Who is "making light" of risk? ... What has disturbed ME about this thread is how easily several people have donned the coat of moral superiority and used it to insult other people.
First, can I say - I have alot of respect for you, and I didn't intend for my post to come off as if I were attacking you, personally. I'm sorry if it did. I tried to choose my words carefully, but honestly, but it is an emotionally charged subject.
I was specifically trying to address Journey's repeated posts asking about "bad neighborhoods" (which I quoted). As I said, I'm trying to not attack anyone, but I'm genuinely confused. When Journey posted all of the crime statistics, I thought that he was agreeing that we live in a dangerous world. Crime happens. Being reasonably cautious makes sense. Then, he popped up with what sounded like a sarcastic question, asking "what kinds of communities are these that have prospective piano students, of all people, showing up high on meth or planning a rape during their first sample lesson with a new piano teacher. Would hate to have anyone I know have to live in a such a place... "
THAT is what I thought was making light of the situation, and that is what I was trying to clarify. To me, this reads as if suggesting that the only places where crime occurs are bad neighborhoods filled with murderers and drug addicts, and that anyone who is concerned about crime MUST live in a truly terrible place, bad enough that he "would hate to have anyone I know have to live in such a place".
I am trying to determine if I have completely misunderstood this, because the deeper implication is: "Look, your neighborhood is not that bad! You don't have druggies hanging out on your doorstep or shootings in your backyard. Therefore, crime is not likely, and it's silly to worry about it." That is what *I* thought he was trying to convey through sarcasm.
Perhaps I'm wrong (which is why I'm asking). I am open to the fact that I might be wrong. Given that it apparently read that way to many other posters though, if I AM wrong, it might be worth it for Journey to think about how to communicate the point more clearly.
Regarding your posts:
1. I'm (honestly) sorry that you are feeling attacked here. I suspect that if we were all sitting down together in person, chatting, it would not have gotten to this point. I hope and believe that maybe we're actually closer to agreement than is apparent, and it's just not coming across because of the medium. Rotten internet!
2. Not that my opinion matters much, but I don't blame you for missing that this was an old thread. Again, it happens. I've done it myself.
3. You said: "Saying that people tend to overestimate certain kinds of risk is not "making light" of anything. It is called bringing another point to the discussion. Saying that people "can" twist themselves into knots over things is, likewise, bringing another point to the table. "
True, but... if I could offer you another point of view? Given the pairing, it didn't come across as "here's another point of view". It came across as a direct reaction to what we were talking about.
As an example, if you and I were talking (in person), and you told me about this thread. You might say, "People can be such idiots online. They don't stop and listen to what you're saying, they jump to conclusions, and then they all gang up on you and act like you're evil incarnate."
If I then say, "Sometimes the folks posting really ARE idiots, and deserve that treatment!" - OUCH! EVEN if I mean it completely objectively - it still comes across as if I'm saying, "you're an idiot, you deserved it". (I may not even understand that this was something you experienced.)
Do you see how in that conversation you might think, "oh, she's saying that I'm an idiot, and I deserved it"? Even if *you* personally don't interpret things that way, can you see how it *could* be perceived as offensive, even if it was never remotely intended to be that way?
So when you say, "people overestimate risks..." - yes, as an objective fact, you are 100% correct! Absolutely. But, in the context of THIS conversation, that statement sounds like you're saying, "People overestimate risks. You are all overestimating the risk of being attacked. It such a low probability, you should not concern yourself with it at all."
Similarly, if we're talking about precautions for teachers to take to avoid being assaulted, and you say "people can twist themselves into knots over things" - whether you intend it or not - just by virtue of those things being juxtaposed - it will read to the majority of people as if you are saying something like, "this is such a minor risk, why would you bother putting so much thought and effort into it?" It also sounds as if you're saying, "YOU are all twisting yourselves into knots over this issue."
And, again if you don't mind me being honest here, I'm still not sure that I understand your point in saying that people overestimate risks and can tie themselves up in knots about stuff like this. I only realized this because I tried to think of how I would express that viewpoint, what I would have done differently. And, again, perhaps it's that I'm not getting what you're trying to communicate - but would you mind sharing a little about what the thought/intent was? (Because to me, everytime I come back to it, I can not separate it from the implication that by having this conversation, all of us are "overestimating risks/tying ourselves in knots" - without that - the statement feels like a non-sequitor.)
As I said, I'm not trying to attack you, and I'm asking so that I can understand your viewpoint (rather than just respond to the perception of your viewpoint.)
You also said: "Neither point is a judgment of any specific action taken by individuals who best understand their circumstances." Thank you for that. I think that message is getting lost in the emotion.
Finally, as to what people want to hear: I don't think anyone is asking for a groveling apology. For me, what I'd want to hear, is what idea did you intend to communicate? I think our perception must be very wrong (because I think you're a good person), but I can't figure out what you DID mean.
My hope is that, as often happens, we find out we're not actually that far apart on our beliefs (or as a friend used to say when we were accidentally arguing the same point against each other: "we're in violent agreement!")
One other thought. I think part of why you are feeling beat-up is Gary's posts, and I want to share what I liked about his post. I felt *relief* when I read his post. Not because of anything he said about you, but because I felt like he truly GOT it - he clearly understands that women are vulnerable, that we have to be wary, that we're not always treated as equals. To me it feels like a HUGE relief to have him articulate it.
And, absolutely no disrespect or moral superiority intended, I don't know if you see/believe those things. I can't tell from what you've written. So, it feels like part of the tension here is that we're coming from different worlds, and I'm not sure if you understand/believe the reality that many women experience as part of their normal, daily lives.
Thanks for reading, I hope this comes across in the way I intended it (respectfully trying to understand what's going on, and hopefully to help you understand why things were perceived so badly).