Monday, February 27, 2006

Monday, Monday, can't trust that day

Another week has started, and STILL it's raining. Sunday has been a bit of a stormy day in the family, hope things will develop in a better way over the day. There are actually several things so, where to start, where to start.

Travels

From here until April, it seems, I'll be around a lot. This coming Friday I shall be again in Berlin, for less than 48 hours. Then, if nothing else happens, I should be in London between the 20th and the 26th of March. Finally, Paris between the 17th and 23rd April. There's also an hypothesis of going back to Saint Petersburg (how I love that city, for so many reasons) in July, but... well, all to be seen yet.

With London, where I'll be for the ELSA ICM (International Council Meeting), I will get a step closer to my project of seeing all the principal European capitals. The original project was to do it within my 30th Birthday, but as it came and passed, I was still missing London, Stockholm and Madrid. In the picture, the countries I've visited in Europe, while I have to admit I've yet to get out of the old continent. But there are so many things to see in Europe still...

Books

Yes, I did it again. Friday, as I expected, I didn't manage to open "The Singing Sword" and most of Saturday I hadn't time either. So it happened that I found myself on Saturday evening, around midnight, with the book next to me and, looking at it deep in the eyes, or pages, I said "OK, just the first chapter, just to see how it is". 4 hours and 230 pages later I finally went to sleep. With the 30 pages I managed to read yesterday I'm now more or less halfway through it and it's, again, not bad at all. Surprises, plot twists (even if I didn't so much like the very first, contained in the first pages, if you will read the book you will know what I mean) and a style that makes it a light and pleasing read. The colony is growing but experiencing the beginning of the problems that a failing administration brings with it. And an old enemy shows up again.

The Law and Order

Among the rest, there is a sentence that struck me in the book. One of the main characters (Caius Britannicus), describing the changes that the crumbling of the roman control and subsequent weakened police and justice system, says "Even among the normal people, the emphasis has moved from "Don't do it, or you shall be punished" to "Don't let yourself be caught in doing it".

It is another version of the "Broken Windows" theory (originally by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling) that Rudolph Giuliani used to describe the rationale of his "zero-tolerance" crime policy: "Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars."

In simpler words: if you let small crime be performed and have people believe that, no matter what, nothing shall be done, those small crimes will start to be performed routinely and the crime level will than escalate to the next higher level.

I find myself strongly agreeing with it (and after all, the success of Giuliani's policy in New york is undeniable), which is precisely why I get absolutely nuts when on TV such things as robberies in the tobacco-stores or bag-lifting cases (which are reported because the victim fell and was seriously injured or died) or car stealing are defined "micro-criminality" and reported in derogatory terms, giving a sense of "oh well, it doesn't really matter and nothing can be done anyway".

One of the (several) things that will probably cause the center-right coalition government losing the next election is precisely the fact they haven't done much at all, or at least nothing that is really perceived, regarding the "Law and Order" issues. Look at my city: beggars and Gypsies, usually busy with pickpocketing and bags-lifting, everywhere, rose-sellers literally pushing you to buy their stuff, side-street illegal vendors with their merchandise on the sidewalks making every street a third world bazaar, the number of "little" thievery cases raising so much that people feel it's pointless to go to the police anymore and litter that accumulates everywhere and the walls are everywhere covered with ugly graffiti, included in the most central and famous areas of the city.

Of course the fact that apparently 70% of the Roman citizens at the upcoming elections in April will vote again for the present mayor, who basically forfeited road maintenance (that are now simply to be ashamed of and with consequent higher number of incidents, especially among the scooters) and street control to organize the "White nights" and, now it seems, a movie festival says much about the mental state we are in. "Panem et Circenses" apparently is as true now as it was 20 centuries ago in the imperial Rome. Very sad.

Please, God, send us a Rudolph Giuliani for 10 years, we so much need that (and if you are that, have the real one become the next American president, if that's not too much to ask)...

1 comment:

Trixi said...

Talking about travels... Do you plan visiting Hungary sometime?