November 1, 2019

MY HOUSE IS A WRECK: In their justly famous article, “Broken Windows,” George Kelling and James Q. Wilson put forward the theory that disorder invites crime. When people see a disorder around them—broken windows, graffiti, trash, loitering, etc.—they act as if they have been given permission to engage in petty and not-so-petty crime. Communities that fix broken windows, clean up graffiti and trash, and discourage loitering will thus prevent crime.

I have the following corollary: Bathroom remodeling leads to slovenly behavior. My bathroom is currently being made into what I hope will soon be a wonderland of blue and white talavera tile. In the meantime, the area around the bathroom is unavoidably untidy. Alas, I have succumbed to the tendency Kelling & Wilson warned of. So far I haven’t broken any laws that I know of. But the whole house looks like a tornado hit it. My bad ….

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