by Lyle Lofgren
September 10, 1995
[Note: I thought fear in America was really bad in 1995. Someone should have told me, "You ain't seen nothin' yet." "Hutu" and "Tutsi" refers to the Rwanda genocide of 1994. The wealthy ruling class, the Tutsis, were indiscriminantly slaughtered by the Hutu underclass. It's estimated that over 70% of the Tutsis were killed.]

In lunchtime discussions at work, I've said I favor the equitable distribution of wealth through welfare, because I don't want to be like rich people in India, wading through tiers of beggars when walking between my house and garage. Suburbanites have already thought of this, so the hottest new real estate development in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is Bearpaw, a settlement completely fenced in by razor wire, and with an armed guard at the entrance gate. The residents feel safe: there will be neither beggars to disturb the environment nor burglars to redecorate the rooms in minimalist style. Liz wants to know what they plan to do about the burglars who are born and grow up there.

Ironically, the operators of a recently-busted Los Angeles sweatshop imprisoned their Thai workers with the same kind of wire, keeping the occupants inside an apartment complex. They aroused no suspicion because everyone assumed the razor wire was there to keep hoi-polloi out. This would be a good short story plot: a frightened suburban couple, after viewing the sumptuous model apartment, buy a condo in the fenced community, only to find they can't leave, and must spend the rest of their lives running knitting machines.

I predict that Bearpaw won't be a permanent protection for those scared rich punks. There may be no beggars or burglars, but if the noveau-poor become a miserable majority and gain insight into the cause of their condition (an insight that's always predicted but never seems to happen), they could decide to Hutu the Tutsis. Bearpaw, even with razor wire, will not escape. In the New World Order, mortars and the ammunition for them have become surprisingly affordable.