You'd think peaceful country living would do wonders for your health. No pollution, less violence, seems like the obvious way to go, right? But it isn't so cut and dry. Trace looks at risks, and life saving benefits of each.The science agrees with me--city life is safer.
Follow over the jump for Life in the country.
I've lived out in exurbia and semi-rural areas for more than a decade. In that time, I've witnessed more crime and depravity there than in all my time in the city. Here are the highlights, in chronological order.After living in the city for three years, I can say that we do feel safer here.
It wasn't in the city where I taught a creative writing class with every single drug dealer and tattooed girl in the school as my students. I was told at the end of the stay that I did as well as could be expected with that group.
It wasn't in the city where I was the first substitute teacher in a science class to be able to control the class without having to send students to the principal's office, which earned me many return visits to the school. I told them they were as bad as my worst class in Detroit, and they cheered.
It wasn't in the city where one of the employees was skimming the till every night from my employer. Then, when she was caught and fired, but not reported to the police because she was family, she got a bunch of her friends and vandalized her own family's business twice. That was the beginning of the end for that business, which closed a year later.
It wasn't in the city where my next door neighbor walked out into the middle of his driveway one night and fired his shotgun at a bunch of kids who he thought were trying to steal his dog. He was right outside my bedroom window, and the flash and blast scared the shit out of me. Then he came over to make sure that I didn't report him to the sheriff, and I told him that he could go ahead and keep the vandals (see above) away. I decided an armed and slightly crazy neighbor was OK as long as he was protecting me.
It wasn't in the city where the girlfriend of that same next door neighbor knocked on my door to hide in my house from him after a fight, then the same neighbor knocked on my door to ask if I knew where the hell she was. Luckily for me, I didn't answer the door the first time, or I'd have been in real trouble.
It wasn't in the city where I lived next door to a family that did all the following: their kids shoplifted at the truck stop; the adults pimped out their teenage daughter; the dad poached on private land owned by a game warden; all the adults assaulted the fire fighters who came out to put out a bonfire; and were finally caught when they were videotaped breaking into cars at the church across the street. They finally were run out of town, at which point I finally found out what they were good for--plowing the road behind my house.
It wasn't in the city where someone on my block celebrated New Years Eve with shots into the air, and my wife called the cops.
All of that happened in the country. When I tell my students from Detroit about all that, they're appalled. All of it as as bad as anything that happens there, and some of it is worse.
I'm looking forward to moving out of the country and into the city. My wife and I will feel safer there.