Once upon a time, you felt as safe in your home as the gold resting in Fort Knox. You left the door open so your kids could come and go as they pleased, playing in the neighborhood with the other kids, or deep in the back woods surrounding your house. The only thing you had to worry about was a wild animal venturing into your living room or some neighbor’s kids raiding the icebox. Life was simple then . . .
The days of hanging your Remington Model 700 Bolt Action Rifle on the wall under that buck head from last season’s hunt are over. Gun safes, gun locks are standard operating procedure. Your front door has three locks on it, and now you’re spending more time with your kids at the range teaching them on how to survive then you are showing them how to flick your wrist using grand daddy’s new fly rod.
As a police officer on the front lines, I’ve seen the shift in the balance between good and evil, and it ain’t good. Today, people hold their kids a little closer and take their safety a lot more seriously. For good reason. With more tough economic times ahead and an unsecured border, the threat level will only increase. And so, like many law-abiding citizens, I lock my doors, protect my guns and remember the simple times I enjoyed as a child.
[Chris Fusaro’s a supervisor for road patrol and an adjunct instructor at the police academy. Please click here to follow Chris’ Tweets.]
I haven’t changed my behavior any, but that’s because I’ve been at condition yellow for about 35 straight years now. It’s a blessing of how I was raised (or a curse, depending on one’s point of view).
When I was a kid in the 70’s I roamed far and wide without a care in the world. Nine years old and walking to the public library then walking home after dark. Not a issue.
Today I don’t let my kids play outside without me or my wife outside with them. Hell, I’m a 240lb caveman and I wouldn’t walk from the library after dark without Mr. BondArms in my hip pocket.
The world is no longer a nice place. Maybe it never was and I’m just getting hip.
“The world is no longer a nice place. Maybe it never was and I’m just getting hip.”
I often wonder about that… My parents ans my Grandparents always said they grew up in a much simpler safer time….. and I always remind them they didn’t have Cable TV from around the world, satellite communication, or the internet.
Perhaps the world, and human nature, have always been consistent, and we are simply better informed now?
“Perhaps the world, and human nature, have always been consistent, and we are simply better informed now?”
Yes, human nature remains unchanged I think. As far as childhood being a simpler time I’d say it depends when your childhood was. In America the violent crime rate now is higher than the early 60s, but it’s lower than the 70’s and it’s much lower than in the 80’s.
It’s not exactly Afghanistan in most of the US. But because the media likes to sensationlize, you would think it was.
We as a nation are more aware. For better or worse.
When I was born in 1958, ther were just over 2 billion people on planet. Today there are 6.7 billion and counting. Add to that the satellite news and internet bringing all kinds of weird shit to your attention. It’s not the safe playground you and I grew up with.
Love the old Mattel advertisement.
Anyone have an idea what year it originated?
60’s. Don’t know the exact year.
I’m going to say 1961-62. I had one. The Thompson was fairly realistic in appearance as I recall. The shell was black plastic with painted woodgrain for the stocks.
I grew up up in The Bronx. I don’t remember being concerned about wild animals invading my living room, although one time there was a squirrel . . . . Well, that’s neither here nor there. The main thing is that we lived in something called a “neighborhood.” Even if people didn’t especially like their neighbors, they kept a close watch on their hood. Aside from petty crimes, there was no crime. Any criminal bent on doing really bad things in my old neighborhood would have been beaten to a pulp by about two hundred really pissed-off people with fists and boots and baseball bats. There were guns in the neightborhood, mostly deer rifles, .22s and the occasional WW2 handgun bringback, but they would have stayed in the closet. Who needed a gun to subdue a bad guy when you have 400 fists?
There’s one obvious reason why criminals seem to be winning. We, the good folks, don’t take care of each other any more. When we do, we’re called vigilantes. We used to be called neighbors.
“Who needed a gun to subdue a bad guy when you have 400 fists?”
That sounds like the tag-line to a particularly awesome kung-fu movie. 🙂
Now playing at a drive-in near you, “The 400 Fists of Fury.” I like it!
“There’s one obvious reason why criminals seem to be winning. We, the good folks, don’t take care of each other any more. When we do, we’re called vigilantes. We used to be called neighbors.”
Ralph, I’m stealing that one.
It’s not stealing since you have permission.
The US population doubled from 150 million people in 1950 to over 300 million today. Even if the percentage of bad people remained the same, the quantity would certainly be more noticeable.
Add in the affect of unsecure borders and generations of an entitlement mentality for so many and you have a mess. I don’t blame TV or a more informed population; I blame the atrophy of what used to be known as “work ethic”.
LOVE the ad. Imagine a toy company pitching a product like that in a simmilar fashion today. Peoples’ heads would explode.
“Peoples’ heads would explode.”
That’s reason enough right there. Lots of exploding heads. No more talking heads.
The world is no longer a friendly place due to on the mintue news reporting world wide (CNN, MSNBC, FOX ) when i was youg there were kidnapping…murders…etc we just did not hear about it because we did not have the media penetration as we have today also the world has doubled in size since the 60’s so that would be acceptable that there would be twice as many nuts out there just my humble opinion….
That is just the reason I don’t watch news on TV and don’t read newspapers. Most of my news (without sensationalism) comes from InstaPundit and other Internet sources I have found to be reliable.
I loved my plastic machine gun when I was a kid. I used to keep it on my extra pillow at night just in case I had a bad dream.
I slept with a loaded water gun in case I dreamed about a fire. It took my parents until I was twelve to figure out that I wasn’t wetting the bed.
I think throwing terms around like “good and evil” is dangerous…especially for a cop. Rarely has a criminal done something because it’s “evil”. Rather they usually do it because they’re desperate. That doesn’t excuse them from their crimes and what people do to protect themselves from those criminals but it helps put it in better perspective. Maybe if we worked on eliminating the situations that brought a person to that point of committing armed robbery or whatever then we could get a little closer to this storybook lifestyle the author is describing.
The other thing is I don’t think it was ever really “better”. It was different. Instead of home invasions by strangers you had unhappy marriages that included some sort of abuse. Women were second class citizens who weren’t allowed to leave their abusive situation because of the taboo of divorce. It was also a lot better to be white back then than any other hue. It still kind of is in some ways! And don’t forget WWII, Korea, Vietnam, etc. Lots of people were dying in other corners of the world. The danger is still there. It’s just taking different forms from generation to generation. In short I think some people are blinded by selective reminiscing.
Then there’s the fact that the media makes money off of scaring everyone…Bird Flu, sex offenders, gangs, etc. Maybe people are shell shocked from being stuck in the echo chamber of the 24 hour news cycle. Holding your child closer to you when in public isn’t necessarily based on reality since most kidnappings and molestations happen with people the child actually knows. Strangers statistically don’t run the streets looking for babies to snatch and eat.
I think people’s perception of their surroundings has changed over the generations more than their actual surroundings ever did.
It reminds me of my first BB gun. It finally wore out, so I cut the barrel down, removed the inner barrel and converted it into a sand, rock and dirt shotgun. It was dangerous but awesome. I was around 8 or 9. It topped my trash bag parachute that failed to work as I jumped from the top of a tree…I didn’t have much supervision.