On the Free Range Kids blog they have a category described as “worst first thinking”. Essentially, it’s the idea that when looking at a whole range of possible outcomes, the first that is considered is the worst even if it is the most unlikely.
I was put in mind of this when Mr. Waffle went to photograph traffic chaos at the local school at 9 in the morning. The residents’ association is appealing to the council for a better traffic management plan [don’t mock, someday you too will be in your 40s and a stalwart of the local residents’ association]. He was approached by a man wearing a fluorescent jacket of power wanting to know why he was taking photographs of the children. When Mr. Waffle was able to re-assure him that he was taking photos of the traffic [and, obviously enough, had photographic evidence to prove it], the man was very pleasant and obliging, explaining the measures which the school had taken to address the issues. But it did strike me that there was a certain amount of paranoia in evidence. The principal in my children’s own school though in many ways terrific also has a slight streak of paranoia about this. The school yard is visible from the windows of a nearby hotel and the children are told not to go too near the hotel side of the yard lest they be photographed by the hotel guests. This seems an extremely unlikely contingency to me.
In a sort of related issue, a colleague of mine lives in one of Dublin’s more affluent suburbs and there have been a number of burglaries in her estate. Most recently a widow who lives across the road met the burglar who was doing the house next door and he threatened her with a gun. I appreciate that this is terrifying but I am not sure that the solution, as suggested by my colleague is a good one. She is encouraging the widow not to answer the door without checking who it is first, ideally by intercom. The neighbours are also going to look at putting gates on the estate. The guards have advised that gated estates get burgled less. I suppose this may be true but I am not sure that it is so good for social cohesion to bar admittance in this way.
That’s enough about the end of society for one evening.