A jewel of an argument

April 12, 2011|By Doug Miller

More venom dripping from the fangs of many of the usual suspects today in the reader comments attached to the story of the midday armed robbery of a jewelry store in the Columbia mall.

Much of the banter centers on the idea that bringing mass transit into Columbia from Baltimore and Washington will make such incidents more frequent. One commenter got blasted by others for suggesting that this premise constitutes thinly veiled racism.

OK, for the sake of civility, I’ll take that protestation at face value. Blaming mass transit for the ills that befell the Owings Mills Mall and predicting it will similarly bring ruin to Columbia’s is not, in and of itself, racist. Some white people take the bus too.

It does, however, put the blame for past and predicted ruination on a nebulous “those people.”

And when two thirds of the county’s population runs to Baltimore or Washington every morning, somebody’s got to be here to mind the store, run the office, fix the plumbing, repair the roof, do the renovation, get to the gardening, serve the lunches and scrub the toilets. Some of those folks are going to have to come from across the hallowed borders of our home county.

Anyway, don’t be surprised if we learn later that the robbers had their very own getaway car, and didn’t take the bus back to Thugville, wherever that turns out to be.

Turning mass transit into a bogeyman ignores the fundamental reality that our over-reliance on our cars is slowly killing us. Using an armed robbery — by people whose identities and origins are as yet unknown — as an argument against it takes a logical leap that is not constructive.

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