When most people hear the name “Las Vegas”, they of course instantly start thinking about the bright lights and over-the-top attractions of “the Strip”. A mirage of pleasure, it’s a place where people fly in from around the world to indulge virtually every hedonistic desire under the sun, (in air-conditioned comfort of course), in the middle of desert.
Start driving in any direction away from the Strip, however, and you start to see something quite different.
The rest of the Vegas Valley is comprised of an endless array of streets lined with concrete walls, punctuated by iron gates, which every so often cross at strip-mall-adorned junctions. Honestly, if we were to somehow line up all the cinder blocks used to build the “fences” surrounding all the homes and businesses here in Las Vegas alone, it would no doubt circle the globe. This was perhaps the most difficult of all aspects of this city for me to get used to, and it admittedly remains something that I have still never been able to get comfortable with. After living here for almost two years now, I still can’t get over the feeling that what has essentially been constructed is a massive artificial edifice that makes one feel like a rat in a giant, sun-scorched maze.
For the first year, we actually lived in a gated-community, which, (unlike in the Pacific Northwest where such things are rather rare and typically only a part of country-club-type elite neighborhoods), are very much the norm here. It was a “nice” little development, nothing fancy or “upper-middle class” or anything, but it was truly a strange thing to try and get accustomed to, having to have a remote control on hand just to get access to our own house. Even to go out for a walk, you could only leave the enclosed neighborhood through one of two electrically-powered gates, one for cars, another for pedestrians. It honestly did make me feel incredibly claustrophobic after a while, all the houses being built ridiculously close together, so that you couldn’t even go out into your postage-stamp-sized yard without the windows of at least five other houses looking down on you.
Currently we are now living in a neighborhood without any gates, or neighbor’s houses that are less than five feet from our own, but this of course brings other challenges. We’ve had people steal things right out of our front and back yards, spray paint the side of our house, etc. So essentially you have to weigh the costs between either living like a rat in a cage, or feeling like you’re at the mercy of anyone who can physically get access to you or your stuff. Honestly, I still feel more at ease taking my chances with the “riff raff”, since the more I reflect upon the broader implications of just accepting this idea that “comfortable suburban living” is synonymous with living in a low-level prison, the less I seem to like it.
“Agenda 21” is a UN-backed, multi-pronged plan which on the surface claims to be aimed at creating “sustainable urban environments” which are hailed as some kind of utopian, environmentally-friendly idea of having cities where the populations are tightly-packed into dense areas in the middle, surrounded by “local agriculture” and pristine nature. The environmentalist aspect is really nothing more than a ruse however, while the tightly-packed-humanity aspect is the true end-goal.
The rather insidious goals of “agenda 21” were already something I was familiar with before moving here, but I suppose it wasn’t something I was able to imagine quite so vividly, when living in a place like Seattle, where even if the densest areas of urban sprawl you are still surrounded everywhere by pockets of “greenbelts”, and the notion of building vast stretches of grid-like housing developments is made near-impossible by the mountainous topography.
But here? I admit it’s really a very unsettling thing to consider, when you start to realize that the ENTIRE valley which the city sits in really only has around five major road-routes that connect it with the rest of the country. Seriously, it would only require a handful of roadblocks to effectively quarantine the entire population within this little desert bowl, unless you were willing to try hiking your way out over a lot of empty dirt, and some pretty imposing mountains after that. So when I ponder things such as the possibility of martial law being declared, or more specifically, all this talk lately about military exercises such as “Jade Helm 15“, it’s not at all something I find myself scoffing at.
In the end, I guess the thing that I have been coming to realize more and more the last couple of years is that walls and gates always have two sides. They not only work to keep the “riff raff” out, but they can in fact just as easily be turned and used to keep YOU in, especially if some kind of “national emergency” were to happen, and suddenly everyone found themselves being treated like potential “riff raff” by the powers-that-be…