Running From And Towards Death

Reihan Salam reviews Mark Kleiman's new book on crime:

46,000 Americans die every year on the highways. In contrast, 17,000 die from criminal violence....In some sense, the decision to avoid crime by fleeing cities in favor of auto-dependent suburbs is irrational: The move actually increases your chances of dying prematurely. That crude calculation ignores the angst and anxiety...No one wants to live in fear. And for any number of reasons, the fear of an impersonal auto collision can't match the fear of the indignity of being mugged, or for that matter being stabbed or shot dead. The millions of middle -class Americans who fled inner cities were fleeing this psychic turmoil, and it's hard not to sympathize with them. This fear also led to an explosion in the ownership of personal firearms and a climate of political and cultural polarization that is still with us.