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by Peter Moskos

September 27, 2009

“At some point we got numb to the violence”

After a couple weeks of extreme violence, including one night with a fatal accident, three shooting, the homicide of a 9-year-old as he slept in bed, and another suspicious death, the religious community is challenging Saginaw's citizens to become angry about violence.

I am sure this message is full of good intentions. The problem is that I have, over the past 16 years, heard it all before. The demanding of public outcry, marches for peach, rallies, old-fashioned, outdoor church revivals, public forums on violence - they are all great, but when you have them over and over and over, year after passing year, it all becomes lost on deaf ears.

I guess, as sad as it is, my personal opinion is that when you have to demand public outcry against violence, it's too damn late -- apathy has already taken hold and the words, at that point, are just words -- they are not followed up with tangible action.
In an email, so writes Saginaw Police Officer Michael S. East. He's the author of Beyond Hope? One Cop's Fight For Survival in a Dying City. Go buy a copy. You'll be happy you did.


Tim said...

Maybe 15 years ago, a GM plant closed in Saginaw and sent a few hundred of their employees to work in the plant near my hometown in rural northwest Ohio.

Almost immediately, the crime rates skyrocketed. Our town, in which there had not been a single murder in 25 years, had seven in a single year.

Saginaw's a rough place.

Anonymous said...

I have trouble believing that the people of Saginaw are as monolithically devoted to drugs and violence as East portrays. What experience I have from marginal neighborhoods is that many decent people live in them as well.