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Bridges, Boundaries, and Burbs
June 7, 2005 2:44 PM   Subscribe

On the way to work today, I heard an advertisement for "the nation's first ever sex-offender-free subdivision" (link to mov). Milwaukee Ridge, the brainchild of I&S Investments, will be located on the outskirts of Lubbock, Texas, and offer "the best features of a family-friendly lifestyle," including "background checks on adults buying homes and juveniles expected to live in the homes." I can't help but think of Stephenson's burbclaves. When, if ever, does the definition of a private community become a public concern?
posted by rush (59 comments total)

 
"convicted-sex-offender-free", surely.

Silly Americans. You should know by now that you and your children will never be safe.
posted by ODiV at 2:47 PM on June 7, 2005


And after glancing at the article, it does indeed say convicted.
posted by ODiV at 2:51 PM on June 7, 2005


I can't wait to move there and get me some action. It'll be like picking up chicks at gay clubs - everyone's defenses will be down. Hot damn! Easy pickings!
posted by fungible at 2:53 PM on June 7, 2005


So if you're convicted of a sex crime after you already live there you'll have to sell? Is that really enforcable?
posted by grouse at 2:53 PM on June 7, 2005


Look, a sex offender! Scary, scary, America!

As long as we can whip up hysteria about sex offenders prey on your children, you won't even notice that the Texas public schools are teaching them "creation science".

By the way: Ay-rab terr'rist! Scary, scary! In your fearfulness, please to ignore the tax breaks for the rich.
posted by orthogonality at 2:56 PM on June 7, 2005


Can't wait till they start failing people for the background check by looking at them.Then we'll really have burbclaves. You can't allow any undesirable elements in the community can't we.

That said if I was a parent I wouldn't think this would make my kids any safer just give us a greater illusion of safety. Sex offenders can get access because a. they're family b. they're school related c. they're church related d. they go places children play e. they're neighbors

I personally think that the place your least likely to have them coming in from is as neighbors.

But again I'm not a parent
posted by Rubbstone at 3:04 PM on June 7, 2005


Ah, ortho. Somehow I KNEW this related to W. Thanks for drawing the connection for me.
posted by jonson at 3:05 PM on June 7, 2005


ortho, do you actually think the problem is that people don't notice that their schools are teaching creation science? I wish I could agree, but I don't they're trying to distract people from that at all - because people like that fact! It's nice rhetoric, but what on earth are you talking about?
posted by freebird at 3:06 PM on June 7, 2005


freebird writes "ortho, do you actually think the problem is that people don't notice that their schools are teaching creation science? "

Sure, some are ecstatic about it. But most parents are too busy making a living and raising their kids to notice, or if they do notice to evaluate the issue and to do anything about it.

The obsession with scary but rare threats -- how many kids are killed by sex predators compared to kids killed in car accidents or by drowning -- is part of what distracts parents.

and it's "orthogonality", not "ortho"
posted by orthogonality at 3:12 PM on June 7, 2005


Most kids are abused by people in their families. So I guess what this means is that fathers and older brothers won't have any competition. Idiots.
posted by OmieWise at 3:16 PM on June 7, 2005


On second thought, fucking idiots.
posted by OmieWise at 3:17 PM on June 7, 2005


Yeah, this is retarded and backwards thinking. Convicted sex-offenders are alot less dangerous because they are known. The ones that haven't been caught are the ones to be scared of, or whatever you do when you realize that there are some pretty despicable people in the universe.

False sense of security aside, this is a pretty smart marketing tactic for the developer to employ. Employing fear tactics to close homes is a great idea, even if it total crap.
posted by fenriq at 3:21 PM on June 7, 2005


I'm going to move my family to Safetyclave. There will be no criminals or bullies. Also, no low grades, and all the kids will get gold star stickers. There are no bullies, profane language, or disturbing ideas in Safetyclave. There will be no sharp objects or hard surfaces. Then we won't be scared all of the time.
posted by Loudmax at 3:25 PM on June 7, 2005


Sure, some are ecstatic about [creation science in schools].

Some, like a majority or damn close to it. Pretty respectable polls show just under half of Americans would support teaching Creationsim instead of evolution, and it jumps up to the 70s when you say "alongside evolution". Yah, yah, polls don't mean anything. Nonetheless, I think you may not be clear on what the majority of Americans actually WANT when you talk about how they're being distracted by sex-predator fear mongering. The reality is they're getting exaclty what they want.

Sorry for the derail, but I think it's a red herring to tie this into education policy, other than to say people are increasingly seeking out enironments where they get what they want culturally. I'm not really comfortable with the burbclaves, and really not comfortable at all with creationism being taught in schools - but the former seems like a very different issue from the latter. Public schools represent what we'd like society as a whole to be, and are intimately tied to the government. So it's reasonable to talk as a society about what should go on there. OTOH, if people all want to live with other like themselves, surely they have that right no matter how damaging we may think it is to society at large, or how pointless?
posted by freebird at 3:27 PM on June 7, 2005


So this shall be a religion free zone?
posted by guruguy9 at 3:37 PM on June 7, 2005


I think it will be a free religion zone, so long as the religion you chose to practice is Christianity. Halleluyahgobble!
posted by fenriq at 3:52 PM on June 7, 2005


and it's "orthogonality", not "ortho"

Anything you say, orthy.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 3:57 PM on June 7, 2005


I'm imagining a MeFi'er-friendly burbclave....THAT might be a worthwhile derail....
posted by alumshubby at 3:58 PM on June 7, 2005


thedevildancedlightly writes Anything you say, orthy."

Don't be an ass.
posted by orthogonality at 4:01 PM on June 7, 2005


Now can I get one of those rad-ass skateboards with the smart wheels, and surf about these burbclaves with impunity?
posted by salad spork at 4:14 PM on June 7, 2005


How about "The Big O"?
posted by freebird at 4:24 PM on June 7, 2005


freebird writes "Pretty respectable polls show just under half of Americans would support teaching Creationsim instead of evolution, and it jumps up to the 70s when you say 'alongside evolution'."

I remember reading something equally vague about 70+% of Americans also believing that Saddam was behind 9/11.
posted by clevershark at 4:26 PM on June 7, 2005


> Don't be an ass.

Sorry, thog.
posted by jfuller at 4:33 PM on June 7, 2005


freebird writes:

if people all want to live with other like themselves, surely they have that right no matter how damaging we may think it is to society at large, or how pointless?

Actually, no. We've had this argument (in the USA) a couple of times already and it's been pretty well established that you can't keep people who are different from you out of your community. (where "different from you" has a constantly evolving definition).
posted by jlub at 4:33 PM on June 7, 2005


The argument does bump into religion and eduction, of course. If people live together with others who share their beliefs and class, they will obviously want to educate their kids in a manner befitting their class and beliefs.

So then, do we just say they can teach their kids whatever superstitions they want? I think the question is epiphenomenal to the whole burbclave issue, and both Yes and No seem like scary answers.

I truly believe Evolution is a better worldview (sorry). So on the one hand, I think communities which raise their kids as creationists will do less well in the modern ecosystem, and the problem will self-correct. OTOH, this kind of "market forces" argument is pretty creepy when you think about the lives of the kids making up the "experiment"...

OP clevershark: don't mistake me - I don't mean that because 70% believe something means it's a true or even respectable idea. My point was that it's preposterous to think the government wants to distract people from the fact of Creationism in schools, since so many of them think it's a great idea! As I hope is clear, I personally find Creationism to be the biggest challenge to my open-mindedness and an abhorrent scourge on the face of modern mythology, let alone science.

OPP jlub: That's interesting, and I do know there's lots of anti-discrimination laws in place. But if I buy up a lot of land, do you mean I can't decide who gets to live there? I guess not - there are laws about who you can refuse rental properties to, etc. So then how can they do something like this?
posted by freebird at 4:39 PM on June 7, 2005


On the one hand this is the same old, same old. You used to see people advertising, sometimes quite blatantly, the fact that their neighborhoods were without Blacks, or Jews, or Poles. On the other hand, there's something almost 1984ish about this in its marketing slickness. I wonder when we'll start to seeing advertisements isolated Christian developments that are homosexual-free and then perhaps "low-probability terrorists" ie non-Arabs.
posted by nixerman at 4:49 PM on June 7, 2005


On the one hand this is the same old, same old.

Indeed. I had some Philly friends who were having trouble selling their house, and their neighbors overtly threatened them to not sell to black people, as in "You better not sell to blacks, if you know what's good for you."

Pretty respectable polls show just under half of Americans would support teaching Creationsim instead of evolution, and it jumps up to the 70s when you say "alongside evolution".

Got a source for that? I don't disbelieve you, but I'm skeptical.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:53 PM on June 7, 2005


"You used to see people advertising, sometimes quite blatantly, the fact that their neighborhoods were without Blacks, or Jews, or Poles."
& you used to see people moving blacks, jews, the icky ethnic folks du jour - into those neighborhoods, forcing some to sell for a tidy profit, then moving the folks du jour out and starting all over again.

"Most kids are abused by people in their families."
No they aren't. It's not true if I don't believe it. Let's just not pay attention to that at all.
*sticks fingers in ears*
LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!

Yeah, bigotry, ideology, etc, - it's the best way to make money off the suckers.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:02 PM on June 7, 2005


"the nation's first ever sex-offender-free subdivision"

Wow, so that's really the most appealing thing that they can say about their subdivision?
posted by afroblanca at 5:13 PM on June 7, 2005


Got a source for that? I don't disbelieve you, but I'm skeptical.

Me too - I do statistics, so I know how silly such polls can be. Nontheless, as much as I'd like this to be untrue, and how preposterous it seems in the world *I* live in, I see it mentioned enough I think there's some truth to it. I've seen gallup polls saying this, and they seem fairly solid. All I can find at the moment is this summary.
posted by freebird at 5:13 PM on June 7, 2005


"Hanson and Bourgon (2004) in a study of 31,216 sex offenders found that, on average, the observed sexual recidivism rate was 13%, the violent non-sexual recidivism was 14%, and general recidivism was 36.9%." [cite]

I don't think I'd live in a neighborhood like this because I think they'd have too many other "covenants" that would infringe on something I might want to do, but I don't think choosing a neighborhood like this is a completely invalid risk assessment on the part of a parent.
posted by sohcahtoa at 5:16 PM on June 7, 2005


and it's "orthogonality", not "ortho"

As soon as I saw this post, I knew people would immediately turn into knuckle-dragging name-callers. I expect the bad feelings this generates to hang around for a week.

Why? Because this is Metafilter, no longer the best of anything. But that's okay, you're just having a little fun. Grow up, be a man, right?

We now return you to Fark Lite the thread in progress.
posted by Maxson at 5:23 PM on June 7, 2005


So then how can they do something like this?

Probably laws vary from state to state. Also, possibly they're just doing it whether it is legal or not -- 'so sue me'.

Oh, and that summary is high-larious. Only 67% of creationists belive in creationism. (Of course, only 90% of evolutionists belive in evolution). Maybe they just checked the wrong box...
posted by jlub at 5:27 PM on June 7, 2005


as an architect with a passion for urban planning this just sends me further along my little path of dispair. i am sure there will be a Thomas Kinkade painting over every couch,
and 5lb. bags of pre-grated cheese in every 42" fridge.

ikaarumba.

what a load of crap.

when i am ruler of the universe it will be different.
posted by tarantula at 5:43 PM on June 7, 2005


Hmm - recheck the summary, jlub - 67% of creationists believe in what I'll call "strong" creationism, while 28% believe in "weak" creationism - the "guided" evolution idea. If you're a darwinian, "guided" evolution is no evolution at all.

Simlarly with "evolutionists" and the "strong" and "weak" forms of that. Admittedly, I have no idea what is going on with the 10% of people identifying as "evolutionists" who say god created humanity in the last 10k years. I think perhaps they just believe their strange creationism IS evolutionism, or something.
posted by freebird at 5:45 PM on June 7, 2005


first they came for the sex offenders
and I did not speak out
because I was not a sex offender
posted by a thousand writers drunk at the keyboard at 5:58 PM on June 7, 2005


tarantula, thanks for letting me know about that 'artist' Mr Kinkade. I'm sure he's very collectible, like those Franklin mint kitsch items.

As for the gated community, well the culture wars have been won and lost - at least we'll each know where to find the opposing forces when the shooting starts.
posted by wilful at 6:07 PM on June 7, 2005


whoa. i agree. according to his site, tom kinkade is the best selling artist in america. oh, expatriation.
posted by es_de_bah at 7:20 PM on June 7, 2005


Thomas Kinkade started a planned community in Northern California a few years back, based on his paintings (the painter of the light, that is). There no longer seems to be a web site for it tho, or else i could not find it. Anyway, it is based on his "christian family" value sas well, and there are numurous reviews/critiques of it out there.

again. ikaarumba.
posted by tarantula at 7:32 PM on June 7, 2005


Well, as long as people who move in there stay on the inside, I think it'll be better for everybody...
posted by c13 at 7:39 PM on June 7, 2005


Here is the Thomas Kinkade development. I heard about it the same way rush heard about the sex-offender-free one--in the car, on the radio. I had to pull over and call a friend right away, my sensibilities were so aggrieved.

I wouldn't be surprised if there were more sex crimes than average in this new development. Someone might move there thinking his/her own perversions would be curtailed by the rules, only to find the forbidden acts seem even more thrilling by their very "badness".

That said, there are several registered sex offenders living within a 5 block radius of me. (Found through a FPP I can't find anymore.)
posted by blissing at 7:49 PM on June 7, 2005


I'm not sure how this is permissible. If every community in the country enacted such laws, then sex offenders would not be allowed to live anywhere. So then what?

Can a city, town, or subdivision enact a law banning any ex-convicts instead of just sex offenders?

Doesn't this just shift the problem of living next to a sex offender from one group of people to another? Is that right?
posted by RalphSlate at 8:55 PM on June 7, 2005


Doesn't this just shift the problem...

That's the whole point. It's the American Way, you know.
posted by aramaic at 9:07 PM on June 7, 2005


No - the American way would be for the convicts and sex offenders to get fed up, and go make their own gated community where no-one who'd never been in jail could live. Then over time, the younger generations from the anti-convict burbclaves would start to "slum" in the pro-convict burbclaves because is was cool and dangerous. The people in the no-convict zones would start to affect the styles and jargon of the people in the all-convict zones, while the people in the latter would develop stable communities and economics of their own, driven in no small part by the visitors from the former. In time, the all-convict zones would become gentrified as the non-convicts moved in - the no non-convict rules simply providing a way for convicts to make money by circumventing them as real estate brokers and title-holders. In time, the all-convict clades would become expensive real-estate zones, and the original residents would all either have made enough money to move into the original no-convict zones (now either decrepit and run-down, or pleasant working class neighborhoods) or be too poor to live in what was originally the convict burbclave, and be driven into lives of crime or seething desperation.

The great wheel of being and becoming would continue to roll its way ever westward into the sunset, the roles of all those in the dance turning and turning and returning again.
posted by freebird at 9:20 PM on June 7, 2005


Wow, so that's really the most appealing thing that they can say about their subdivision?

Well, it's a suburb of Lubbock, so yes.
posted by Vetinari at 9:21 PM on June 7, 2005


Little boxes made out of ticky tacky.
posted by Goofyy at 9:37 PM on June 7, 2005


That was some good, good stuff freebird. Thanks for that.

Now I need a drink.
posted by teece at 9:49 PM on June 7, 2005


tarantula, I agree. While I would rather not have a convicted sex offender next door I would also not want to live with the sort of folks a place like this would appeal to. And, while I have only anecdotal evidence to work with, I know several people who were sexually abused as children and in every case it was a family member.
posted by arse_hat at 9:55 PM on June 7, 2005


seriously, freebird, nice!

you're like the kundera of metafilter or something. in tribute, i shout "freebird" at you whilst holding up a lighter.

a lighter i got while in prison.
posted by Hat Maui at 10:30 PM on June 7, 2005


1.you can find sex offenders in yur area by searching for "megan's law"
2.the third link lists 34% percent of offenders as family members, which is not really what I would call "most"
3. if it makes parents feel better, why no let them have their little "safe town"? Is it really un-PC to not feel bad for people who rape and kill children?
posted by slimslowslider at 12:16 AM on June 8, 2005


sorry-megan's law is only for California. I always assume that if we have it here, its everywhere.
posted by slimslowslider at 12:22 AM on June 8, 2005


That would be 34% of known offenders. If the probability of discovery and prosecution is lower for family members than for outsiders, then the Dark Figure would be higher for this category than for others.
posted by TimothyMason at 12:52 AM on June 8, 2005


You know, people can become "convicted sex offenders" by engaging in the most inoccuous behavior. Mooning, for instance, can get you charged with indecent exposure, and if you plead guilty-- whammo! You're on the group W bench with the rest of the mother stabbers and father rapers.

I'll be really interested to see what happens in this subdivision the first time the try to kick out someone's nine year old.

And another point-- can you imagine how difficult it will be for a kid who is sexually assaulted by another resident to report the abuse? Especially if it's by a family member? Reporting is horrible enough for a kid, without the kid's having to worry about losing his or her house over it.

The people who thought this up are medical-grade stupid.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:34 AM on June 8, 2005


The place is called "Milwaukee Ridge". Famous people from Milwaukee... where do we start? How about Jeffrey Dahmer?
posted by SteveInMaine at 2:56 AM on June 8, 2005


5lb. bags of pre-grated cheese

I love pre-grated cheese. I love all grated cheese.
posted by OmieWise at 6:43 AM on June 8, 2005


"Milwaukee Ridge" -- a suburb of Lubbock, Texas? Maybe it got its name from a long, high pile of empty beer cans and bottles outside of town?
posted by alumshubby at 8:04 AM on June 8, 2005


I look forward to visiting this community, and watching the hapless Chinese restaurant owner defend his "shitty wall" from the hordes of Mongolians attacking from outside.
posted by junkbox at 9:29 AM on June 8, 2005


Oh, sure, "the nation's first ever sex-offender-free subdivision" SOUNDS like a good place ... but they've messed up. If they really want to attract people 'cos it's safe they should be advertising it as "the nation's first ever sex-offender and terrorist-free subdivision". I reckon a lot more people would be picking up the phones ... :)
posted by kaemaril at 2:25 PM on June 8, 2005


All I have to say is that just because they aren't allowed to move in to the subdivision, doesn't mean they can't prowl around in there.
posted by ringie78 at 6:16 AM on June 11, 2005


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