X Doors Down

Left, Right, or Give Up

The photo here shows signs posted directly across from the main elevators on the third floor. These signs give civilians directions to rooms that might concern them. The fact that there are only three signs indicates that there is not a lot public access on the third floor. Furthermore, since the signs on the right specify how many doors down each room is, I get the impression that the MDP do not want civilians wandering into employee-only rooms. Again, perhaps this is because the building itself is not in the best shape. On the other hand, a lot of the rooms seem uninviting. The doors are all shut and some are even split so that someone on the inside can open only the top half of the door to talk to whoever is on the other side. All of this gives the building a very deliberate feeling. It seems like if you go to the MPD HQ, you go there, do your business, and leave without hesitation.

 

 

 

Photo taken by author of the post

Keep Out

Room 3048

Shown to the right is one of the doors to a private room on the third floor. At the time the picture was taken, the room was not empty. The purpose and contents of the room are unknown, as there is a sign that clearly says no entry. The room, however, had people in it who were discussing what seemed to be important matters, although I cannot recall exactly what they were saying. In relation to the privacy of the room, you can see the door has some sort of lock with numbers on it. This lock combined with the “No Entry” sign might be unwelcoming to some, but I found curiosity in it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo taken by author of the post

Welcome to the Third Floor

Welcome to the Third Floor

The photo here shows the central “lobby” of the third floor. The other unrestricted access floors look very similar to this but without the vending machines. Floor two housed the main lobby, so I was a bit different, but there were still hallways coming off either side of it. For some reason, only the third floor had vending machines. Three more machines that aren’t shown were next to the elevators. The placing of these machines is likely because the third floor seems to be where most of the civilian interaction takes place. In relation to the rest of the building, the hallways of the third floor don’t have any windows. All of the light comes from the ceiling lights that can be seen in the picture. Ultimately, the “lobby” is a bland place that doesn’t say much about the MPD HQ.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo taken by author of the post

Call the People in this Building if there’s an Emergency (in this building)!

Emergency Instructions

The photo to the left is of an emergence exit/instructions plaque on the wall of the second floor. The plaque depicts the floor plan of the building as well as all of it’s exits. It is clear that the building as a whole is a rectangle and the interior is split into two smaller halves. The text on the plaque includes instructions (in English) about what to do in case of a fire, an earthquake, or a tornado. Step by step instructions are listed below each situation. Interestingly enough, even though a lot of the signs that give directions have Spanish translations, this plaque does not. Other than the fact that this plaque shows a floor plan of the second floor, it serves no other real purpose in my description of the interior. I just thought it was humorous that the people in the building the plaque is posted in are the ones who should be called if there’s an emergency in the building itself.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo taken by author of the post

Parallels

A Long, Long Hall

The picture here shows a one of the hallways in the Headquarters. I can’t remember specifically which floor this hallway was on, but it is an accurate representation of all of the halls I saw. Everything in the building was monotone, and each half of the building (and halls, for that matter) had essentially the same things on the other sides. This is representative of the building as a whole, too. Looking at the MPD HQ from the outside, it was very geometric  and seemed to be designed with intent. That being said, a lot of the other buildings in the area appeared that way too. Given the area (Judiciary Square) this makes sense, since a lot of the buildings are modeled after ancient Greek and Roman buildings to give a sense of authority. Every other building, however, seemed to have more windows than the MPD HQ did. I believe the atmosphere of the building reflects the lack of windows. It’s closed off from the rest of the world.

 

 

 

 

Photo taken by author of the post

Restricted

Elevator Poster

The photo shown  is a poster taped to all of the main elevator doors. It explains that floors B, 4, 5, and 6 are not available by elevator. As my previous research has shown, a lot of the MPD HQ is facing various structural issues such as ceiling collapses and water pipe leaks. I assume that some of the closures of the floors are due to these problems. One thing I noticed when I re-read the poster is that the restriction is very unclear. The poster does not specify if access is unavailable just by elevator or if it’s restricted to people without access cards. Another thing to mention is that it should be noted that when you walk into the headquarters through the main entrance on Indiana Avenue, you walk into the 2nd floor. This is because the 1st floor is actually at street level on C Street NW. Regardless, the restricted access sign is rather uninviting, and I think that this parallels the rest of the architecture in the building.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo taken by author of the post

Number One

“You have to be odd to be number one.” -Dr. Seuss

https://www.posterguy.in/products/you-have-to-be-odd-to-be-number-one-framed-poster?variant=3494071237

Be Odd

For such a small quote, Dr. Seuss’s words have a lot of meaning in them. On a literal scale, yes, you do have to be odd to be number one, since the laws of math say that one is an odd number (it’s actually because one can’t be evenly divided by 2). On a figurative scale, what Dr. Seuss says is extremely true. If we were all the same, if we all listened to the same music, liked the same foods, wore the same clothes, then there would not be one individual who comes out on top in any aspect. This is not to say that life is a competition (okay, well maybe some parts are) but everyone has something that they are better at than others. This makes them odd. If everyone wears green and one person wears red, then that doesn’t necessarily make the person wearing red better, but it does make them** unique and can get them noticed. This same logic can be applied to other aspects of life, too. Rather than using clothing as an example, you could think of in terms of sports. For example, in gymnastics, the gymnast who performs skills that no one else performs is going to be noticed. To get even more specific, Simone Biles performed a trick (now named “The Biles”) that no one else had heard of or attempted at the 2016 summer Olympics and won All-Around Gold. Had Biles not incorporated that move into her floor routine, she may not have come out on top. Basically, the moral of Dr. Seuss’s quote is that you should not be afraid to be different since being different can end up benefitting you.

 

**Them is referring to the person wearing red and will continue to do so for the remainder of the example of people wearing green versus the person wearing red.

Photo from: https://www.posterguy.in/products/you-have-to-be-odd-to-be-number-one-framed-poster?variant=3494071237

How the Environment Affects the DC MPD

Dvorak, Petula. “How Seriously Do D.C. Police Take Rape Allegations? A Georgetown Party Raises Doubts.” Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/how-seriously-do-dc-police-take-rape-allegations-a-georgetown-party-raises-doubts/2016/11/28/dbcb62e4-b58c-11e6-b8df-600bd9d38a02_story.html. Accessed 26 Mar. 2017.

In her article “How Seriously do D.C. police take rape allegations? A Georgetown party raises doubts” Petula Dvorak argues that the  D.C. MPD do not take rape reports seriously enough since they take their jobs seriously in certain situations and not others. Dvorak begins her article with an rape case reported around Halloween in 2016. The article explains that following the rape of an incapacitated woman, the MPD lagged in their investigation and did not seem to follow through with proper procedures. As Dvorak points out, two crucial pieces of information regarding this case are the fact that the victim was a 21 year old college student, and the rape occurred at the Dodge Mansion, a $5 million piece of property owned by an influential electrical contractor. Dvorak compares this case to a rape case that occurred almost a month later. A woman who was attacked in a Grand Hyatt contacted the police, and they handled it the way they should have. According to Dvorak, the only difference between victims was their age and income.  One report criticizes the DC MPD for ” its handling of a number of rape cases, alleging that some officers didn’t take claims seriously and dismissed victims who had been drinking or who couldn’t recall precise details” (Dvorak 2016). This, Dvorak suggests, shows how the D.C. MPD are (for better or for worse) influenced by the environments in which they do their jobs.

While the fact that police handle their jobs differently according to the setting is unfortunate, it is something that can be changed. As shown in Dvorak’s article, police were hesitant to step up in an affluent neighborhood where the victims in the situation could easily be blamed, but decided to take action when the victim and setting seemed more respectable. This reiterates the idea that the environment around us influences how we react to it. Sadly, this also seems to be true for the D.C. MPD in the cases that Dvorak highlights in her article. Ultimately, police should be indifferent to the settings in which they are called into duty.

 

Neibauer, Michael. “Muriel Bowser Calls Daly Building City’s ‘Worst,’ Eyes Relocation of All Metropolitan Police Department Staff.” Washington Business Journal, https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/breaking_ground/2016/01/bowser-calls-daly-building-citys-worst-eyes.html. Accessed 26 Mar. 2017.

In the article “Bowser calls Daly Building city’s ‘worst,’ eyes relocation of all MPD staff,” author Michael Niebauer argues that the building that houses D.C. MPD’s headquarters has remarkably bad infrastructure for a government building. In his article, Niebauer quotes Mayor Muriel Bowser when she calls the police department “the worst building in our entire portfolio” (2016). Following Mayor Bowser’s observation, Neibauer gives specific examples of problems that the Hank J. Daly building faces. According to the article, these problems include mold, pipe leaks, and rodents. Clearly, the Hank J. Daly building is no place for a police department to function properly if these are the problems it faces. Neibauer continues his article by saying that while the Daly building, designed by architect Nathan Wyeth, is in need of serious renovation, the budget and plans for this project are still up in the air. Furthermore, talk of temporary relocation is mentioned, but that brings up more problems, since, as Neibauer explains, the MPD headquarters is also home to the Department of Motor Vehicles adjudication, and probation and parole offices, and the number of people who are still situated in the building is unknown. Ultimately, the Hank J. Daly building is undoubtedly in shambles, but there doesn’t seem to be a plan to do anything about it anytime soon.

While the current state of the Hank J. Daly building is unquestionably bad, it may offer a possible explanation for interactions between police officers and civilians. Being in a building that is falling apart is not particularly motivating or helpful when working an essentially client based job. Often times, when you encounter D.C. MPD, they keep to themselves and don’t initiate interactions with civilians. Could this be in part due to the fact that their place of work is subpar? Clearly the environment in which one works is influential on one’s job performance. With the crappy architecture of the MPD headquarters, genuine interaction between police and civilians seems to be lacking. Whether or not improvements to infrastructure would actually make a difference is unknown, but evidence seems to suggest it would.

 

The Failure and Realization of Chicago’s Proposed Housing

In the chapter “Toward a New Sociospatial Dialect” in the book City of Rhetoric by David Fleming, the examples from chapters 4-7 are examined in terms of how discourse takes place and whether or not each “plan” was successful. In looking back at the ghetto, Schaumburg, the Near North Side, and 1230 North Burling Street, Fleming determined that while none of these proposals were perfect fixes, they may be a start to finding a way to create an environment that promotes public discourse. The most successful plan, 1230 North Burling Street, created an environment where its residents tried to act as one community. The issue with this was the homogeneity that came about. The second most successful proposal was the Near North Side. The idea of a diverse environment was promising, but ultimately, the majority of the power resided with the upper class residents. As for Schaumburg, it appeared promising for lower class citizens but ended up being another way to separate races. Finally, Cabrini Green, or the ghetto, was simply just segregated from the rest of Chicago and became known for all of it’s bad attributes.

The overall finding was that the environment of a society or community is influential on how the people in said community respond in three main ways. According to Fleming, the effects from the environment are “contingent,” “nonlinear,” and “dynamic.” In saying the responses from the people are contingent, Fleming suggests that the atmosphere and feel of a community is factor that dictates how people from different races, social classes, and socioeconomic status feel in the same setting. Similarly, Fleming’s idea of the effect of a place being nonlinear is essentially natural selection in terms of sociology. In other words, an environment responds to the extremes in terms of “good” and “bad” families. Finally, Fleming’s idea of environmental influence being dynamic suggests that one’s susceptibility to the influence of the environment changes over time. Essentially, from childhood to adulthood, the way in which we respond to our environment changes based on our interactions with our communities.

Using these three ways in which the environment affects the people, Fleming takes a different stance on ways in which we can create cities with genuine public discourse. While trying to create little utopian communities like 1230 North Burling Street may not be a sufficient way to go about this, Fleming suggests we focus on making sure everyone has equal opportunities in their communities. The people of Cabrini Green did not necessarily choose their situation, rather, they were not given the chance to escape or change it. In a similar manner, the upper class residents of North Town Village had many more choices of homes than the lower class residents did. Taking all of this into consideration, Fleming prompts us to find ways to make sure everyone gets the same opportunities, and in turn, people might be more inspired to participate in public discourse.

I’m Possible!

“Nothing is impossible. The world itself says ‘I’m Possible’!” Audrey Hepburn

Photo From: https://www.enki-village.com/audrey-hepburn-quotes.html
In this quote, Audrey Hepburn manipulates the form of the word impossible to create something new with a completely different meaning. The word impossible suggests that something cannot be done. Whether it be physically or mentally, the idea of impossibility puts a limit on human abilities. Conversely, the phrase, “I’m possible,” suggests that anything is within range of our capabilities. The “I’m” in the phrase refers to the task or challenge previously thought of as impossible telling the do-er that it is possible. On a structural level, Hepburn made minor tweaks to the original word to create a phrase the opposes the meaning of impossible. She did so by adding a space between m and p in order to create two separate words, adding an apostrophe between I and m to create a contraction, and capitalizing I and P to emphasize each word. On a more figurative level, Hepburn is absolutely correct is saying nothing is impossible. If you think about it, we spend so much time sleeping that our dreams could be considered an alternate reality. Now this may be a stretch, but it would theoretically make everything possible. Also, considering quantum physics, when something is performed, all outcomes are possible. But, we as humans only see one outcome that can be quantitatively or qualitatively measured in this world, which gives us the idea that other possible outcomes are not possible. In dreams, however, we can experience glimpses into what other outcomes are. While this whole idea is interesting, it does stray from the original quote. The main point of what Hepburn says is to approach everything as if it’s possible because it probably is, at least in some form.