If things get as bad here as they are in places like they are in South Africa. This is from the NY Times:
JOHANNESBURG — I am sitting in front of the entrance to my new two-story flat in upmarket Sandton in northern Johannesburg, admiring the colorful bed of flowers planted at my doorstep. Two women in their sixties walk around the block several times, and each time they pass I notice their increasingly sweaty brows, evidence of an impressive effort to stay fit. They look like they might be training for a race, complete with sport shoes and sweat bands on their wrists.
A few moments later, a father and son stroll past, hands clasped, clearly enjoying the joyous arrival of summer at Africa’s tip. They smile at two little boys playing with a bicycle. The boys take time out to wave to them with infectiously beaming smiles. As soon as the father and son are out of sight, the boys fight about whose turn it is to ride next.
This appears to be a scene of middle class bliss. But it is not. It is the picture of artificial freedom that wealth and access to credit buys you in crime-ridden, and deeply unequal, South Africa (Emphasis mine) . The scene plays out at a massive housing complex with 91 semidetached, similar-looking, gray-brick apartment units that are enclosed by a high outer-perimeter wall with electric fencing on top and a single entrance that is monitored by security guards 24-hours a day (Emphasis mine). If the ladies were walking in one of Johannesburg’s many parks, they would risk being mugged. The young boys certainly could not survive on the roads outside our gates, given the craziness of most drivers here, especially minibus taxis competing for the fares of the poor. They would likely be run over, unless they were lucky enough to have their bicycle stolen first.”
This is what happens when civilized people are threatened to be overrun by the uncivilized. The example of South Africa, unfortunately, is something that is going to happen here in the states and it’s going to happen in the near future.
That’s why I titled this post, I wonder what we will do. Think about this:
“Experts believe the ubiquitous communities, known as “security villages”, in fact give residents a false sense of security from the high violent crime rates that plague the country.
“People are seeking to create a lifestyle that is out of touch with what contemporary urban living actually is,” said Erna Van Wyk, a psychologist at the University of Witwatersrand who specialises in traumatic stress.
Van Wyk’s research shows that residents often band together over shared values. In turn, they feel that threats can only come from outside their groups. “There’s a false split of where I am safe and … not safe in the world,” she said. “However, domestic violence is every bit as common in gated communities.”
Yeah right, that’s a complete load of bullshit. Here’s further:
“In the past 10 years, the demand for these things have increased almost exponentially, because people have been worried about crime,” said Garth Jaeger, director of Silver Woods developer Garnat Properties.
Jaeger estimates that “many hundreds of thousands of rand” were spent on Silver Woods’ security features to lure upper-middle-class homebuyers.
Residential, commercial and industrial security is a huge contributor to South Africa’s economy. The intruder detection services industry is estimated to be a 60-billion-rand (HK$52.5 billion) market, according to the South African Intruder Detection Services Association. Meanwhile, there are more than 390,000 active security officers employed throughout the country.
However, South Africa’s well-to-do homeowners are not just obsessed with safety. Branding of gated communities like Silver Woods also relies heavily on projecting an air of exclusivity and community.
They wouldn’t buy there if they didn’t care about security.
“Many people in gated communities seek to create a somewhat idyllic lifestyle that fits the image of village life prior to rapid urbanisation,” Van Wyk said”
Think about what happened to Detroit, Birmingham, Newark, Chicago, Atlanta, San Diego, Oakland and even near where I live, the northwest side of Jacksonville. All war zones and if you are of a peaceable sort, you get the hell out of those places. Walking down the street in any of these areas will in the best scenario get you robbed. In the worst case, you will be killed with no witnesses willing to tell the cops who did it.
So, we find places where this type of shit doesn’t happen. Might not be the best place to live but at least you can walk down the street without being assaulted.
The problem is, these places are getting harder and harder to find if you live near a large metropolitan area. Given that most people don’t have the wherewithal to live in a truly rural area, I see these walled, electrified and high security areas quickly popping up all over the country near the metro areas where people who are working in the cities pay the premium for security just so they feel a little bit safe.
Crime is rising year by year and it’s largely being committed by the more, shall we say, the vibrant among us. The example in South Africa is quickly going to morph into examples here in the states. I’ve seen it happening, every new subdivision that is being built around here is gated. That keeps the cars out, but it doesn’t keep the criminals from scaling the fences. The daily news every day is reporting on the results. Electric fences and private security are coming soon.
It’ll be a sad day when what is the norm in South Africa is the norm here.
But I feel it’s inevitable.