News out of La-La Land reveals simply how deep-rooted the social decay in America has turn out to be. Brazen robberies and “high-profile heists” in among the toniest neighborhoods of Los Angeles have the rich scrambling to buy bulletproof vehicles and rent their very own non-public safety forces.
Is the United States turning into Brazil, the notoriously crime-plagued nation famous for a definite lack of respect for the legislation and a yawning rich-poor divide that has the well-off scrambling to wall themselves off from the far higher mass of their fellow residents?
Safe Rooms for the Super Rich
“Private security contractors report that a recent string of high-profile retail robberies and home burglaries in upscale Los Angeles neighborhoods has caused a dramatic uptick in requests for their services and prompted many of their wealthy clients to change their routines out of a mix of caution and fear,” The Hollywood Reporter detailed on Dec. 22.
Wealthy Angelenos appear to be redefining the time period “exclusivity” to imply rights to private security not obtainable to their fellow residents.
Ratcheting up non-public safety forces is a predictable transfer, however different actions can solely be described as unique, and extra befitting of life in a banana republic moderately than the supposed main nation of the Western world:
“Since late August, Rising S Company has completed risk assessments for multiple high-end clients in L.A. and installed 13 safe rooms, nine safe doors, two underground bunker shelters, and two window fortifications in Brentwood Park, Beverly Park and Paradise Cove, says general manager Gary Lynch. This compares to their installation of seven safe rooms in California in the 2.5 years prior.
“Estate manager Bryan Peele, president and founder of the L.A.-based Estate Managers Coalition, told THR that his clients have ‘fully equipped safe rooms that they can live in for a few days, if necessary, that are completely hard-wired with phone cables, Internet, everything.’
“One of Peele’s clients has purchased three bullet-proof cars in the last couple of months, while another located a company in London to replicate his luxury watches. ‘This guy will take a $200,000 Rolex and copy it, using stainless steel and other metals, so it looks like the original but costs maybe $2,000-$3,000 per watch. So, in the event that it’s stolen, the client is out a lot less money,’ says Peele.”
‘I Have Been Robbed Every Way Imaginable’
It is not any exaggeration to say that that is precisely how Brazil received caricatured as a teeming cesspool of lawlessness fueled by an ever-widening class divide between a super-rich minority and far higher numbers of residents residing in poverty.
From a 2009 New York Times article on life in Sao Paolo, the biggest metropolis in Brazil:
“For Alessandra Amara, a bulletproof car became a necessary expense three years ago, she said, after she was robbed for the 11th time in little more than 10 years. ‘Having an armored car in this city is essential,’ said Ms. Amara, 34, who works in the financial department of a car dealership. ‘I have been robbed every way imaginable.’
“Once, thieves abducted her in her car at gunpoint and made her pull money from two bank machines before freeing her. Another night, as she waited in her car at a red light, a gunman stole her wallet as witnesses silently stood by.
“The last straw came when she was leaving work in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Suddenly, a boy slammed a stone through her window and grabbed for her purse. She took her foot off the clutch and crashed into the car ahead of hers. She clung to the purse and the thief ran away.”
The meme of the moated luxurious residential neighborhood in Brazil surrounded for miles by slums is rapidly changing into a actuality in California. “[Peele’s] Hollywood clients are securing 24-7 security details, installing more cameras, adding barbed wire on top of fencing on their properties, and calling for armed security prepped in defensive driving to pick them up when their private jets touch down,” The Hollywood Reporter continued. “They want someone who knows how to get them out of any situation,” Peele advised the publication.
One doesn’t need to hate free enterprise to understand that an ever-expanding gulf between wealthy and poor is a recipe for extreme social unrest in any nation. Brazil has lengthy been the poster youngster for the situation. The United States seems decided to observe its lead as an alternative of studying from the cautionary instance.
“The wealth gap between upper-income and lower- and middle-income families [in the U.S.] has grown wider this century,” the Pew Research Center reported in 2020. “Upper-income families were the only income tier able to build on their wealth from 2001 to 2016, adding 33% at the median. On the other hand, middle-income families saw their median net worth shrink by 20% and lower-income families experienced a loss of 45%. As of 2016, upper-income families had 7.4 times as much wealth as middle-income families and 75 times as much wealth as lower-income families. These ratios are up from 3.4 and 28 in 1983, respectively.”
While it could be enjoyable to giggle off the “billionaires shouldn’t exist” speaking factors of progressive politicians akin to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), it must be identified that widening chasms between the very wealthy and the very poor pose as a lot hazard to the rich as they do to the impoverished. Societal friction, if not outright collapse, will finally worm its method into the “safe rooms” and underground bunkers of Beverly Hills.
Affluent Americans could be sensible to heed the phrases of warnings emanating from South America: “You need to invest in police and have reforms so that criminals actually face the law,” Rafael Alcadipani of the Forum for Brazilian Public Security advised The Financial Times in September 2021. “And we need to improve social conditions. An unequal country like Brazil will always have problems like these.”
~ Read extra from Joe Schaeffer.