Behavior in the “Commons”

Miles, a regular reader and frequent commenter here, recently posted his experience feeling threatened on MAX on his own blog, documented life.

This has gotten me thinking about how we as members of society interact with each other when we meet in our “commons”, the spaces that we share public ownership and use of. The examples that come to mind are not reassuring:

– Harassment and poor hygiene on public transportation

– Aggressive panhandling on our sidewalks

– Road rage on our streets and highways

Shouldn’t we expect more of each other, and offer more to each other? Is this degradation of public behavior a function of the increasing gap between rich and poor? A sign of a breakdown in our public safety and/or mental health systems? Something else?

How do we restore some civility to our interactions in the “commons”?

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