A lot of people expect that our impending economic doom will be accompanied by an extreme lapse in social mores; that violence, mayhem, and crime will take over as the situation grows increasingly desperate. In New York, burglaries are already up. Finance guys and women living in rural Pennsylvania alike are buying shotguns with which they expect they will have to fend off clamoring hordes. We'll turn on each other, they say. Western civilization as we know it could disappear!
We're not so sure.
It's true that here in America many people aren't always nice, and give the impression they don't care about one another. This seems especially true at the Department of Motor Vehicles, certain branches of Au Bon Pain, and the lobby of a certain office building at Varick and Canal streets, where the man makes you dig for your I.D. every damn time you come into the building, even though he totally knows you just stepped out to get coffee. But at heart, we are a polite society. How do we know? This report of a robbery in Wisconsin:
The man walked into the Petro Mart near Wausau Sunday, asked for some cigarettes and when the cash drawer was open, grabbed a stack of $20s.
The sheriff’s department says the man told the clerk he was sorry he had to take the money.
What did he say after that? "Have a nice day!"?
'Polite Robber' Grabs Cash, Apologizes Near Wausau [Wausau Daily Herald]