April 11, 2011

Fort Pickens, Florida

Fort Pickens, Florida

Then you have your rotten apples. Stone Mountain is a place where the principal gets robbed on the first day of school and a mom gets arrested for bringing her kid to help her go rob a bank. It’s where a woman gets raped in church and a four-year-old gets shot in the ass during a road-rage incident. Home-invasion robberies are unpleasantly common. People get robbed two years in a row. Burglars pistol-whip their victims then go free due to bureaucratic bungling. Sometimes the victims get gagged so tightly they suffocate. Other times they get murdered point-blank. A single gang is suspected in over 50 Stone Mountain burglaries.

When we called our landlord to tell him a house on our block was burglarized, he said his own home was recently ransacked. The whole operation took three minutes on a sunny day. The neighbors all watched, thinking that the efficient, uniform-wearing robbers were a moving crew.

One day about a week after Obama got elected, my wife was robbed under clear skies in a Decatur, GA, supermarket parking lot. Although she begged the gun-toting teenager to at least let her keep the baby’s medicine, he stole that, too, along with a few hundred dollars and her cell phone. When the robber reactivated her phone about a week later, we called the police detective and told him the case was solved”€”all he had to do was trace the phone. Instead, the detective acted annoyed and did nothing.

Forgive us for thinking that the cops don”€™t care about these sorts of things.

My father-in-law, who’s lived in Stone Mountain since the mid-1960s, says he thinks the Atlanta metro area will erupt into rioting over the next couple years, whether due to hyperinflation, unemployment, or a dried-up welfare teat. Though I”€™m not about to shift gears into full-on Kurt Saxon mode quite yet, the least I can do is make sure my fort is…fortified.

The Castle Doctrine reigns supreme in Georgia, meaning a man’s home is his castle”€”or, if you prefer, his fort”€”and that one is legally entitled to ruthlessly split open the melon of any ineducable ne”€™er-do-well who deliberately pries his way past all your locks and bolts and latches and chains. I”€™ve taken every imaginable step to make it as difficult as possible for them to cross over that line. But were they to poke one toe over it, they”€™d be met with a lightning bolt of epileptic Berserker violence from someone who”€™d take great joy in squashing them like the dung beetles they are.

So that’s why we build forts, kids”€”to make sure things never get to that level.

“€œGood fences make good neighbors,”€ wrote Robert Frost. Better yet, good locks make good forts. The “€œcommunity”€ ends at my front door. It’s where the rest of the world ends and my family’s private world starts.

One day I hope to pack up the kinfolk and head for higher ground”€”somewhere that you don”€™t have to lock any of your doors or windows much less quadruple-lock them. I know it’s daffy, zany, and full-blown red-hot snortin”€™-poppers nutso, but I hope one day to actually live somewhere that feels like a community.

But until we make that move, I”€™m keeping the house on lockdown. I”€™ll let the “€œopen borders”€ types deal with all the party-crashers, intruders, and pistol-whippers. I”€™ll be busy with the power drill and screwdriver, tacking as many borders onto this house as it can handle.



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