Technology has evolved to a point where buildings themselves can order street people out and trap burglars in an elevator (Davis 368). Schools, prisons, and neighborhoods are adding extreme measures of security. In theory, these measures are taken in order to protect people. However, these developments raise questions at a deeper level. Do we take actions to respond to problems, or do we take actions to eliminate the problems at their root? At a meeting I had with Molly (our area coordinator) earlier this semester, we were discussing the holes that people had punched in the walls of LoRo. One possible option is to fill the walls with cement so that people cannot punch holes in them. However, Molly would rather solve the problem of people wanting to punch holes in the walls in the first place! Instead of teaching our kids how to “drop at a teacher’s signal in case of another drive-by shooting,” why don’t we try to not have shootings anymore? The solution may differ, but the problem we are trying to solve should be the same. If we continue to adapt to the problems around us, we will end up like the societies in Parable of the Sower and Blade Runner. It is to everyone’s benefit that we strive to eliminate the root of the problems as opposed to taking action to respond to them. The problem with simply creating more laws is that laws not only affect those who break it, but they affect everyone, including innocent people.
If the rules don’t respect the people, the people won’t respect the rules. Often times, robbers, gang members, and drug addicts are in their position because The System has mistreated them and left them with no other option. They owe nothing – no respect or obedience – to The System that has classified them as worthless. Before the semester began, the RAs put effort into our door decorations in hopes that the residents would respect the building. In putting our time and effort into making the building look nice for the residents, we hoped that the residents would respect us and the building. Ultimately, we understand that living together is a give and take relationship. This idea is true for society as a whole as well.
One way to tackle the root of a problem is to give people equal influence in shaping the community that they live in. Gentefication is the idea that the gente (people) who grew up in the community should be the ones to transform it because they care about the existing culture and will preserve its integrity. Gentefiction gives people authority to create their community, which increases the chances of them respecting it. Davis’ discussion about pro-police residents (Watch captains) made me wonder: Should the people in power be representative of the population they are leading? (390). The challenge is breaking the stereotypes of what a leader should look like, and instead understanding that personal experience is the most important characteristic in a leader.