Most comparisons of Florida to our former home in Maskachusetts are positive. The infrastructure here is new, shiny, and smooth. The landscaping in higher income parts of Florida is beautiful (palm trees, flowers, etc.) and that includes our neighborhood of Abacoa, the campus of Florida Atlantic University, the sidewalk behind the beach in Jupiter, etc.
One serious disfigurement of the landscape, however, is that every public school is surrounded in chainlink fence. Where a neighborhood would once have had a nice community feature, i.e., some grass fields on which to stroll or cut across, there is now a big no-go zone that looks like a medium-security prison. You never realized how many public schools a typical town has until you visit a place where schools and their grounds are entirely fenced!
It seems that this is a relatively recent disfigurement… “Fencing among school safety upgrades” (July 7, 2019):
One of the many safety measures school districts must implement to protect school children under a new Florida law is putting fencing up around their schools.
Florida lawmakers passed strict measures after one of the deadliest school shootings in Amercian history when 17 students were gunned down and 17 others were wounded at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland on Feb. 14, 2018.
Charlie Morse, safety director for the Walton County School District, said two schools this summer will get fencing but, “We don’t want it to look like a correctional facility.”
Well… Guess what? When you have a big two-story building surrounded by grass that is then surrounded by 6′-high chainlink fence, it looks exactly like a correctional facility!
The U.S. always had prisons, but now in Florida you can own a $2 million house that is right next to what looks like a prison. (I wonder if these hideous new creations have devalued houses that formerly got a boost from being near the greenspace of a school.)
I’m not sure what the convention/custom was before the fencing went up, but currently it seems that the taxpayers are barred from any access to the school fields at any time. There are a couple of chokepoints where cars can drive through the fence, but I think these are closed after school hours. In any case, I have never seen anyone on a school field after school hours.
Even if the Second Amendment were repealed, and President Harris confiscated all privately owned guns, the fences would stay up forever, right? There might still be someone with a gun in the basement and there is no price too high to pay for children’s safety, I am sure everyone will agree.
At the very least, Florida proves that this is truly a horrible idea for suburban/urban planning. In addition to being ugly, the fenced schools present an obstacle to getting around on foot (essential in a country that will soon have a population 400+ million and no congestion pricing for the roads).
- “Nikolas Cruz’s birth mom had a violent, criminal past. Could it help keep him off Death Row?” (Miami Herald), regarding the perpetrator of the shooting that led to the above rule: His birth mother, Brenda Woodard, was sometimes homeless, and panhandled for money on a highway exit ramp. His adoptive mother, Lynda Cruz, stayed home to manage a 4,500-square-foot, five-bedroom house in the suburbs, with a two-car garage and a sprawling yard. A career criminal, Woodard’s 28 arrests include a 2010 charge for beating a companion with a tire iron; she also threatened to burn the friend’s house down. Lynda Cruz had a clean record. Conventional wisdom suggests that Nikolas Cruz should have taken after the woman who raised him from birth, rather than the one who shared only his DNA. But little of Cruz’s story is conventional. While, by most accounts, Lynda Cruz was thoughtful and disciplined, her adoptive son was violent and impulsive — characteristics he seems to share with the birth mother he never knew. (i.e., follow the science, except when science tells you that criminality is heritable; see also The Son Also Rises and this scholarly article regarding Nikolas Cruz’s sister)