Perhaps you're old enough to remember back when the zoos kept animals in cages, but people were free to roam about.
No more. The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is going to close 10 of its 13 entrances and, perhaps inspired by the top dog in the White House, build a border wall. Or, as it's being called, "supplemental perimeter fencing." The idea is to keep out cars intent on ramming into the zoo like an angry rihinocerous.
This is strange logic, though. A determined driver could ram anyone else, any time, any place. Should we build walls separating the sidewalk from the street?
The Washington Business Journal reports that the wall is just the beginning and "the days of strolling into the zoo unwatched will eventually come to an end." Instead of pleasantly streaming into the zoo, as families, joggers, and tourists do today, visitors will have to pass through "screening pavilions."
The problem with the fortressing of the zoo is what it represents: security overkill. Once you start looking for danger, you will see it everywhere. Which means that once you decide a particular place could be a target and start imagining how to protect it, you go down the prairie dog hole of preventing something that isn't likely to happen.
And yet, you never truly feel secure. Think of the TSA, grabbing cans of Diet Sprite from diabetic 90-year-olds in wheelchairs because somehow they presented a threat. There's no evidence these intrusive security measures make anybody safer. But they will make visiting the zoo much more of a hassle.
Photo Credit: Hal Brindley / VWPics/agefotostock/Newscom