It is not the sting of wrongs past
But what I must look for in wrongs to come.
— Sophocles, translated by David Greene, “Philoctetes”
At last men came to set me free;
I ask’d not why, and reck’d not where;
It was at length the same to me,
Fetter’d or fetterless to be,
I learn’d to love despair.
— Lord Byron, “The Prisoner of Chillon”
If a builder build a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.
— The Code of Hammurabi, #229, translated by L.W. King
Fear spreads. Politicians deploy it to score wins. The media propagate it to improve ratings. Some people use it as a lever to separate others from their money. Billowing on the airwaves, trumpeted from left and right, fear erodes the capacity for reason, undermines common sense, erects roadblocks to liberty, robs us of our very humanity. Why are we so addicted to it?
In this issue of Texas Architect, we look at a few of the ways fear works its way into, is created by, or is otherwise expressed in the built environment. We check on the architectural discourse triggered by the rising incidents of mass shootings, learn about the neurological effects of solitary confinement, and consider the myths of security built around homeownership.