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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reverse Gentrification and Safety Awareness

I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Smoke Signals, and The Hermit was talking about how Atlanta has become a festering boil on the buttocks of Georgia. It was similar in sentiment to a post I was reading yesterday about the same things happening in New York State.

Gentrification is the process whereby people with money identify a section of a city that has "promise" and start buying up the real estate.  It eventually changes the character of the area and sometimes forces out the "old timers".   Still, money came into the area, and raised the quality of life and living standards.

The reverse of that is when an area "has it good" and the politicians decide that it is time to raise the quality of life and living standards of the poor in the area.  It is done under the umbrella of "Social Justice" or "Economic Equality".  Unlike gentrification - which is a free choice of people to invest into a real estate investment - in the eyes of the people that are heavily taxed by the government choices, this is nothing short of theft.

The people with the money leave for greener pastures, and the area falls into despair.  The result is an increasing pattern of assaults, drugs or other crimes, and the local PD and politicians either can't or won't stop the criminal encroachment.    The article about New York had a right-to-the-point solution -
The solution to getting out of this cycle of doom is simple – stop using the wealthy to fund bloated public employees’ pensions, politicians’ salaries, welfare, and all of the myriad largesse of city government. When people don’t get what they want with the vote, they vote with their feet – and the moneyed are voting to not live in metropolises where their precious pennies are appropriated to provide filthy lucre for the undeserving.

Some folks can't or won't move.  I can absolutely respect that.  Some choose to "stick it out" and fight to bring back their neighborhoods and cities.

That's great, but if this is your plan, you must improve your safety awareness and recognize that the likelihood of having to defend yourself is significantly increased.

I recently did an Advanced Pistol session for a man whose profession requires him to carry a handgun.  He is a black male in his late 50's.  His personal life often has him traveling through crime-ridden and gang-infested Oakland and Richmond.  He does not possess a Concealed Carry permit while he is not working.

Without getting into specifics, he has ensured he has the ability to protect himself while traveling through these areas.  It has nothing to do with race, economics or political correctness.

It's all about self-preservation.  His level of safety awareness is on DefCon 1.

We Californians need to all raise our level of safety awareness, regardless of where we live.  It has been relatively lightly reported, but (not shockingly) the "social safety net" is beginning to rip.  We are out of money as a state, and we are starting to see flashes of what is likely to become more common in our very near future.
  • A group of truckers recently held a non-violent protest about an emission standards ruling by the California Air Resources Board that will go into effect on January 1st.  The state had promised to give the truckers money to retrofit their trucks.  Then the money ran out, and 1,000 truckers that service the Port of Oakland will not be able to make a living in less than 2 weeks.  Any bets on what will happen if the state is unable to dig up some money for these truckers.  (Heads up to the Ports of SF, LA and Long Beach).

Pay attention America:  Your state could be next.

Accept The Challenge

More now than ever, we all need to, "keep our head on a swivel" - being aware of our surroundings.  Perhaps more importantly, we need to be prepared for spontaneous violent events.

What would you do if you were strolling down the streets in Berkeley when a mob with burning torches suddenly crossed your path?  The idea of this happening in the very heart of the peace movement is inconceivable to many people, yet it just happened.

Pay attention to the news.  While in your car, don't listen to your regular music station, listen to the news station.  Learn to recognize potential hot spots.  For instance, the trial of an Oakland BART police officer will start early next year.  The trial has been moved to the LA area.  If it has an outcome of anything short of "Guilty as Charged", there will be massive riots at least in Oakland, and perhaps across the state.

There will likely be riots even with a guilty verdict.  Don't be in a vulnerable location when it is announced.

Pay attention.  Have a plan to evade trouble.  If all else fails, be prepared to defend yourself.

Copyright 2009 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

1 comment:

Jack from 90210 said...

An excellent read. And your prediction on the Oakland riots proved true.
I do regret, however, that in 15-20 years, due to the economic crisis and illegal immigrant crisis that upscale California living will be only a remnant of a bygone era.