday.Aberrations? That's what Maloney said after the first and second attacks.
And now it's the third attack, and as if he's reading from a prepared script, Maloney is calling it an aberration again.
If I may liberally recontexualize Senator Dirksen's famous fake but accurate quote, an aberration here, an aberration there, and pretty soon we're talking about a genuinely aberrational pattern!
"You can have three cops in one area. The kids will keep moving until they get to a spot where there isn't a cop and just assault the next person who comes by," said SEPTA Public Safety Director Jim Jordan.The latest attack (which occurred on Friday) not only made it into today's Inquirer in a front page piece, but SEPTA seems to have backed away from the earlier contention that the attacks were "aberrations."
Crime data show that serious crime on SEPTA property is up 81 percent between 2004 and 2007. Jim Jordan, head of public safety for SEPTA, said the vast majority of complaints concern teenagers using the system after school.Hmm... Does that mean aberrations are up 81 percent?
While security has been beefed up, the SEPTA spokesman seems to think that this is just a blip, and that in the summer, the attacks will die down:
"Schoolkids can be very disruptive and appear very threatening," Jordan said, adding that there are fewer problems in the summer when there are fewer teens going to school. "A major concern for us is people feeling safe."Feeling safe is more important than being safe, because if people don't feel safe, they might drive instead of using public transportation. Or worse yet, they might look for employment outside of Philadelphia, in places where they don't have to fear being attacked by "the children."
Yesterday's move follows three recent attacks in or near subway stations, including the March 26 death of Sean Patrick Conroy, 36, a Starbucks manager in Center City. He was beaten and kicked on the Market-Frankford subway concourse at 13th and Market Streets and suffered a fatal asthma attack during the assault.Considering that the transit police can't really protect anyone or prevent crime, I think the more citizens carry concealed, the better. It might take a couple of highly publicized self defense incidents to send a message to the "children."
What kind of children rampage in stations and attack commuters, anyway? The kind who attack their teachers and break their jaws and their necks, perhaps?
Hey, this isn't just my idle thought; that's what the Philadelphia "children" were doing to their teachers just one year ago.
I'm thinking that a common factor might be Philadelphia's education aberration.
(Or maybe the kids have just decided to treat commuters like teachers. I wish these aberrations didn't have to go mainstream.)
Very nearly all the violence that plagues, rather than protects, society is the work of young males between the ages of fourteen and thirty. A substantial amount of the violence that protects rather than plagues society is performed by other members of the same group. The reasons for this predisposition are generally rooted in biology, which is to say that they are not going anywhere, in spite of the current fashion that suggests doping half the young with Ritalin.The problem with so many of the "boot camp" style approaches is that the people who are sent to them are not necessarily willing to make the commitment it takes to go from predator to protector, and it is folly to pretend that they are. (Although the circumstances are different, it's a bit like trying to force an alcoholic or addict into "recovery.") I don't think these approaches will work unless and until the individual decides for himself that he wants to make the change. Only at that point can the "dangerous old men" in the protector class really help.
You can lead a dangerous young predator to a dangerous old protector, but you cannot make him think.
posted by Eric on 04.08.08 at 07:29 AM
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