Sunday, January 20, 2002

AMERICAN PASSIVITY FOLLOWUP: Lake Effect Dan writes in response to this post:

Actually, I'm pretty sure the don't-fight-back mentality began in the late 60s-early 70s when there were a lot of violent bank robberies. Banks figured out they couldn't insist on minimum-wage tellers laying down their lives for a few hundred bucks of the bank's money (or really, the bank's insuror's money), especially if it had a side-effect of putting customers in danger. Cynically one could say that the lawsuit exposure (customers, tellers, whomever) might be many, many times what the robber might get!

So banks developed this non-violent approach and replaced enforcement with technology -- video cameras, dye-bursters, etc.

There was a similar trend toward the skyjacking spate in the early 70s. Again, the reasoning that a skyjacker usually looking for a few
thousand dollars and easily caught afterward wasn't worth risking the lives of passengers over.

So the just-do-what-they-say mentality does have its origins outside of the hostage crises of my youth.

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