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Friday, October 2, 2009

Heaven forbid they ever put any tables out there!

I heard a news story on the radio yesterday at lunch (and again with additional info going home) that brought home to me one of the major problems in our society. After I heard it I felt this blog coming on. Here we go... (this may be a bit disjointed, I started this Saturday a.m. and had to quit and went back Saturday evening. I tried to put a link to the newspaper story about this and a computer gremlin pounced upon the bits and bytes and took away half of this. I am now finishing it up Sunday p.m.) The story was about five benches that were placed by the city as a gift from a group that was trying to add ambience or a useful area to a greenway park that runs through parts of downtown Greensboro, NC. The benches, along with some large rocks and some sort of artwork, were place in a semi-circular configuration as an "oasis" and resting spot along the greenway; which until this placement had not had any benches or artwork. Now the problems began. It seems benches are inherently evil; or at least attract those that are. The local community group filed complaints with various city entities to have the benches removed due to "illegal activities" that they attracted. It seems if you install benches it attracts drug dealers, prostitutes, homeless people (which used to be called just "bums" but that is another blog) and all sorts of unsavory types of activities. To hear the head of the community organization talk, it was as if a portal directly to hell had been placed at the mouth of their homes. Remember, we are talking about benches (and rocks, you can go the the Greensboro News & Record website and see the story about a protester that sat unmoving on one of the rocks and would not let the workers take it; until he was arrested) Now my point. I understand the concern of the families living in the community near the benches. Illegal and illicit activities are not condusive to a peaceful existance. However, my amazement came from the fact that no one ever mentioned the problem - the unsavory types that it attracted - or the lack of police presence to eliminate it! Now, if you leave food out on counters and tables it can attract bugs. You can remove the food and clean the counters and the bugs may not be as visible. However, if you want to eliminate the bugs you have to go at the problem - the bugs! You call an exterminator, put out one of the bug baits or traps, or spray poison around. You continue to do so until you are convinced the bugs have moved on or are dead. I know we are dealing with human beings here, no matter how vile or evil they may be. I know that poison is not a reasonable humane answer. I realize that traps are not a civilized response either. There are ways to eliminate these vermin without just taking in the "food" (benches - in case you aren't following). I would maybe recommend a demand to the city council and police for increased police presence in the neighborhood. How about a neighborhood watch? This is a NIMBY response just like a myriad of other responses by people that can't be inconvenienced by the infrastructure required to support our modern way of life. Now I know we are talking benches and rocks here, but I still find that demonizing the benches to be very silly. Just like the saying - "Guns don't kill people, people kill people". I would like to offer up a new one for the citizens of Greensboro, NC - Benches don't commit crimes, people do!" Go sit on a bench somewhere and think about it...