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Trying to figure out why people want Trump’s border wall

(AP)

Let’s talk about the wall. Again.

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Why doesn’t this story just go away? Because a little over 40 percent of Americans now support the idea.

While it’s tempting to go into all of the obvious flaws in this plan including how Mexico was going to pay for it, and the fact that much of the land in question is privately owned, let’s step back and consider the concept for a moment.

Clearly the idea of a physical wall along the southern border of the United States is resonating with a lot of people, but why?

There seems to be several factors driving this thing — the drive to feel safe, a desire to keep criminals out of the country, and the fear of losing jobs to illegals.

To me, the common flaw in all of these arguments is that human beings are really bad at understanding large numbers. When a crime committed by an “illegal alien,” many people immediately give themselves over to the narrative.

They say things like, “What if that crime happened to me or someone I love? That would be horrible, we can’t have it.”

The same thing applies when you hear a story of someone losing their job or of their property getting stolen. When you frame it up in terms of a bad thing that you want to avoid, making the leap to a wall starts to make sense.

It’s a mindset that says, “I don’t want this bad thing to happen, and if we just keep out the people to do these bad things, then the threat is gone. No more bad things. Build the wall!”

Only that’s not really how the world works, is it? Negative things are not created by only one group of people that happen to speak Spanish.

That one crime or that one job is not the only crime and the only job. It’s really hard to conceptualize what 325 million Americans look like.

Unless you’re a criminologist, you really don’t know how many crimes are happening on a day-to-day basis. Well, it’s a lot. Are there crimes being committed by people that came over the southern border?

Sure. But which group do you think commits more crimes? The 12 to 15 million estimated illegals, or the 325 million legal residents?

It’s not natural or easy for most people to think about an incident as a percentage of the whole, and be able to understand if it’s significant or not to the whole country.

So would spending billions of dollars to build a wall on the southern border solve a national emergency? Probably not. Especially if you believe, like the majority of Americans, there said emergency doesn’t even exist.

Would it make some people feel safer? Maybe.

Is it worth the money spent? I guess only you can answer that for yourself.

For me, the clear answer is no.

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