FLOTSAM & JETSAM: Who needs walls?
EMAIL: ssmith@igc.org

Friday, January 25, 2019

Who needs walls?

Sam Smith- The latest cover of the New Yorker showing Trump building a wall around his White House desk brings up a topic that has been missing in the discussion of the Trump border wall: namely who needs walls?

Walls are manically important to those who have great wealth or power yet fear those without them. I wrote about this some time ago:

Many years ago some people built castles and walled cities and moats to keep the bad guys out. It worked for a while, but sooner or later spies and assassins figured out how to get across the moats and opponents learned how to climb the walls and send balls of fire into protected compounds. The Florentines even catapulted dead donkeys and feces over the town wall during their siege of Siena.

The people who built castles and walled cities and moats are all dead now and their efforts at security seem puny and ultimately futile as we visit their unintended monuments to the vanity of human presumption.

And After 9/11 I wrote:

After 9/11 the Capitol turned into an armed camp. The Capitol Visitors Center, under construction, was modified to serve as a bunker for members of Congress in case of an attack and the Capitol police force soared to three officers per member of Congress with the greatest number of police per acre of any spot in America. In the end the visitor’s center/bunker would cost over $600 million, just slightly less than the city’s new baseball stadium. Perhaps the most telling change was when the Capitol police, as a security measure, moved all tourist bus traffic a few blocks away. In essence, the police declared the lives of residents of 3rd & 4th Streets less important than those of officials working at or near the Capitol.

I would later tell people that I knew exactly where the war on terror ended: 2nd Street. Living four blocks further to the east, there would never be the slightest sign that my safety was of any concern to the White House or Homeland Security.