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An Epidemic of Walls

So it is the day before election day, and on my mind are…..walls.

A few issues ago, Time magazine ran a brief article about walls, and all the different countries that have plans in the works to build one.

On the hit list are: the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Israel, Hungary, Norway, Kenya and the Ukraine. And other articles show there are many, many more where these countries’ walls came from, including my home country of the United States.

Different countries are building their walls for different reasons. For some, it is to keep terrorists, militants and criminals out. For others, it is to keep out refugees and migrants.

For still others, it is a mixture of both.

That is 8 countries that are even now planning to build or actively building walls.

Yet according to the WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council), tourism-related travel accounts for an estimated nearly 10 percent of the world’s gross national profit and one out of every 11 jobs planet-wide.

So right now I’m scratching my head on multiple fronts.

It would seem that the first free moment most of us get, we are chomping at the bit to visit different places, learn different cultures, meet new people, have new adventures in places other than where we live.

At home, we are busy building walls to keep other people from doing the same.

And yes, I realize it is more complicated than that. I also realize that terror and crime flowing across one’s home country borders is never something to take with any less than total seriousness.

I just wonder if building a wall is going to help. First of all, one well-placed legal or not-so-legal weapon and all that hard work, well, boom. 

Second of all, for those determined to enter, a wall may appear to be more of a challenge than a deterrent.

Third of all, walls of the dimensions these countries are contemplating tend to be very expensive. They do create jobs, which can be good for locals. But is that really the very best use of any country’s available safety or defense or military money or wherever the wall funding is coming from?

Building a wall feels like something that has already been tried on every conceivable level, both personally and militarily and culturally and nationally, and I can’t recall any time it is has ever provided more than a very temporary and ultimately fragile and fallible protective measure.

On a personal note, I can look back and see many times I’ve tried to build walls, either to keep others out or to keep myself in. Every time I’ve ended up having to work my way out of a trap of my own making. If it doesn’t work on a personal, individual level, can we expect it to work any better on a larger scale?

I don’t have any answers here, of course. This is pure frustration coming out in consonants and vowels, along with a sense that perhaps now might be a good time to try simply getting along, sharing more, hoarding less, respecting more, living and letting live, and pooling our resources to protect everyone involved as we travel, explore, meet one another and see the world together.

It may never happen. Some people in this world seem pretty determined to do bad things and harm others, and that makes other people (especially those with first or direct secondhand experience of this) legitimately afraid. Perhaps this isn’t a place to expect harmony, let alone utopia.

I just wish there were some other options we could try that might work better, both here in the United States where I live, and elsewhere in places I’ve never been to where they appear to be doing exactly what we are doing for many of the same reasons.

I feel frustrated and I don’t know why. Perhaps it is because every time I hear of another wall being built, I feel fear. Often I don’t even know what I’m afraid of, but I do know there is another reason to be afraid.

Worst of all, fear makes me want to build a wall, even though walls have never been very helpful mentors to me in the past.

Today’s Takeaway: What do you think of the current worldwide wall building craze that seems to be sweeping the globe of late? Has it ever worked for you personally to build a wall in your life, either internally, physically at your home or workplace or on a larger scale? Can you think of any alternatives that might have more promise to provide safety and resolve the types of issues our different countries are facing?

An Epidemic of Walls

Shannon Cutts

Freelance writer. Author. Cockatiel, redfoot tortoise & box turtle mama.

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2016). An Epidemic of Walls. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 8 Nov 2016
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