If they build it, will they … know it?

News item: Residents in Virden Addition had warned city leaders for weeks that a correctional facility was under construction in their backyard.

But city leaders told the residents publicly that no facility was planned. … Louis Armstrong, interim deputy director of code services, said his office learned last week that construction had, in fact, begun on the facility. – The Clarion-Ledger, April 8, 2009.

Correctional fluid
This brings up the old “if-a-tree-falls-in-the-forest” question.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear it … does it make a sound?

If a correctional facility is under construction in the neighborhood and no city leaders are there to see it … does it exist?

As far as the city was concerned, Virden’s correctional facility did not exist until an inspector finally came out and looked at it: “Yep, that’s a correctional facility under construction in the neighborhood, all right.”

It didn’t matter how many times residents had told city leaders that it was there.

Because, you see, people are always making up stories about correctional facilities lurking in the neighborhood, spooking dogs and making children cry.

I remember that when I was a kid, my mother tried to scare us with stories about correctional facilities under construction in the neighborhood.

“Eat your vegetables,” she’d say, “or the bad correctional facility under construction in the neighborhood will get you.”

Gary Pettus
Clarion Ledger