Saturday, April 30

Don't Shoot

London had 110 homicides in 2015, up from 83 in 2014. A big jump, no doubt, but hardly something to worry about in a city of 8.5 million.  I can honestly not recall a single time when I felt threatened or anxious since arriving in 97, a blessing. Our borough, Richmond, had 13 homicides from 2000 to 2013. That's it.

Switching gears: the concept of modern policing began in pre-Victorian England when the British home minister, Sir Robert Peel (1778-1850), oversaw the creation of London’s first organised police force headquartered on a short street called Scotland Yard. Peel sought to create a professionalised law enforcement corps accountable to the people,  replacing the military's distinctive red coats.

Peel’s patrolmen wore black jackets and tall wool hats with shiny badges - they were still around our first couple years here. The police armed only with a short club and a whistle for backup, walking regular beats and gaining the trust of the locals. Robert Peel’s system a success, and by the mid-19th century large American cities had created similar police forces. 

In London, the policemen were so identified with the politician who created them that they were referred to as “Peelers” or—more memorably—“Bobbies,” after the popular nickname for Robert.

Sonnet: "How was theatre today?" [Dad's note: Eitan has a dancing and singing part in the school production of 'West Side Story."
Eitan: "I dropped a girl today. In practice."
Eitan: "She landed with a thump."
Me: "Ouch. Was she OK?"
Eitan: "I guess so."
Eitan: "Everyone kind of noticed though."