Photo of the day

My dog Sasha  in the mountains (Burnsville, NC).  I tried getting some photos of the kids with this great evening background, but none would oblige.

Why budgets matter

Just read Ezra’s post from today.

Gated communities

Interesting piece in the Post about how the psychology of gated communities may have contributed to the Trayvon Martin shooting:

On the night he was shot, Trayvon Martin walked through an area that he may have thought was public territory. George Zimmerman, on the other hand, saw “a real suspicious guy” walking into what he probably perceived as his private domain. Because the Retreat at Twin Lakes, where the girlfriend of Martin’s father lives, is surrounded by gates with controlled access, the community is not quite public and not quite private space.

Gates convey to those living behind them that their “home” extends all the way to the walls surrounding the compound. Because streets and parks are accessible only to those living within the community, they begin to feel more like private living rooms and are defended fiercely against intruders. When gates blur public and private spaces in this way, these communities can become dangerous for the people inside and outside them — and dangerous for the nation’s ideal of equality among its people.

Sounds good to me.  My sister lives in a gated community and I hate it.  Does stopping a minivan with two parents and four kids in it to see the driver’s ID before letting them in really make the community any safer?  And does it need to be any safer when it is out in the exurbs literally dozens of miles (and no connecting public transit) from any areas that have any crime problems at all?  And is it any safer than it would otherwise be?  Apparently, no:

Proponents of gated communities often say they are safe, neighborly places. But according to my research and that of local police departments across the country, gated communities do not have less crime than the suburbs from which they’re walled off. (One exception is car theft, which my research with Mary Gail Snyder found to be less frequent in gated communities than in non-gated ones.) We also found that residents of gated developments don’t know their neighbors any better than people in other suburban communities.

The article goes into more downsides– especially about our notions of shared values and democracy– but I’m happy enough with the complaints above.

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