Recently, the Boston Globe described the reality of trying to build denser housing in Boston suburbs with access to mass transit*. The typical arguments against increasing density are made by the opponents, and there are the usual local officials who oppose the development. And, of course, the parcel in question, as is often the case, possesses great neighborhood character:
(Akshually, it’s a shopping mall parking lot).
If you’re not up to date on this stuff, it’s worth a read, but it’s a dog bites man story.
Until we get to this bit near the end (boldface mine):
At another meeting in August, after the developer further reduced the proposal, one resident began to speak about the project’s proximity to a nearby elementary school, suggesting that pedophiles may end up renting the apartments.
“I don’t think many of us like to face the elephant in the room,” he said. “This apartment complex would be a magnet for such individuals.”
Have to say, that’s an argument I haven’t heard before. But it does point to something very weird going in the U.S.
Because this is the internet, I will state the obvious: pedophiles are disgusting, vile people.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, there is an obsession with pedophiles that makes me wonder if many more people than is commonly realized who have gone through various, often conservative-leaning institutions were molested (or nearly so) by authority figures in those institutions. Alternatively, ‘pedophile’ might just be the new villain, having run through a bunch of other villain tropes–and each villain has to be more despicable than the last. I’m guessing that the pedophile-obsessive also consumes a lot of right-wing media too (none of these are mutually exclusive hypotheses).
Anyway, it seems that a subset of Americans have a new villain. And NIMBYs in places where there isn’t enough housing suck.
*Though, sadly, the mass transit isn’t transiting so well these days.