Detroit: Where the weak are killed and eaten

Way back in graduate school, my family was in town for my wedding. Back then, Detroit had a reputation … not a pretty one … for being the murder capital of the US.

Sure made my folks happy I was going to grad school there.

So while we were wandering around in Greektown right after a meal, we spent some time in Trappers alley, at a number of stores. One of the stores had a T-Shirt my older brother really seemed to enjoy. It read

“Detroit: where the weak are killed and eaten”

Well, news from Forbes today is somewhat grim. We seem to have regained a title like that. Forbes has named Detroit the US’es most dangerous city.

I won’t dispute this. The city is in the grips of a more than decade long recession with 20+% unemployement. By all definitions of economic depression I have read, this qualifies as one.

There are a few bright spots … Greektown, Wayne State University, New Center, Foxtown, Mexican town.

The article appears to point out that we have a new record to be proud of. As if to lighten the mood.

Detroits current mayor has not been accused of a felony since in office. As compared to the previous one.

The Forbes writer did find a silver lining, however: Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. “hasn’t committed a single felony” since taking over the job for Kwame Kilpatrick last September.

Kilpatrick left jail in February after serving 99 days as part of the text message scandal.

Personally I don’t think Mayor Cockrel is doing a bad job. He is going up against Dave Bing (former Detroit Piston) for the mayors job in the special election.

What Detroit needs is a strong hand, someone not afraid to fight the politically suicidal fights. Someone not afraid to get things done. Someone who can attract investment. Someone who can make this place an attractive place to do business.

We have hubzone, and all manner of other things. What Michigan is missing is capital for investment. Not sure how much Dave Bing can attract, but anything is better than nothing. More to the point, if the state’s yearly economic competition can be freed from the political echelon’s control, there may actually be a fighting chance of doing some good with it as long as it maintains a high rate of sustained funding, and faster cycles.

The way to beat a depression is to create opportunities for investment, to enable investors to make money over the long haul. Detroit is not rigged for that now (nor is Michigan in general, but that is a whole other can of worms). But it could be.

Until then, we are in Canton. Just a few towns down from the most violent city in the US. Where the weak are killed and eaten.

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