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  • Writer's pictureEdward B Fogarty

Human Traffic

The local state courthouse, a concrete bunker style structure with angled and terraced layers like an off-balance, layered cake, was build in the 1970's to replace some stately granite structures nearby.  The older courthouses simply could not handle the ever-increasing volume of business and had to be replaced.  The new court was given a name, "Hall of Justice", lending to the edifice the image of a superhero's home, akin to Superman's Fortress of Solitude.

However the name belies the reality.  The human traffic pouring through the new courthouse has been unrelenting and ever increasing since construction, brought on by waves of new legislation, mostly criminal, to codify newer crimes and harsher penalties.  This has resulted in more arrests and more people coming through the door.  And, once inside, those charged with crimes are more likely to have a trial due to the extraordinary punishments being meted out by minimum-mandatory sentences.  More trials means more witnesses and police officers, in other words more people.

The building is showing the effects of this heavy foot traffic.   The necessities of humanity, such as toilets, have long been in decline, cleaned rarely and poorly, broken water coolers and inoperable plumbing are the norm.  The floors show the wear, only showing some sort of exuberance when shined for some visiting dignitary such a new judge or perhaps the governor.

The building's fatigue is a fitting physical presence for the tired humanity, which toils within, pressing forward with a line of legal conundrums the stretches to infinity.

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