I often say some variation of “don’t be so open-minded your brain falls out.” Then there’s the Robert Frost line, “A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel” (which Frost may have gotten from someone else). Irving Kristol loved to say that a neoconservative is a liberal mugged by reality. The problem with that phrase, alas, is that sometimes the mugging doesn’t take.
A Georgetown University (GU) student who says he was mugged at gunpoint says he “can hardly blame” his assailants.
Senior Oliver Friedfeld and his roommate were held at gunpoint and mugged recently. However, the GU student isn’t upset. In fact he says he “can hardly blame [his muggers].”
“Not once did I consider our attackers to be ‘bad people.’ I trust that they weren’t trying to hurt me. In fact, if they knew me, I bet they’d think I was okay,” wrote Friedfeld in an editorial featured in The Hoya, the university’s newspaper. “The fact that these two kids, who appeared younger than I, have even had to entertain these questions suggests their universes are light years away from mine.”
Friedfeld claims it is the pronounced inequality gap in Washington, D.C. that has fueled these types of crimes. He also says that as a middle-class man, he does not have the right to judge his muggers.
“Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as ‘thugs?’” asks Friedfeld. “It’s precisely this kind of ‘otherization’ that fuels the problem.”
Police also aren’t the solution to the problem, Friedfeld argues.
“If we ever want opportunistic crime to end, we should look at ourselves first. Simply amplifying police presence will not solve the issue. Police protect us by keeping those ‘bad people’ out of our neighborhood, and I’m grateful for it. And yet, I realize it’s self-serving and doesn’t actually fix anything.”
Friedfeld suggests that the “privileged” adapt to normalized crime, until the wrongs of the past are righted.
One could spend some time pointing out all the really charming idiocy on display here (crime in DC has generally fallen as income inequality has gone up, for instance). But it’s just so enjoyable to see a living breathing strawman come to life. What I mean is this kid is the kind of person conservatives are generally accused of making up for rhetorical effect. But there he is saying these really amazingly dumb things — on purpose. Bless his heart.