Wednesday, March 21, 2012
A Harsh Reality
Yesterday morning I walked downstairs and discovered that the morning news is filled with crazy and not just a little bit, a healthy "big gulp" sized American version of crazy: murder, quadruple murder, attempted murder and a dash of garden variety assault. It was so overwhelming to me that I actually said "this would never happen in China" while pouring my Trader Joe's Strawberry O's (delish).
I won't say I was totally out of the news reel loop while living in China. I was not totally in it either but I did work in a place that put a lot of news out there so if it concerned foreigners I thought at the very least I got a whiff of it at work and may have read about it on my phone while transiting via subway where the most disorderly thing that happened was someone ducking the turn-style (normal) or people bringing power tools on board (anticipated at rush hour times). This is not to say that there wasn't violent crime...there was, but much less of it because quite frankly the punishment was not 5 years with time off for good behavior...it was jail for life in the worst place you can imagine or death.
After nearly 3 years of living in a place that lots of Americans consider um, different...I can sort of see the silver lining of a society that doesn't allow guns and has harsh penalties for those convicted of crime. Is it a truly free society? No. Is it a society that is potentially more free psychologically because there is less violent crime? Possibly.
Sure there's no Trader Joe's in Shanghai and you are less likely to be the victim of a violent crime...tradeoffs abound.