(Captain's log): My friends and I had done a great thing. We had drastically reduced the amount of crime, everywhere, permanently. And so we traveled in time into the future to see the effects of what we'd done, to see how things had improved.
Everything was changed. Nothing looked recognizable. All the architecture was different; there were no longer any two-story homes. All the street lights had grillwork over the lamps, and there were handrails and guardrails everywhere, made of metal, carefully painted, and then covered with soft plastic. It was very puzzling; why would a reduction of crime have caused all of this?
And suddenly I knew what had happened. When we had reduced the amount of crime, we'd put lots of criminal lawyers out of work. So they'd mostly switched into civil law, and there'd been an explosion of nuisance liability lawsuits. What we had seen was a defensive response by builders and property owners and local governments trying to avoid being sued.
We spoke to a woman, making casual mention of lawsuits (so as not to give ourselves away as time travelers) and she nodded and grinned and commented that she was considering a few of her own. She was joking, I think, but in a way which made clear that I was right.
"We must go back and undo what we've done!" I said to my friends. "Crime is bad, but this is worse!"
...and then I woke up.
I'm not kidding. I really did have this dream last night. The images of the ultra-safe future were quite vivid, especially of the playground next to the school we went past. It was horrifying.
Gotta cut down on those midnight snacks.