Violence seems more threatening today than in the relatively recent past. For centuries, crime was kept out of sight. The "criminal classes" were segregated from the rest of society. Newspapers, police, and courts paid relatively little attention to crimes among the poor. Today, things are different: television news thrives on scenes of flashing lights, distraught parents, and bloody sidewalks. Police continually patrol parts of town they used to ignore. Modern transportation permits members of the "dangerous classes" to range more widely than before. As a result, the general population is far more aware of violence now than in the past.

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Copyright © 1992 Federation of State Humanities Councils and the Kettering Foundation. This book chapter first appeared in Freedom and Equality: Humanities Perspectives on Health Care, Crime, and the U. S. Economy.

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