Some parts of the city are a warzone, and the bad guys are winning

Goldengate Street, Detroit.

Detroit is fascinating, wonderful, and terrible. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, and we hear gunshots at night, and there are car thefts and vandalism on our street, but none of us have any regrets about where we’ve moved, and so far at least, the positive far outweighs the negative.

But it’s not like that for everyone. We’re lucky that this neighborhood is among the safest in the city. We’re lucky that we have neighbors that watch out for suspicious activity and that watch out for each other. We’re luck that when we call the police, they show up immediately. Other parts of the city are not so fortunate as us.

A discussion on Reddit today reminds us that while positive growth is happening all over our city, other parts are a terrifying warzone, and the bad guys are winning. We can’t close our eyes to this and pretend everything’s okay—it’s not. Not by a long shot.

It’s hard to say what these people should do. They live literally hundreds of feet from one of the wealthiest areas of the city, yet an apparent drug dealer or gang leader is in charge of that block, and he is calling the shots. He is able to terrorize women and rob people. He is able to unload a gun into someone’s front door, and he is (so far) able to get away with it.

Do they stand firm and continue bravely with their mission to help turn around a distressed neighborhood? Do they ignore the very real physical threat to their lives? Or do they throw the towel in and realize that maybe certain parts of the city can’t be saved by the methods they’re using?

I can’t help but think that an organization like Fireweed would have had a much better run in another, better part of town. The sad fact is, though, that it probably can’t work at 7 and Woodward yet.

For now, maybe all they can do is leave with their lives, let the bad guys have their day, and come back when there is an effective police force that can help. It’s cynical, but their lives aren’t worth it.

3 thoughts on “Some parts of the city are a warzone, and the bad guys are winning

  1. Obligatory "End the war on drugs" post.

    I just checked and my brother was down there a few years ago helping them do some cleanup and junk removal. Small world.
  2. We have had a rough couple months here at Fireweed. Even though it seems like we should call it quits, many of our members have nowhere else to go. Fireweed Universe City, working in solidarity with Occupy Detroit, has taken quite a few people in to the community who were formally homeless. They have their own houses and are not prepared to leave. This whole experience has been a shock to us. For 2 years we have had a basically peaceful existence on Golden Gate West.

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