Friday, October 12, 2012

Crime and the Kitchen

Cleaning up crime and cleaning your kitchen have a lot in common.

  1. They are both never-ending tasks
  2. You can never totally eliminate all crime or germs
  3. There are people actively making your job harder, often simultaneous with your efforts to clean it up
  4. Your job is usually secondary to the 'real work', but when you screw up, it becomes a priority.

But there are lots of lessons to be learned from the kitchen.

First of all, you don't need to have it spotless.   Particularly not while it is in full use.  

Second of all, you can't let it get too bad.  The real problems start happening when you let it go for too long and the grime goes from small colonies to visible fungus.

Third of all, the cleaner you keep it, the easier it gets, because other people are less likely to make it dirty if they see it as clean

Fourth, chances are, in both cases you will make mistakes and clean up 'innocent' items/people.  Someone won't be done with the pizza and you throw it out  - or you will arrest the innocent person.  This should be avoided at all cost, and you must accept responsibility for when you do it.  Denying or covering it up just makes things far worse.  You also may need to buy someone an entirely new pizza because you threw out the one they weren't finished with.  Yes, it's expensive, but it's what you need to do to make it right.

What does this have to do with politics?  Well, people don't treat crime like cleaning up the kitchen.  They insist on it being spotless, they give up on the areas that got too bad, as opposed to cleaning them up, they refuse to admit it's easier to clean the 'nice' areas and they cover up the mistakes all the time.

When the candidates talk about crime, you need to keep this in mind.

There is no such thing as 'soft' on crime.  There is no such thing as "hard on crime".

There is such a thing as being too much of a perfectionist just as you can be too lenient.   But the perfectionist always costs too much money and the lenient guy saves money only at the cost of heightened risk.

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