And, of course, you probably notice something else: Mrs. Cunningham isn’t home. In other words, there is no capable guardian standing in your way.
Property crimes have not increased dramatically in the last 50 years because of some magic increase in the number of evil people who are motivated to commit crimes like burglary. The motivated offenders have always been there. It’s just easier today to do what they have always wanted to do.
The story is no different with regard to violent crime. Today, we live in a society that is more densely populated than it was fifty years ago. Furthermore, the percentage of people living in urban as opposed to rural areas has dramatically increased. That means the motivated rapist (or murderer or mugger) has access to more suitable targets than ever before.
And, needless to say, the fact that people delay marriage and frequent bars and shopping malls in greater number means they are in greater peril. While the number of suitable targets has been rising, capable guardians have been disappearing.
Our nation’s colleges have long been a safe haven for criminals because they are areas with a heavy concentration of suitable targets for violent crime. The campuses keep growing as a larger percentage of the population now sees the necessity of getting a college education. And the freshmen classes who are getting away from the guardianship of mom and dad for the first time are classes mostly comprised of young women.
The University of Utah is one of a minority of schools that realizes there is one way to turn suitable targets into unsuitable targets for violence: Let them carry guns on campus. And other schools like The University of South Carolina and other colleges in that state may soon follow suit.
City College of San Francisco, on the other hand, is taking a different approach. They not only plan to keep their students unarmed but also their campus police. In fact, the school recently lost a police chief who resigned in frustration after someone stormed the campus threatening to kill innocent students. The man was arrested but only after campus police called in reinforcements from the City of San Francisco.
City College of San Francisco has every right to expend time and resources on teaching and research activity that seeks to understand and reduce the motivation of those who seek to harm us. They may ask the question “why do killers hate us?” They may even seek to sooth the killer’s inner child.
But the motivation to harm others can never be extinguished from the depths of the human soul. One can only keep the harmful at a safe distance with a loaded gun.