Selling Fear

A brief, off-the-cuff mini-micro-rant and observation.

Looking askance at the economy, it seems that the single largest influence on the economy is fear. Peer pressure, uncertainty for the future, personal physical safety: all these and more are just tools for moving products. Heck, just the need for more and more (and better and better, for values of “better” that specifically include “flashier” and “new” as primary values) “stuff” and ways to preserve the “more stuff”lifestyle constitutes a delightful lode of fear for sellers of “stuff”to mine.

So, what brought this mini-rant on, apart from years of observing the selling power of fear (yeh, I used to sell insurance, so? *sigh*)? A TV ad for a home security service that portrayed a happy family get-together and proclaimed that such get-togethers are only possible when one feels safe, followed by a display of the home security service’s logo, implying that such events are only possible when one’s home is secured by such a service.

*throws the bullshit flag*

Look, burglaries, robberies and other home invasions are actually relatively rare,1 on average, and can be made rarer still in one’s personal exerience by means of several simple, relatively inexpensive measures.

  1. Good locks, doors, and windows, to start.
  2. Clear notice that you are armed and willing to defend yourself, your loved ones and your property with deadly force. (Check your local laws on that last, to be sure you can do so and remain safe from law enFARCEment persecution.)
  3. Location, location, location. Where you choose to live may have the greatest impact on your home safety.

Of course there is more that one can do, but those three measures will eliminate most home invasion crimes. And the last one really is probably the single most important thing you can do to prevent home invasion crimes. The data supports my personal experience. In my whole lifetime, I have personally experienced a home invasion crime one time. The week after my wedding to my Wonder Woman, while we were away on our honeymoon, our home was burglarized. Of course, our home at the time was in “the better part of the ghetto” (as it was called by its denizens) which was a high crime area, for both property and violence against persons. Since then, about 40 years, we have elected to live in low crime areas and have experienced no such things. Yes, small data set, but larger data sets support the “location, location, location” principle.

The chief measure one can take, though, even more important than choosing a relatively safe location, is to make an attitude adjustment, and make regular attitude checks. Practice little things like thinking through how you would break into your own home. Fix that. *heh* Be aware of what is going on in your community, in your neighborhood. “Keep your head on a swivel” is not just something for guys in combat.

1Stats are hard to come by since so many different definitions and circumstances are applied/recorded, but FBI stats from 2009–yeh, I know, a lifetime ago *heh*–indicate that in that year, 5 people (note, not “households” which would be a far smaller number) in 100,000 experienced a home invasion in that year.

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