Risk Management

23 08 2010

There’s no such thing as a risk-free life. Everything you do has some amount of risk involved. Most people handle these risks without a great deal of conscious input, and that’s a favorable statement on how stable and safe our day-to-day environment is (speaking only in broad generalities about our civilization as a whole). Since we are unlikely to suffer hardship of any sort in the event we fail to properly manage our daily risk, we have grown inured to the possibility of the worst-case scenario.

But that’s no excuse for stacking the odds against yourself.

Case in point, the picture above. Given the current economic conditions in the world in general and the US in particular, it seems to me to be just a little bit stupid to advertise the number of people in your family, roughly what age and gender they are, and their names (or nicknames). Add that to the other information an observant Bad Guy can glean from your vehicle, and you might as well publish your work/school schedules, alarm codes, and how much loot you have lying around the house.

A lot of cars with these idiotic stickers also have bumper stickers. Bumper stickers which proclaim which school your child attends, whether or not the family attends a church, what the mother/father do for a living (especially for military families), whether or not they’re likely to have guns in the home, and whether or not the family has pets- often including the breed of animal. A casual stroll down any street here in the Shallow South can deliver reams of information about the lives and habits of a surprisingly large number of households- all without leaving the sidewalks or talking to anyone.

When did cars become rolling billboards advertising the minutiae of our lives? I use my car to drive to and from work, and for shopping on the weekends. I have no bumper stickers or ridiculous stick figures in my windows. I drive a Buick medicare sled because it is roomy, comfortable, fuel efficient, and paid for. Since I own a house, my next vehicle will be a small pick-up. This is not out of a sense that the vehicle will make a statement about me, I’ll be getting a pick-up to haul stuff to and from the house. I don’t feel the need to advertise my family status, religious affiliation, work history, or chosen vacation spots on my car. After seeing how much one can learn from the rear bumpers and windows of so many cars, I wouldn’t do so if even I were so inclined.

I live in a pretty nice neighborhood. It’s quiet, full of older families who all know each other, and every third house seems to have a dog. Travel a few blocks in any direction and it’s a different story. There’s a 7-11 about 6 blocks from here that gets knocked over at least once a month. A few blocks in the other direction is ground zero for police sirens every night, with occasional gunfire on the weekends. Off in another direction there’s a run-down industrial park surrounded by a bunch of seedy apartments. Even in a relatively safe neighborhood like mine, there’s bound to be a few ne’erdowells wandering through from time to time. Why let potential criminals know your habits and vulnerabilities?

Never mind. I just figured out the answer: The smug assumption that “it won’t happen to me“, which is so prevalent among the fat, dumb, and happy.

If to be simple, a people must be free from care, then simple they will be. Yet I begrudge it them not.

Sweet eructating Cthulhu! I’m living in the Shire!

Current status: Bemused

Current music: Wounded, Old, and Treacherous by Jethro Tull

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One response

23 08 2010
paschsaxiom

I’ve found that the cars with those stickers so proudly emblazoned tend to be driven by jackasses that swerve and fail to indicate. I think these stickers, and others (locally it’s Frangipani and “Unit” ones) serve no other purpose than providing me with the knowledge of which cars I should be watching out for on the highway.

That and they’re just so bloody ugly that they are usually a fair representation of the kind of mouth breathers that are within.

What possesses people to pay money for those things… I just don’t know.

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