I am walking, as I write this, alone through the streets of Detroit, the murder capital of the country last year. Here’s a quote from Forbes magazine
: "The best crime news out of Detroit these days is that the rate of violent crimes – murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault – fell 10% last year to 2,137 per 100,000 residents. That’s still more than five times the national average and more than enough to make Detroit America’s Most Dangerous City for the fourth year in a row."
I don't feel one hundred percent safe, but I do feel reasonably safe.
So, why do I feel safe?
Well, in part, because the people here are generally good people. I am walking through neighborhoods that are primarily African American/Black. These homes belong mostly to families and nice people. Not all of them, but that could be said for any neighborhood.
But also, because I am fat, frumpy, old and weird. Also clearly not well-to-do.
Crime in Detroit centers around gangs and drugs. Poverty plays a huge role in people’s breaking, entering and stealing stuff. Someone stole the copper pipes off our air conditioner. In doing so, they released the refrigerant into the air, which is bad for the environment. They didn't get much for the copper; it will cost us much more to repair the damage than what they gained selling the copper. But they don't care. They are driven by addiction or poverty. Damage to others is not something they lay awake worrying about.
The guy who lives next door had his large flat-screen TV stolen. The thieves broke in through the back door and ruined the door, while he was at work. They not only cost him the expensive television, but also the door.
Some of these thieves are the same people who walk down the middle of the street hoping to get hit so they sue someone and make big money. There are huge billboards everywhere in Detroit saying, "Hit by a car? Call so and so, attorneys at law."
Hard times have hit Detroit and these are desperate poeple. And here I am, walking past boarded up houses and feeling relatively safe, knock on wood. (I stop twice to knock on wood). I'm reasonably safe because I am fat, frumpy, old, weird and fairly poor. I have little to steal. The device I am writing on is so old that no one would bother to steal it, knock on wood. They want to own and steal the latest and greatest: the best cars, the best sneakers, the best cell phones, the best flat screen TVs. I don't own a TV.
I've been losing weight though. Lost twenty-some pounds. My pants are in danger of falling off. It occurs to me that if I continue to lose weight, I may lose one of my protective layers. I'll still be old, frumpy, weird and poor, but if leanness offers even a hint of an improvement in my appearance, it could make me a little less safe. A little more vulnerable.
Images: these are mostly boarded up houses I walk past every day between my house and my office. Except for the Laundromat on Heidelberg street, which I just like. However, it's been burned--that's the next thing that happens to many of these houses. They are stripped of anything useful and then torched.
I wrote this story yesterday. There were more images. I tried 25 times, but Cowbird refused to save it. I am trying again today.
For those who have been asking, I am still sick (and in pain), going to the doctor again today. I will gratefully accept healing energy and prayers (a form of healing energy).
If you're wondering how I can walk if I am sick, I have "morning sickness," NOT the kind you get with pregnancy (I had menopause many years ago), but I am at my worst in the mornings. If I am lucky, gradually, through the day, my health improves. It still hurts, but at least I can function to some extent. I've been doing my walking after 5 most evenings.