Shifting views of safety in American society

AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File
The San Francisco board of education voted Aug. 13, 2019 to cover this controversial 13-panel mural, the "Life of Washington" by Russian-American artist Victor Arnautoff, at George Washington High School.

Dear Reader,

My latest article boasts a bold headline: “How ‘safety first’ ethos is destabilizing US society.”

The story was inspired by an event involving Louis C.K. When the disgraced comedian made a surprise appearance at a venue in Brooklyn recently, the locale's management apologized the following day. Not everyone was comfortable being entertained by someone who has admitted to inappropriate sexual behavior. The venue apologized for not stopping the show – management was afraid of putting staff in danger because of the large crowd – and affirmed a desire to maintain a “safe space” with diverse programming. 

In response, Jesse Singal, a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in New York Magazine and Slate, tweeted the following observation: “Whatever one thinks of the underlying issue, it's fascinating how the language of safety has just exploded and is the go-to explanation for *everything*.”

Soon after, I began delving into the way we view safety in today’s society. I discovered that the concept of what that means has expanded in recent decades. That, in turn, has affected people’s perception of their own safety. I hope you'll read the story and share your own thoughts on that topic. 

Stephen Humphries, culture writer 
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