Won’t You Be My Neighbor?


“Work out your own salvation with diligence.”
—from “Decontextualized Quotes of the Buddha”

You don’t see kids playing out in American cities anymore. There is a tense suspicion between adults. The sense of security produced by familiarity and orientation is dissolving as people disperse geographically. Who even knows their neighbors anymore?

People are surely justified in being afraid in a world of strangers. Who will be there to save you when the ape shit hits the fan?

The defense of an American community—as evidenced by the vigilant Times Square vendor or the citizens who restrained the Detroit-bound bomber—is frequently up to us. Those who would rely on an overbearing government for a security blanket show their own sense of impotence. 

Neighborhood Watchers can be busy-bodies, but may beat the cops to the rescue.

Gun rights advocates often suffer from a Rambo Complex, but I suspect that the only barrier between many middle-class homeowners and the ravenous hordes is a legitimately armed populace—at least in my neck of the woods.

300 million eyes are more watchful than 300 million cameras. 

Neighborhood social ties, citizen action groups, martial arts instructors, weapons training courses, listserv crimebeats—and yes, even that guy who stands on his front porch watching you like a hawk as you haul your groceries inside—are essential to an American populace that is prepared to take responsibility for its own well-being.  Who wouldn’t want old hawk-eyes watching the street when no one’s around?

The inevitable abuse of power by security agents (local and federal police, TSA employees, etc.), unconstitutional search and seizure policies, perpetual electronic surveillance, and the biometric realization of fundamentalist fantasies are a direct result of the knock-kneed sector of our society cuddling up to their big brother. One can’t see the danger with his or her face buried in a protector’s lap.

This is not to say that our society’s security forces are not responsible for the citizens’ safety—only that complacency and survival rarely run together in a crisis. If you trust your safety to the local police, shouldn’t you at least get to know them?

There is only one alternative to trembling dependency upon a draconian government: Come together with your community, and learn to take care of yourselves in every possible way. 

What could be a stronger fortress than neighbors who love each other as they love themselves?  Besides a long-range missile defense shield…

[Originally posted as a comment on disinfo.com, concerning Aaron Cynic’s article, “Our Fear of Vulnerability,” on Diatribe Media


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