Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Monday, September 22, 2014

More Causes for Heartbleed

Meet Wanda Coleman.  She and her granddaughter face imminent eviction from their public housing unit in New York City because Wanda's son is a drug offender (so go the article lead-ins).  Our hearts are now supposed to bleed for Wanda and those similarly situated.

This whole thing raises the following issues/questions, in no particular order of import:

Why is it that public housing projects in America tend to be disproportionate in their incidences of violent crime?  According to the leftist (far left and even, to an extent, near left) narrative, poverty drives these people to commit crimes, and giving them money will cure the problem.  I have trouble buying into that theory, however.  For one thing, there are plenty of people who are truly poor, but who can behave themselves and not commit crimes.  Including lots of them in public housing projects.

And why is it that in some societies, the haves and have-nots can be integrated far better than in America?  In my son's town in Israel, for example, one of the wealthiest families in his neighborhood lives on the same street within 50 meters of many of the poorest.  The neighborhood is mostly crime-free (though not 100%), safe to walk at all hours of the night (though most do not go it alone in the wee hours of the morning).  Ditto for my wife's sister's neighborhood in another city in Israel.  There are just too many exemplars for me to buy into the poverty-causes-crime theory.

As for Wanda, she has lived in the housing project for 25 years.  Okay, so she is in ill health, and may have no choice.  But if you aren't the owner of the property, you need to abide by the owner's rules if you want to live there.  And in Wanda's case, the owner is the New York City Housing Authority, which has promulgated rules that certain criminals, including and especially druggies, may not enter the premises.  Wanda's son is one of those criminals.  But Wanda wants things both ways.  She wants to bring her son onto the premises (her maternal instincts are understandable), but she wants to be exempt from the no-criminal rule.

But our hearts are supposed to bleed for Wanda.

Mine does not.  The only way to deal with the druggies is through a "tough love" approach.  I am doing it now with a nephew of mine, and I do understand how painful it is.  But the laying down of rules, and the enforcement of those rules, is the only hope for the druggies (and even then, their odds are not the greatest).

Yes, I do feel a reflex to empathize with Wanda.  But then again, why should it be my responsibility if she fails to take on hers?

And back to the public housing project thread:  Where is Wanda's incentive to be concerned with the viability of the public housing project in which she lives?  On account of reasons that may or may not be her fault, she does not have the wherewithal to acquire an ownership interest in the real property that is her home.  Home ownership by the residents is one of the best impediments to crime-ridden neighborhoods.  Those who have to go home to the neighborhood every evening have greater incentive to keep the crime down than do absentee landlords, who may be negatively impacted by crimes against property, but not nearly as much as by crimes against persons other than themselves and their families.

The next best thing is a regime where even those without equity in their homes can take an interest in the neighborhood's well-being.  This manifests itself in many forms, including but not limited to residential patrols, tenants' organizations, and, in the case of Wanda, a house rule that no druggies may enter the premises.  But Wanda has failed to recognize adherence to that rule as being in her self-interest.  This is why she is about to be evicted.

The underlying problem is a culture of entitlement.

My heart is not hemorrhaging over Wanda.  Is yours?

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