I've seen the bumper stickers, and I'm sure you have as well - "Support your local police, they stand between you and crime" - and variations on that theme. Recently, I've started seeing another one "Troopers - Your Best Protection" - which sent me off on another tangent. (That's how I sometimes end up with these T-shirt designs: I see something, and it gives me pause to wonder about the "big picture" from a different perspective.) Americans today put an awful lot of emphasis on believing the various police departments are what they need to protect themselves from the criminal element in society. That emphasis has certainly caused the ranks of the police to swell, but has not necessarily reduced the crime rate in the country. We would be much better off looking out for ourselves and our neighbors, rather than being dependent on adding further police protection that may do little more than increase our tax burden. Studies have shown that neighborhoods that watch out for themselves have reduced crime rates. (For example, see Science News magazine, August 16, 1997, page 101.) When you stop and consider why that might happen, it really isn't a surprise: Most crimes are committed by scared individuals looking over their shoulder to be sure they aren't being seen - and all it would take to stop a crime is a shout from someone who caught them in the act.
I'm not saying the police don't serve a useful purpose: The point I'm trying to make is that we shouldn't think of them as the first line of defense against crime, but rather as an additional layer of protection. If you think about what you're doing, and what's going on around you, you'll have a much better chance to avoid becoming a statistic than if you go through your life with blinders up, believing the local police, the sheriff, troopers, or anyone else will protect you from your surroundings.
Back: YOUR BEST PROTECTION
Thinking is not only your best protection against crime, but against any untoward situation you might find yourself in. You'll have a much better chance of having a job tomorrow if you think about the work you do than if you don't - even if it seems like you're in a meaningless, trivial position: Think about the job itself, how it fits into the big picture - both where you work, and where your employer fits into the economy. If you pay attention and notice your work could be done by a robot or a young college graduate, it will give you time to find something else to do - but only if you think about finding a new job first. I'm sure I could spend days thinking up ways where thinking would protect you from landing in a position you don't like, but would that really help anyone but myself? No, it's something you have to do for yourself if you want the most benefit.
Think. It's your best protection...
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