Categorized | Opinion

Death in Slow Motion

By David PeelDavid Peel

Sometimes we meet our Maker through instant tragedies like the recent train crash in Spain, or the explosions set by terrorists in Boston. As an injury lawyer, I often help families wade through grief to pursue justice.
The news of these tragedies rightfully dominates the headlines when they occur. However, some news that we should all also pay attention to is the slow motion death of a once-great city. People who live in Detroit tell stories that sound like they occurred in a third world country:
A young boy was shot, but rushed to the hospital not in a helicopter, or even an ambulance, but bleeding in the back of a police car. There are only 33 percent of the ambulances even working anymore, and many are approaching 300,000 miles, this with a murder rate 11 times that of New York City.
Police cutbacks slash pay over 10 percent and there is little hope of a full pension. A patrol car will have holes in the floorboards and over 100,000 miles on it.
911, when it works at all, will get you help in an average of 58 minutes as 40 percent of the cops have been let go in recent years. That’s the average response time, so many people wait well over an hour for help in the desolate lanes under one of the 40 percent of the streetlights that no longer work.
Fully 47 percent of Detroit residents are functionally illiterate.
Fewer than 50 percent of Detroit residents over the age of 16 work at all.
60 percent of the children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.
The aging alarms that firefighters wear sometimes fail now. They die.
Police cannot afford new bulletproof vests, and wear expired ones, and lack so many resources, only about 10 percent of the crimes get solved at all.
A corpse lain on a residential street for hours due to cutbacks at the morgue.
Houses are available for $500 and there are almost 80,000 abandoned homes in the city.  About 30 percent of Detroit is derelict (That’s larger than Manhattan).
Detroit’s population in 1950 was 1.8 million and was the fifth largest city and led in per capita income in the 1960s. Current population numbers put it at somewhere south of 700,000, but no one can be sure. That means that the entire population of Dallas has moved out in two generations!
If another major financial crisis strikes, a wave of municipal bankruptcies can cause this anywhere. The entire U.S. is now at risk. 17 trillion dollars of debt and over 200 trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities has got to cause cut backs somewhere eventually. I am afraid that America lives so far above our means that places like Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia might be the next to go.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through wherein other articles may be accessed.

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August 2013
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