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23Sept2012V4: ESP's wall and the residents inside and out

ishin's picture

I can't stop thinking about the idea of building residential housing and neighborhoods around a prison.  How anyone thought that was a good idea, or why the government even allowed such a thing.  The answer the tour guide gave was helpful and terse: it's cheaper. But I guess I'm wrestling with the implications of a walled community to be so close to "the outside".  I'm left with questions like "what was it like to live so close to such a space" and "how did it mentally affect them on a daily basis?"  When I pose these questions, I'm thinking about both sides.  After all, it was probably psychologically frustrating to be so close to the "outside" and be able to hear life go on and remain so sequestered.  

But I think more than that, I guess I'm thinking about how I don't necessarily understand what it would be like to deal with a wall that is more "physical" than it is metaphorical.  All the "walls" we often deal with are not actually physically restraining, but more mental blocks.  We all live in an liberal arts college bubble, find ourselves in certain groups of friends, often do not speak to each other even though we are two inches away when we on the computers in the library.  But the men who once lived in Eastern State and the surrounding residents remembered every day that there was an actual wall separating them for the "others".  And at the exact same time, this wall was less concrete and secure as one might assume it to be--things could easily go over the wall, communication could persist, more generally, active communication was involved.

The idea of a wall can be hard to define sometimes.  So many people so close together, and not at the exact same time.