Gated Communities

by James Glaser
April 25, 2007

I am down in Florida looking for a piece of land on which to build a house. I started out looking for a house to buy, but after seeing how they are built down here, I decided that I had one more house in me to build. Having been a carpenter up North, I find it easy to talk to builders and contractors down here, and they pretty much all agree that new homes down here are built as cheaply as possible.

I have looked at the way homes are framed up, and I have to tell you that they look substandard to me. Yes, I know there are no snow loads down here, and every house has been engineered to withstand some incredible winds, but they still look as though corners are being cut and savings are made on the materials used.

While I was shopping for a house, I could see right away that there are four classes of people down here. There are the rich, the very rich, the working poor and the down and out poor. There are a few houses for under a hundred grand, but I couldn't live in the neighborhoods they are located in. Then there are the 150-200 K homes that are built for the working family. Some of these look alright, but each house sits about 15 feet from their neighbor's house.

Then we have the biggest group of homes, and they are for the people who are starting to become rich or have fooled themselves into thinking that they are rich. Their homes are in communities and can cost up to $600,000. On top of a mortgage payment, they are paying a fee to live in the neighborhood with other people of their class.

Then there are the very rich. Either they have their own compound, or they live in a gated community that keeps the riff-raff out. Wikipedia says, "A gated community is a form of residential community sometimes characterized be a closed perimeter of walls and fences, but always containing controlled entrances."

Gated communities remind me of third world countries where the rich live in the same area for protection. In those countries rich people have to do that. Somehow it seems to me that many Americans are looking for that same type of protection. They don't have enough money to hire 24 hour-a-day guards, but they are willing to pitch in a fee every month to spread the load when it comes to hiring security for their neighborhood.

Those are the same people who are more than willing to hire cheap third world laborers (illegal aliens) to do their gardening, cook their meals, and even take care of their kids. They can live like the rich patron in Mexico, but have the security of living here in the United States. They can hire the people they are afraid of to work for them, but when the day is done, those people must leave the neighborhood, and there are guards and gates to make sure they don't come back until it is time to go to work again.

The very rich down here have their own fences, their own gates, and their own guards. You can see the concertina wire and cameras on the top of their walls and you are not getting in unless you have been invited.

It is sad to see America getting this way, but it is—and it will get a lot worse than this before too long. Americans are obsessed with needing security. You can see that with what they have allowed Washington to do with our freedoms.

Americans live in such fear that now it is OK if our government tortures people. It is OK to throw American citizens in prison with no trial, heck not even a hearing. Washington can wire tap our phones, they can read our mail, they can search our homes, all without even a court ordered search warrant.

Americans are afraid, and they are starting to build modern day forts in which to hide. I wouldn't be surprised if soon gated communities started their own schools and had their own clinics. The rich families in America today are so far away from the working man's family, that they have almost nothing in common. Soon the rich will be staking out whole towns where "their kind of people" can live, but no one else.

And when we get to that point, soon after, America will have to start all over again.

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