Submitted by Jeff Buster on Sat, 01/19/2008 - 14:15.


Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to visit friends who live in the suburbs outside of Cleveland and I have visited neighborhoods inside of Cleveland. 


In discussions with both the urban and suburban residents home breaking and entering, robbery, and vandalism were keen concerns.  Security is a concern because the conventional American home is completely vulnerable to un-invited entry.   When I was a kid,  homes were broken into on occasion, but home break ins weren’t such a problem that anyone armored their homes with steel window shields like the VPS grates in the above photo.


   Our US society in the past has primarily relied on panes of glass to deter entry into our homes and businesses.   But we all know glass is easily broken - so it isn’t the glass itself which was our defense:  the real defense has been that amorphous thing - MORALITY.   In our society we are taught that it is wrong to violate another person’s personal property.   We are taught that it is wrong to violate another person’s personal space.  


We are taught the GOLDEN RULE - do to others what you would have them do to you. 


But there’s been a change in our neighborhoods - something has pushed the home invasion situation over a precipice - especially  in many urban areas of Cleveland.


Some of us have responded to this change with concealed carry.   Others with mean dogs in their yards and homes.   In Cleveland, Ohio VPS security grates are the window dressing of choice for many.  VPS stands for “vacant property security” but I found a number of homes in Cleveland which are not vacant but still use these grates on their doors and windows.  


From the description in this firefighters blog it is very difficult to remove in a fire situation  without the key.   That’s just the point.


What is it like to live inside of a home with all your windows and doors covered with metal screens?   I bet it’s dark enough to make it easy to sleep late.


While out in suburbia - where you would think the neighborhoods would be comfortable with their wealth,  housewives are taking classes to learn how to handle and shoot a firearm.  The NRA is thriving. 


I think we are sadly off track in our modern security “solutions”.   We need to go back to using thin window glass as armor. 

VPS-security-screens-in-Cle.jpg66.19 KB
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EC students will be our Ambassadors to China

  Listen to today's podcast of the City Club of Cleveland (they have not removed the word Cleveland from this institution, yet). 

  Friday, January 18, 2008

The Honorable Zhou Wenzhong
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
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East Cleveland's Marching Band will represent our high school students in China. 

Ed Morrison asks:  Have we invested in our children?

Welcome to Colombia

Jeff--the two tier society that exists in Colombia is the new reality we live with in Cleveland. 

Our world is called CLEVELAND--you may try to erase the name, but it won't erase the problem.  That's right, world--don't believe the hype.  Until, we really make an attempt to solve the problem: the people who run away, and barricade themselves in the hinterland a la Feagler, the people who forget the city and allow it to disintegrate; we will be breeding a meaner, vicious sub-urban culture that will resort to more extreme tactics in this WAR.

Look at Colombia--they want to believe in the veneer of their high culture.  The wealth there is so unevenly distributed that they live with drugs, kidnappings, armored cars, and guns as an everyday reality. 

Welcome to Colombia, the city formerly known as Cleveland, Ohio--

Picked up by the PD

You are in good company this week, Jeff--your story was picked up by the PD's Blog 5, along with some other voices worth our attention.  Debra Weaver again talks about institutional racism and the fear and hate economy that is "driving" Northeast Ohio.   

Today is the day we commemorate the thoughts and words of Martin Luther King. We can do better.  We need a community-driven economy that helps each of us succeed.  The opportunity is here--let's make it now.