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I trained as a journalist, then as an urban planner, then I worked as a writer and editor then as a planner. I learned to teach yoga, make quilts, do Photoshop, design websites and use MailChimp.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Safety behind gates

You are not safe behind that gate.  
Trayvon Martin certainly wasn’t safe in that “gated community.”  The guy with gun wasn’t safe from ruining his life because was acting out his big protector fantasy. 
  Why are you living behind a gate anyway?  Why are you out there walking around feeling responsible for protecting the people behind that gate?  I am a mature human being, a long-time urban planner I have learned something important (more from being a mature human being) which is that the greatest dangers we face in our lives come from inside the locked gates, the locked front doors, the closed bedrooms and our own souls which get obsessed with danger and staying hidden.
Here I am afraid of what I have experienced in myself.  If I have all of this stuff in me it must more dangerous when its from “them” out there.  So I buy a house or rent a unit in a    ”gated community”.  Project all that danger on the outside world and find a gate to hide behind.  And maybe even somehow I feel safer and even a little looked-after when I see this pleasant guy “patrolling” –watching out.   A little intense maybe.  But he is only trying to help. With his gun.
 This is the point:  The danger was not out there; it was in here. Behind this gate.
Now I don’t want to knock personal security or even the Real Neighborhood Watch program.  We look out for each other.  We notice if someone new is parking on our street and scoping us out.  We watch and ask a few questions and if it doesn’t prove  that the neighbors kid has a new boy friend or something we call the cops .  (I once called because a couple of strange guys were sitting in a parked car on my suburban street.  I think they WERE the cops.)  If kids obviously on drugs knock on my door to scope things out,  I call the cops.  I believe in big dogs.  Sweet ones, but big. Young women might want to get pepper spray if they are gong to walk alone at night.
But “gated communities” are isolated and fearful, not safe. We are back in here because “they” might cruise through “our” community.  We don’t want those folks over there a couple of blocks living in that apartment building to be able to come in here.   If only there were a big gate there. We would be “safe.” 


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