A reader wrote to say nice things about my recent article The Mexican Country Mouse And The American City Mouse and to point out something I missed:
The "country mouse" piece was excellent, as usual, but, whoa, Nellie, you let the most outrageous—and revealing—statement by the Mexican woman who moved to Kentucky pass without comment: "The police control the streets."
The hell they do!
Rural Kentuckians control themselves. Indeed, rural [insert state demonym here] control themselves everywhere. The police don't have to do anything. Members of small-town (and suburban) police forces are notorious for getting in trouble themselves, with substances, their families, and occasionally the law, because their jobs are too boring for their personality type, which is similar to that of criminals in its attraction to risk. (One year, 90% of the infractions at the two-year state campus in tiny, isolated Canton, N.Y., were committed by the 50% of students magoring in Criminal Justice.)
But Mexicans assume the low crime rate is due to diligent police work. What a window into their mentality!!
It's not only immigrants who don't understand what things are like outside the big city. I wrote a while back, when Michael Bloomberg was making fun of Mayor Lou Barletta [“I testified before Congress and New York's a city of 8.3 million people. The guy who testified after me came from Hazleton, Pa., which is 30,000 people, and according to him, there has never been a crime committed in Hazleton, Pa., that wasn't committed by an undocumented.”] that
even as a fairly safe New Yorker, who doesn't have to ride the subway, for example, Bloomberg has lived all his life behind locked doors, in constant peril of crime, keeping a close eye out for people on the street who might attack him. I don't believe he has any concept of what small-town life might be like, except to mock it.
To give you a counter example, when Denny Hastert, who lives in Yorkville, Illinois, became Speaker of the House in 1999, his new security detail went to his home to install new, high security locks on the doors, they found that that there were no locks there, period. They had to install them from scratch.
There are a lot of homes in Kentucky with no locks on the door, but not in Los Angeles, New York, ...or Mexico City.