I grew up in Detroit. For nearly thirty years, I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly. Seven years ago I along with a few thousand other people made a mass exodus out of the city limits.
Today I was surfing internet news, when I found a story about Detroit being the carjacking capital. When I see news like this all I can do is wonder why people who are able to move out stay behind.
Things were getting so bad before I left that I, Ms. Non-Violent, Wouldn’t Hurt A Fly, was considering getting a gun permit. Yes crime was that bad and now it’s even worse. Everyday I watch the stories, murder, home invasions, car jacking, corruption, hit and run accidents; you name it and Detroit has it. Lawlessness rules.
The city services suck, in an emergency you can forget it and you’d better be ready to help yourself. My brother even had a friend who died because he had an asthma attack. They wasted precious time waiting for an ambulance before deciding to drive the young man to the hospital.
The neighborhoods are in ruins. On some streets you can find one house surrounded by the rubble of the neighboring houses. You’d be lucky to get the grass on city property cut and even luckier if the abandoned houses on your block are torn down.
My alma mater, Mackenzie High School is no more. That once beautiful, art-deco building with the marble pillars that was built with so much care and dedication was torn down about two years ago. The last time the alumni tried to get together for a picnic it erupted into gunfire and the crowd scattered.
I remember the days when a city job was really worth something. Now those workers who spent their lives working for the city are in danger of losing the money they worked so hard for.
Every time I hear someone talk about revitalizing the city I can’t help but shake my head. Sure you have the defiant ones, the elderly hangers on who refuse to leave the house they’ve owned for decades. Then you have the hipsters, the young people who want to make a statement and live in the city. I just hope they’re not proving a point at the cost of their safety.
You hear the promises from the city’s leadership, it’s all about what they’re going to do to change things, but I think it’s just too little too late. Detroit has had too many people who don’t care, leadership and residents alike. I think the damage is already done or maybe I’m just cynical.
When I moved to the suburbs it felt like I moved to a different planet. I can’t really explain the feeling, it’s just different, like I’m finally breathing oxygen. Now I don’t have to take a twenty minute trip to the burbs to shop; the stores I want are right around the corner and convenient. If I need to call the police, there’s no delay; they’ll even bring and ambulance, the SWAT Team, and the fire trucks just in case.
Crime is everywhere, I know that. You’ll never catch me saying ‘bad things don’t usually happen in a place like this’. Bad things happen everywhere. And to this day I still keep a Club on my car, never can be too careful. As far as me ever returning to the city, that will never happen again. Though I pray for the best, I expect the worst.