Death of the Gated Community
Arend van Dam
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck ten,
The mouse came again
--Hickory Dickory Dock, Nursery rhyme
Self-Defense is not murder
--Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)
In 1988, the crime rate in the United States rises four hundred percent.
The once great city of New York becomes the one maximum security prison
for the entire country.
. . .
is encamped around the island. There are no guards inside the prison,
only prisoners and the worlds they have made.
The rules are simple: once you go in, you don't come out.
--Escape from New York (1981)
Its summertime, and that means the news cycle is hungry for more of the crazy in Florida; we do not disappoint.
This summer will see the latest recrudescence of the 26 February 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman as jury selection is underway for Zimmerman's 2nd degree murder trial. We will not discuss the excellence or degeneracy of either the shooter or the victim.
As we have written before, it a sad story oft-repeated, young black male with a brief history of flirting with the wrong side of the law, killed before be could manifest whatever it was he would mature into, usually killed by another of his own race. There is little to make this story any more noteworthy than the too-many other daily iterations of Martin's death, but the name and nationality of the shooter caught the eye of some crime reporter scouring the police blotter.
What a bombshell this might have been: Jewish man (=Zimmerman) shoots black teen (Are Jews armed? Don't they volunteer for the ACLU getting blacks their rights?) A sociological truism is that the underdog who is assisted will one day turn against his champions (=perceived betters), and people like Louis Farrakhan made sure no love was lost between the black and Jewish communities. But shooting? Surely Jewish people do not go shooting up blacks for racist reasons. This would have indeed been a coup for some gun-jumping journo, but it was not to be.
Turns out the shooter is Hispanic, and had volunteered time tutoring young black youths in his gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida, described as "a multi-ethnic" gated community. The Zimmermans had lived there since 2009, and Mr. Zimmerman was the community watch captain. So we do not have a rogue Jewish shooter, nor do we have a version of the Crips and the Bloods.
Now, since it is not a rare occurrence for a young black man to be shot by a police officer or a peer, why the outrage surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin? Perhaps the story has become one of place, rather than players. Perhaps this story actually marks the death of the gated community, once the last refuge of affluent whites seeking protection from the ravages that play out daily in the inner cities of our country.
This story has touched a nerve: does it signal the end of the line for "White Flight"? Where do the whites go now that the last bastion of "whitehood" has been breached? The gated community is no longer a white haven, and is patrolled by Hispanic volunteers who will confront the perceived interlopers.
The sanctity of the gated community has been corrupted and penetrated from within by a degraded economy which does not discriminate when taking its victims down. Gated communities are no longer guaranteed havens or retreats from the ills that plague this world, for the residents have all been jostled about by the vagaries of an unstable world.
The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida -- the now multi-ethnic gated community -- is no longer a place of retreat. It is just another community of striving individuals who do not care to look out of their windows when they hear a scuffle or a gunshot. The losers are the people who used to believe that gates could protect them.
26 Feb 2012: R.I.P., Gated Communities. Your death was slow but inexorable; you, the victim of a tanked economy and an ever-multi-culturing society. Whether you will be missed, and/or replaced, remains to be seen.