Friday, July 29, 2005

The Dog Poop Girl
Short version--her dog shat on the train, she wouldn't pick it up, someone posted her picture on the net.

There were a lot of comments on Schneier's site worried about public humiliation, and cultural norms. What came to mind is that what someone does, the degree to which they practice what they think is "proper" behavior, in many cases depends on who is looking. I think that there is a certain amount of intrinsic morality that a person has, and a certain amount of their behavioral standards are simply an effort to avoid disapproval. I would suppose, like everything else, the line between the two make a bell curve when you look at large populations.

One of the biggest impacts of the shift of populations to cities is the increase in anonymity. What does it matter if those people sitting across from me see me drop my candy wrapper on the floor of the bus. I'll never see them again, anyway. At first, there is a little fear. But then, as no one we know sees us do the little things we were ashamed of before, we lose our shame after a while.

And we come to a world where I can't just let my daughters go out and play with the neighborhood kids, because there are people who have lost their shame about abusing children.

Perhaps the internet and camera-phones can start to restore community standards.

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