Posted in Around Town

Let Me Set the Battlements on Fire

I read in the Pasadena Star News a while back that the Pasadena Police Department came up with a set of recommendations for John Muir High School. One of the recommendations (article here) was to install higher fences.

This is the fence at Hollywood High School. Call me pie-in-the-sky, but wouldn’t it be nice if school campuses didn’t need fences?

The place I grew up, RAF Lakenheath, has a big fence around it.  If I tried to get in there today, I couldn’t.  I don’t have the proper documentation (i.e., I’m not active military).

Same goes for walls. The world has a history of building walls to keep in or keep out. You know what they are: The Great Wall of China – with a history so long it defies summarization. Hadrian’s Wall, built by the Romans in Britain to keep the northerners (the Picts) out. The Berlin Wall – it’s gone now but I hear that Berlin feels like a city without a true center (haven’t been there myself). Then we’ve got the newcomers – the Israeli West Bank barrier. That big ole thing between the U.S. and Mexico.

I’m not here to talk about the political pros and cons of these walls. My Subaru-driving liberal self just wanted to have a wistful moment, imagining a world without walls.

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one

Sting – Fortress Around Your Heart – Because the personal is political.


This is a personal blog. Expect a potpourri of stuff.

7 thoughts on “Let Me Set the Battlements on Fire

  1. Most schools didn’t use to have fences. Mine didn’t.
    But, as ethics/morals have declined, selfishness has increased, more prohibitive laws have been written, and fences have risen,

    Our inner sheriffs have gotten smaller, while our heads have gotten bigger.

  2. What is the reason behind the fences at John Muir? Are outsiders coming in to cause trouble? Usually it is the high school kids themselves who are the troublemakers?

  3. My guess is that the fence: 1) Keeps anyone with ill-intentions away from students; 2) Provides for crowd control when the school buildings have to be emptied due to a fire drill, bomb scare, etc (students can’t just wander off).; 3) Helps protect school property during non-school hours. But cheezus, fences around schools are butt-ugly.

  4. I went to my high school reunion in Illinois in August. They still don’t have fences around the school. I imagine it’s just a matter of time.

  5. I once read a book called “China Against the World” that discusses the Great Wall and walls in general in Chinese society. The author made the point that a wall is a sign of political failure to deal with the issue that caused the wall to be erected in the first place. That’s not to say that walls are failures, but a sign of a solution of last resort, that the wall is the literal last possible barrier against what is being walled out.

  6. The school where I work, right here in Southern California, in a not-very-wealthy, suffering from a little tagging, barely avoiding gang problem area, does not have fences or walls around it. As the neighboring schools are riddled with problems that we deal with occasionally at our school, I have come to believe that part of our success comes from the fact that we treat kids like we trust them.

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