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An Australian visits North America


I have the good fortune to work with Australians from time to time. They’re uniformly gregarious, funny and upbeat. It must be something in the water there, or a small gene pool where happiness is a recessive trait. Anyway, they are always nice people.

This week I got to work with one of them, to have dinner with him, and to drive him around. He had never been to North America. His enthusiasm was infectious.

He asked a hotel concierge for directions to a train station. She said there were two stations, one close and one far away. The faraway one was, “um, nicer,” she said.

Later he asked me why she said that. I told him it meant that the closer train station was in a bad neighborhood where it was unsafe for people of his skin color. He asked me why she hadn’t just said that. I replied the the pervasive culture of political correctness in large decaying cities like this one means that she could lose her job if she spoke too plainly and someone complained about it.

We got on to the topic of crime and how to deal with it. I said it was quite simple – be aware of your surroundings, carry deadlier weapons than the people around you, and don’t hesitate to use them.

He was taken aback. I had forgotten that he was Australian, and the poor things aren’t allowed to have weapons. It WAS a prison colony, after all. Old habits die hard.

He asked many questions about weapons, logistics surrounding the acquisition and use of weapons, and the law on self-defense. He just couldn’t get his head around the idea that it’s more efficient and practical for citizens to defend themselves from criminals than it is for them to wait for the police to arrive to protect them from said criminals, who probably have robbed, raped and killed said citizens while they were waiting for the police.

He told me a bit about crime in Melbourne. It turns out they have quite a lively criminal community, especially in the assault and rape departments. The only defense citizens have is to run, scream, or both. I felt badly for him.

But then, it IS a prison colony, after all.

He is enjoying his stay in North America. I don’t think he wants to go back. I can’t blame him.

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