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The perception that modern day crooks, in addition to having figured out how to manipulate the law to their advantage, are ostentatious came to me overnight. I suppose it's a consequence of tracing how and by whom some of our so-called "gated communities" were acquired and developed to hide what are surely ill-gotten gains.

Perhaps it is unfair to suggest that medical doctors, when they are lured into purchasing building lots on the edges of marshes and meandering streams, nature's nurseries for crustaceans and fish, are investing ill-gotten gains. But, even as their participation in a scheme, where manicured laws and exotic vegetation are maintained via chemical additives and toxins, is going to have a negative consequence down stream, much of today's profitable medical enterprise is largely a consequence of our natural and man-made environment having been poisoned by industrial pollutants long ago. The chronic illnesses and cancers being "managed" by doctors to put money in their purse didn't just blossom out of nothing in the last two decades.

There is lots of culpability to go around.  So, we shouldn't be surprised that the crooks are looking for safety behind walls and electronic fences and fenestration that no longer opens to the no longer fresh air.  "Gated community" is an oxymoron. Or would be, if it weren't for the binary brain's inability to comprehend modifiers. Just as a "commons" or common area in these enclaves doesn't make them a community, the gates don't specify. Rather, the gates represent antagonism towards the outside world and the "commons" stands for the segregation the residents enjoy. Perhaps "enjoy" is going too far. But, this self-segregation by the monetarily affluent, who get into their wheeled cages in their garages and, strapped and locked in, drive out on their private roads, is obviously designed to make them feel secure.

Now, while insecurity may be endemic, the ostentation displayed by the promoters and denizens of these secure enclaves suggests that they have reason to feel insecure, to be wary of the pitchforks of a resentful public, even as they can't resist crowing about what they've pulled off. What leads me to that suggestion?

We need look no further than Hamilton Landing on St. Simons Island to find evidence of ostentation on the part of people whose expressed intentions are secretive. If they really wanted to be secluded, they wouldn't put pictures of their interiors on the internet when it comes time to sell.

Perhaps mere words are not persuasive enough:

This immaculate custom built Hamilton Landing home offers breathtaking marsh and water views. This property is a rare find as it offers frontage on Dunbar Creek , it's own private dock with elevated deck to enjoy the views, a floating dock for easy water access, large covered porch, open patio and a beautifully landscaped yard all in mid-south SSI.
Perhaps the superficial optics are supposed to distract from the fact that the asking price, $1,650,000, seems just a tad out of line with the $528,000 assessed market value suggested by the county. Is there evidence of ostentation in the asking price? Perhaps; perhaps not. After all, the house next door was bought by a U.S. Senator for $900,000 just three years ago and, surely, that alone accounts for an increase in value. That the Senator acquired his house from HSBC BANK, in what was likely a foreclosure sale may also be relevant, or not. The Senator is obviously a shrewd buyer, having picked up two other neighboring parcels, which sold during the top of the bubble for $845,000, for a mere $482,500. Two for the price of one would be better, but this is close. How much is having a Senator in the neighborhood worth? Sometimes the gilt by association translates into real money.

It could turn out to be a real godsend. After all, according to the Georgia Secretary of State, the property is home to Life's Answer Church, Inc., which C. Conrad Mershon, Jr. organized in 1997. Perhaps accessing the church in the gated community proved inconvenient for the congregation and accounts for the desire to sell and, undoubtedly, donate any profit to some worthy missionary cause.

We expect thieves to be secretive. Perhaps that's their advantage. They perpetrate their schemes in plain sight, even waiting, perhaps, until somebody notices. Ostentation, it seems, ought not to be dismissed. On the other hand, there's no point being envious, either. If they're ostentatiously securing themselves, they're probably doing us a favor, these job creators.

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Comment Preferences

  •  When something fails, it's just possible that (11+ / 0-)

    it was designed to fail.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 05:54:56 AM PST

  •  So many criminal acts that used to be (6+ / 0-)

    politely hidden and overlooked have been more and more blatantly committed right before our eyes. They laugh and make jokes about their crimes within our hearing. Now it's gilded architecture to blot out our sun.
    By forcing history to repeat itself, they're designing themselves to fail. Again. We watch their ostentatious excesses and we wait and hope. :-P
    What a great post, hannah. It connects a lot of dots. Thanks.

    I ♥ President Obama and have his back.
    Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO subsidies to rich Corps.
    Rich pay more, bloated DoD steal less. End war on Afghanistan 01/01/14.

    by OleHippieChick on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 06:40:32 AM PST

    •  It is a bit circuitous, I'll admit. (5+ / 0-)

      But, perhaps it will add a bit to the body of information that needs to reach a tipping point.

      It is very difficult to call to account people who don't do their jobs. The Party of No has a distinct advantage there.

      Prosecutors provide a practical example. Not only do they have absolute immunity because there is a presumption that any decisions they make are purely ministerial -- i.e. they are objective because they just move information from the executive branch to the judiciary--but their decisions to nol process cannot be challenged in any venue. The Federal Tort Claims Act provides an opportunity for individuals who have been harmed to bring suit against an individual public official, but the harm has to be measurable and when a public official does nothing, there is nothing to measure.
      Similarly, when public officials don't tax and leave the public treasury bare, there is nothing to charge them with. They are being derelict in the performance of their duties to manage the public purse, but it's hard to call that dereliction to account.

      How to deal with people who, like "bartleby the scrivener" prefer not to do? 'Tis a puzzlement.

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 06:52:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nowhere have I witnessed this --whatever you (3+ / 0-)

      want to call it--more than here in AZ.  

      The struggle to maintain the appearance of invulnerability in light of blatant criminality must be exhausting. It requires creating fear to generate complacency among the "have-nots," and, on occasion, a heart transplant.

      •  I dunno, call it "Eminence Front," It's a Put-on! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Conspicuous consumption. It's creepy. An architectural example: huge mansions on Dune Road in Southampton LI, sitting so spookily close to the ocean, looming over the ocean really, and you know they won't have to pay to have them rebuilt when they're swept away. And rebuild they will, larger. Some sort of careless hubris, I guess. To me they, the insanely rich, seem like conscienceless bad seeds. :-\

        I ♥ President Obama and have his back.
        Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO subsidies to rich Corps.
        Rich pay more, bloated DoD steal less. End war on Afghanistan 01/01/14.

        by OleHippieChick on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 05:36:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Fabulous diary--thanks so much! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

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