True Confession: I Live in a Gated Community


Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.57.37 AMAccording to Emily Badger of the WPost, gated spaces such as those around pools contribute, quietly, to racism.  Gated communities do the same thing.  Sure, there have been horrible problems with pools, swimming and racism.  There still is.  But, unfortunately, there is also a reality which is missing from the discussion.  There is nothing wrong with a gated community.  I live in one.  I am one of the reasons it is gated.  Frankly, I am glad it is.  And, no, it isn’t about racism, unless your racism is a humorous annoyance with tourists during the summer months.  I would not have  even picked up on the article, if the SPLC had not Tweeted the link.

I don’t live in a high crime area.  I also live in a location where whites are a minority.  I chose to live here, knowing the racial mix which is primarily Hispanic, First Nation, Texan, and then people like me. One of the reasons the complex is gated is NOT because of race, but because of tourists and truly annoying seasonal Texans who don’t care where they park, including right in front of my home, either preventing me from access or blocking me in my carport.  The pool is gated because of liability, fear of lawsuits, idiot Texans who want to go swimming all hours of the night, and keeping kids out of the area.

One of the problems I have with the blanket accusation of racism is the complete lack of examining the problems in an area.  There were racist undertones in the police attack in McKinley. It was truly deplorable.  But – it wasn’t a racist gated community in that there were Hispanics, whites, and blacks living there.  The kids were making too much noise and some jerk did what jerks do best.

The reality of gated locations is usually NOT about racism, but about the realities of life.  Anyone who owns a pool knows the legal liability, and the insurance nightmare if you don’t have a situation where you cannot control entry.  Someone goes in the pool, something happens, and even if the pool owner has nothing to do with the situation, the injured party destroys the owner.  That’s the reality of life in a litigious society.  I’m looking at a property that has a pool.  The wall around it is not nearly high enough.  If I am fortunate enough to be able to purchase the house, the first thing will be raising the height of the wall and making the area as secure as possible.  It isn’t about race.  It’s about protecting myself.

Where I live, until the gates were put up, thereby keeping honest people out, and allowing for easy access for criminals, we had few criminal problems.  The gate deters all but the real criminals, and local idiots who come in about once a year, knock out the street lights, and then leave.  The real problem was when the complex had a hot-tub.  Drunken summer tourists – all very white – would sneak in, skinny dip, and make a nuisance of themselves.  Because of my bedroom, I’m the one who always calls the cops on them.  We had some idiot outside shooting off a gun one time.  A previous resident had a drinking problem and a domestic violence situation with his now ex-wife.  We called the cops a few times about that.

Then there are the local free-loaders who don’t want to pay the token entry into the city pool.  They find someone they know, and crash the pool.  They park right in front of my home, blocking my entry, and my carport.  Yes, I call the manager, then we call the cops on them.  They are trespassing.  I tried to be nice about it, but after awhile, it becomes so annoying, you forget about being nice.

Yea, where I live is gated.  Please, try pinning the racist slur on us.  It won’t work.  People do have a right to protect what they own, in a reasonable, non-gun situation.  Why should we pay for someone’s stupidity and trespassing?  That’s what happens.

I believe it was Walt Whitman who wrote a poem about it.

Mending Wall
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’