Imagine that this is your new address…
Could be anywhere West of the Mississippi River, in some place isolated from other human communities, some place that is not only remote but also known for its harsh climate. Most certainly freezing cold in the winter and blazing hot in the summer. You won’t know where it is for several days and once you get there it will never truly feel like home. A real home involves some matter of choice: either you chose to be there or some loved one chose to bring you into the world right there.
Why is it in such a remote place? That one is easy. The government thought that you and “your kind” are threats to American security. So, the best thing to do is to move you away from other Americans, out where you can only do minimal damage.
OK, but why does it have to be so damned cold in the winter? We’re from the Pacific coast. Don’t they realize that we’ll get sick out here, or at the very least experience great hardship from the cold? Don’t they understand that the buildings are drafty and not insulated in any way? Don’t they know that the snow will blow horizontally among the buildings? Yes, I think the government does understand that.
Then, there are the summers. If you are lucky, it will just be overwhelmingly hot, with precious little natural shade available. The deeply unlucky will be stuck in some swampy, damp pit near the Mississippi, with snakes and all sorts of unwelcome critters as guests. If there is dust, it will find its way up into your barracks because they were built with green lumber that will dry so much that the cracks will be like super highways for the dust and any little critter that cares to enter. Don’t they know they’ve built places to live that have terrible shortcomings? Yes, I think the government does know that.
“Dear Uncle… I know that you’re safe in Chicago, and I hope you are well. We’re out here in the middle of the desert. It’s hotter than blazes and there is no place to hide from the sun that never seems to go down. Darkness is my best friend in the summer. I hope that you’ll write, to let me know that I still know someone outside this prison fence. Please write. The Camp name, city, and state are important, but please don’t forget our number, Block 14, Building 1. Otherwise, I’ll never see your letter. Don’t ask me about the address, about what kind of place has an address like that. I’ll tell you all about it one day.”
No… We should never take people out of their homes, to place them out in the middle of nowhere in some godforsaken place with no neighbors, with nowhere to go and no permission to go there, with weather that defies the imagination and with buildings that do not withstand it. We should never take people to a place where their local address is Block 14, Building 1.