Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bad Behaviour?

Miss Moggs reporting here

I have been in the US recently. I was there for a few weeks this time. I have quite a broad experience of the place.

This trip reminded me of something I have noticed before and I thought I would post on it. A contrast that when back in the UK I tend to get re-acclimatised and forget about it, like a fish not noticing the water it swims in.

I guess the post may prompt some disagreement, so I have my safety hat on ^_^.

Despite all the hype and looking down UK noses about US murder rates and the ready availability of guns in the US. I find I feel safer in the US than I do in the UK. Now you might argue that I am simply not familiar with, and able to spot the dangers, but I figure I do have a good enough experience to do so.

I think much of the difference is in the societies in the two places. It is easiest to give illustrations.

In the US a poor family came into a fast food restaurant for breakfast. The children behaved well the parents corrected their children’s behaviour. They were civilised a pleasure to share the place with.

A direct equivalent in the UK might, from experience, probably allow their children to behave as they pleased unchecked (except possibly by shouted swearing and threats) and irritate anyone else present. If anyone asked them to control their children that person would be likely to get abuse or worse.

Or maybe a large gathering with many different sorts from different backgrounds. You can pick out groups and individuals in a US crowd that are perfectly well behaved, even when drinking, that in an equivalent UK crowd you just know would be trouble.

Or the difference in the crowd at an American football game, family oriented and happy. Passing money, bottles of beer and hot dogs back and forth down the rows as compared to an English football crowd and the atmosphere it creates, how some of its members behave.

I don’t know if it is related to the availability of firearms in the US, or nothing to do with it at all. They do say ‘An armed society is a polite society’.

I do feel that people are generally more open, polite and helpful to each other in the US. That they behave better and with more restraint. Less truculence and aggression, more self control, more civilised.

Is there something that has gone wrong with British society? Did it get broken somehow? I think it probably might not have been this way 50 years ago.

Moggs ducks and runs for cover…

12 comments:

Shades said...

You are right.

Many reasons, but the scrotes can get away with it in Britain due to woolly liberalism.

CherryPie said...

I think Shades has the right answer there!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I don't know enough about the US to be able to judge, but I think you are spot-on about the UK!

Love Bears All Things said...

As you know, I have been living in the Memphis, Tennessee area for the past 5 years. This city is reported to be one of the cities with highest crime rate. I think most of the crime there is within one ethnic group. We recently watched a Cops program where the Sherrif department in our area went out on drug raids. There seems to be a lot of this going on in the city proper. I think that is where the crime statistic comes from. We lived in a suburb and found it very family oriented and safe.
We Americans do not as a rule walk around with guns on our person. We do not as a rule go into heavy crime ridden neighborhoods.
We love our country and for the most part are courteous and friendly to strangers.
Thanks for the compliment.
Mama Bear

Dr.John said...

Thank you for saying something nice about the United States. Our media spend so much time lifting up the bad things one forgets there are some good things.
Thank you ever so much.

Vic Grace said...

I don't know about the comparisons between UK and US but it seems people, even here in Canada, are getting more aggressive and surly.

My take on the gun control is it is a waste of money. What criminal is going to register their guns. There seems to be more murders now than when there wasn't any gun control.

jmb said...

Interesting contrast between the two countries Miss Moggs. I have never felt unsafe in the USA when I have visited as I do at least annually, not even in New York. Not that bad things don't happen because they do but one is not on the constant lookout for them, just taking the usual precautions.

I guess things have changed quite a bit since I lived in London, all those many years ago. It doesn't make me want to visit anymore which is a great shame because it is a beautiful country, full of the wonderful history I learned about in school.

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Well, Thank you for all your constructive comments. I had expected to get my head bitten off (maybe I still will), but I guess maybe I struck a chord.

I don’t want to be mean or unfair about the UK, but I do have a sense you need to have your ‘radar’ constantly scanning for potential violent situations brewing in otherwise everyday situations.

Not that they come up all the time, no. Just enough that you need to keep a weather eye out most all the time.

When I am abroad I feel I can dial back on it just a bit, like a load you didn’t notice lifted. One still watches out for pick pockets and really bad neighbourhoods and such.

I do agree with Vic grace on gun control. It’s not like gun crime doesn’t seem to be escalating in the UK either. Stringent gun controls do not seem to prevent criminals getting hold of and using them…

It just makes sure their law abiding victims are helpless.

Oh, and as an sl friend once said, “Possibly politicians might feel they have more to fear from an armed population than just an armed criminal ‘class’.”

Carver said...

Hi Miss Moggs. I haven't been to the UK since the mid 1970s so I'll admit to not being able to do a contemporary comparison. I'm surprised in a way by what you've noticed. I think it may depend on where you go in the US.

I'm actually surprised by how rude children were in certain settings in the US when I was bringing up my daughter in the 1980s and 1990s. I will say though that when I worked with children who were all from affluent families in the US (I also worked with children from impoverished backgrounds), I noticed that the surface politeness of the affluent kids seemed to be towards adults but they were extremely cruel to each other. Whereas the less affluent children didn't have the surface rules of politeness down towards adults they seemed to be less cruel in devious ways to each other. Not sure if that was just these groups of children I worked with a volunteer setting (school and extra curricular).

Crushed said...

The UK is a violent society, no two ways about it. And confrontational. And we DO take it for granted.

Actually, the rate of murders is on the rise in Birmingham. The other week there were two public killings in one day- which was unusual, but people being killed in public is no longer unusual in Birmingham. Nor is people carrying guns.

My former flatmate's Dad was scarred for life in a bottling injury last year, in the face. The culprit got community service.

Kaylen said...

How nice to hear something positive about America!! :)
Thanks for sharing your observations!

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Carver, East Coast, Mid West, West Coast. But not talking bunches of kids interacting with other kids, just society in general.

Crushed, No arguing with you there.

Kaylen, I figure in general there are quite a few positive things about the US. It is not perfect, but show me a country that is.

It’s less imperfect than many. The same can be said for the UK I guess.

Next time you hear someone knock your country think of this. I bet if you take the whole world, rank all the countries according to if a person would want to be a citizen of it or not, then I bet the US would be pretty far up the list for most sane people.