I’ve never been a big fan of cruises and the reasons are many, but one particular issue is looming large in my mind these days.
In most of the world, it’s tough to get through a week without some form of wind and rain, or both, and this is absolutely true on the ocean. As a result, anyone on a seven-day cruise is going to experience a 52-magnitude earthquake at least once. It’s a thrill ride on steroids and a great reminder that even the largest vessel is a drop in the ocean. Shockingly, this little bit of excitement is never mentioned by the cruise lines in any of their ads.
Now that we’re deep into hurricane season, I think about the people who choose to experience this kind of torture, including those who live in places that are prone to natural calamities. Florida is in hurricane alley, more than half of New Orleans is below sea level, California is perpetually on fire and, sometimes, earthquakes, a huge swath of the country is always in drought, and there’s undoubtedly a hundred chronic disaster zones that have slipped my mind already.
Frankly, I feel a lot safer in Chicago. It’s not that we don’t have our challenges with rain and cold and sleet and hail, but let’s get real here. We have crime, absolutely, and it makes for nearly orgasmic coverage on cable news. But there are no sharks swimming in our streets, the water is clean, and we haven’t had an Armageddon Fire since 1871.
Regarding crime, by the way, let’s take a look at the stats from the past few years:
The five cities with the highest murder rates this year are St. Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans, Detroit and Cleveland. By state, the top five states to be murdered in during 2020 were Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri and Arkansas. Broaden the topic to include all violent crime and the top five are Monroe, Louisiana; Memphis, Tennessee; Detroit, Michigan; Saginaw, Michigan; and St. Louis, Missouri. The sources and specifics vary from year to year, but it’s rare to find Chicago on the top five list per capita, or the top ten, for that matter.
Yes, there is crime, and, yes, I am certain to become a victim a minute after I post this, but the reality is not even close to the myth. We’re safer walking down the street in Chicago than in more than a dozen other major cities that never seem to make the evening news.
Besides, there are steps I can take to reduce my risk when it comes to crime. I avoid walking down unlit streets at night with $100 bills sticking out of my pocket, for example, and I avoid picking fights with tattooed beasts when the bar is about to close. When it comes to natural disasters, though, my defensive strategies might not succeed as well.
Every so often, usually during the bleakness of winter, I’ll think about moving to a sunnier clime, a location where my bicycle tires would fail from overuse instead of dry rot. When I scroll through the listings, though, the pickings get very slim very fast. Of course, the competition with Chicago is already slanted in our favor.
We have the most vibrant live theater community in the country, a ton of great restaurants, world-class museums, incredibly convenient airport connections, clean water, and more than four million craft beer breweries. Yes, our taxes are high and some of our political leaders are legendary idiots, but we don’t have to worry about weekly hurricanes, forest fires or drought.
The next time a storm brings Lake Michigan into my living room, maybe I’ll rethink this whole thing. Until then, though, I’m staying put.
Regular readers know we just hype the crime statistics for Chicago to keep the town from getting overcrowded in summer. For more inside info on The City That (sometimes) Works, just click here to subscribe.
Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.