Social Question

Nullo's avatar

Are we too distrustful of random people?

Asked by Nullo (21828 points ) August 15th, 2012

We tend to be wary of the average passerby. We are suspicious of uncommon behavior. Random guys on airplanes are required to change seats with other passengers because he might possibly be a pedophile.
I know that I tend to be a bit naive while at once being cynical, but don’t we go overboard a bit? The criminal element isn’t that pervasive, is it?

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9 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Pedophile? I never heard of such a thing, this changing seats on airplane for that reason. That sounds ridiculous to me.

I am not very wary of the average passerby, unless we are the only two on a street or in an elevator. In public areas I generaly don’t feel wary at all, although I do automatically take some precautions, like keeping my purse next to me, stuff like that.

Bellatrix's avatar

@JLeslie It was Virgin airlines (in its various names I expect) who asked men to move if they were seated next to unaccompanied children. They have come up against a lot of flack about it. They are reconsidering their policy. I actually think since most paedophiles are men (not all of course) then to err on the side of caution when the flight attendants cannot watch the children all the time makes sense. I can however understand the indignation from the majority of men who are perfectly safe. Perhaps Virgin should make the rule, unaccompanied children must be seated alone or with other unaccompanied children. Although the reduction in available seating might then incur an additional cost for parents. There is a whole new question in this policy!

@Nullo I am not distrustful of people unless they give me reason. Generally, and when my own safety only is at risk, I wouldn’t be wary unless their behaviour gave me call to be. I wouldn’t leave my children or a vulnerable person with a man or woman I didn’t know though. I would be more cautious if the decisions I was making affected others. Is society too wary. At times yes. Look at helicopter parents, the rules imposed on schools and organisations. I don’t think the case cited is over the top though. Children could be sitting next to someone for hours with little supervision from Virgin staff.

JLeslie's avatar

@Bellatrix I see. Well, I am ok with the policy actually for unaccompanied children. I don’t think the policy is necessary, but I am ok with it. Even men worry about being around children, so it probably is better all around. Having an empty seat next to a child is way overboard. I would assume a parent has the option of paying for an extra seat, but as policy, not feasible in my mind, I would say unreasonable. Too expensive.

Coloma's avatar

I think there is a big difference between healthy discernment and boundaries and unhealthy paranoia and fearfulness.
Yes, I do think people are far too untrusting and suspicious a lot of the time. It is not my nature, I am far too engaging and open to be paranoid. Works for me and quite frankly I pity closed off paranoid people, they are missing out on a lot of fun interactions..

Pandora's avatar

Unfortunately I’m to tired to give this a proper answer but I will get more in detail sometime later. But in short. I do think we are overly suspicious and it has lead to distancing ourselves to people all together. In doing so we may prevent being taken advantage of but at the same time we short change ourselves in getting to know terrific people that may add value to our lives in some small or even big way. We are each becoming an island to ourselves.

augustlan's avatar

A lot of people are too wary, yes. Generally, I’m not overly worried about the general public, but if I’m out alone at night, paranoia does sometimes kick in. I wish it didn’t… I miss feeling invulnerable.

Symbeline's avatar

Maybe. I always figured, I’m in public, if someone does something lame like a shooting, I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I wouldn’t define the majority of strangers as criminals and psychos. Most people are just living their lives. But when an atrocity occurs, it does mark people.
I’m not distrustful of people, although I do want to be left in peace when I’m out and about, so it’s really not the same. But I don’t expect every stranger to pop up in front of me going, your soul is mine, mortal!

I so suppose that things like public mass massacres or acts of terrorism, or again, random but persistent crimes like robberies or harassment can make people decide to be more on their guard. I say, come at me bro!

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