I am a spoiled suburbanite. I didn’t really ever want to be in the city. Or the state. As far away from here as possible, really. I went away to college and then ended up wasting away for a time in Arizona. I moved again, this time a little north (okay a lot north. Wisconsin), and when I finally realized that moving around wasn’t the same as earning a living, I came home. I started dating someone and lived with them for the better part of 4 years in Lafayette Park. I began to hang out in Detroit and meet people. I started to fall in love with the city. I think I needed to grow up a little.
I have experienced a lot in Detroit. But of course, my experiences have been within a 5 mile radius. Downtown, Midtown, New Center; that’s pretty much it. I do not go to the west side. The occasional venture to SW Detroit for Mexican food, sure. I drive through the east side to get to my family. I will drive down Jefferson no problem, but I don’t know much about what lays within the rows of streets except for Indian Village. I always knew that Alter was a very distinct city limit. And Ashland (the next street over) had the sickest bump in the road that would get a Chevy Blazer way up in the air. Now you know what my high school nights consisted of… But I did not know and still don’t know what so many Detroiters experience. I just know that where I hang out I feel safe, but others might not feel the same, and that is not fair.
Even though I am usually safe, I have seen, felt and heard things. While living downtown, I had a catalytic converter stolen twice in one month. I have seen someone stealing tires off a car, and in this case my significant other yelled at them to stop. The dude pretended to pull a gun. I have never run so fast. That was also the only night in my life I slept next to a loaded .45; in case they came back. The gun was a legal weapon owned by someone who lived in the house. Strangely, I felt no extra security. Still panicked. I have listened to the gunshots of someone being killed, and watched the S.W.A.T team work all afternoon, only to find out it was a double murder-suicide and the suspect was dead. But I heard everything and could see the aftermath. It was one of the worst days I can remember. I can forget it happened, but the man who was killed in cold blood had a lovely wife, and it never goes away for her. I know her. I see her. She still lives down there. I have also watched police arrive in seconds after a shooting took place right downtown. It was nice to see a sense of urgency, but why must we experience this violence in the first place?
What about the kid that finds a gun and shoots a 3-year-old with it? That story was picked up by every major news outlet, by the way. So Kym Worthy doesn’t want to charge an 11-year-old with murder but has no choice. How about we get the guns off the street. The court says “lock them up”. I am sure everyone has some extra cash laying around to go buy a safe. Maybe the DPD should deliver safes to the residents. Just a friendly suggestion. Let’s look at some recent numbers. This past weekend, 3 people were killed and 26 wounded. This is insane and uncalled for. What’s more? There was a shooting that wasn’t included in this count; Amber Moore*, a 20-year-old transgender woman was shot and killed. Despicable. She was exiting a car. This has to stop. Safety should not be a perk of having a higher income. It
should be is most definitely a civil right.
*Amber Monroe was a Ruth Ellis Center member and an advocate for the trans community. The Ruth Ellis Center provides long and short-term safe space and support services for runaway, homeless and at-risk LGBTQ youth in Detroit and Southeastern Michigan. To make a donation to Ruth Ellis Center, visit http://www.ruthelliscenter.org/