Life in the City

Someone in a neighborhood near to my own shared this video, recorded less than a month ago at the time of this writing.  After watching it, I feel it appropriate to post it here.  Given the comparisons to Detroit, I feel like this is potentially a “canary in the coal mine” situation that people in other cities across the U.S. need to be made aware if they’re not already.

I’ve lived in Dallas for years, and in the immediate surrounding area for several more.  In my own neighborhood, a low income neighborhood practically across the street from Duncanville, the only way to increase patrol presence to have officers nearby so as to potentially respond to a bigger threat is to call in on smaller violations such as noise.  That’s easy enough given how some people think every night is party night and have a general lack of respect for anyone else, and to their credit, the officers are willing to respond and put an end to the stupid, however temporary that may be.  But it’s a sadder state of affairs all around.  I see reports on NextDoor every single day about car thefts and burglaries during the night and house break-ins in broad daylight, during school hours.  It astounds me the number of people willing to park their cars on the streets instead of in their garage even after someone picks those cars clean.  This doesn’t even take into account various kinds of assaults on people.  Beatings, kidnappings, rapes, murders… this is all part and parcel of living in a city.  This is why we have police officers, to minimize the dangers and hopefully to keep these things from happening in the first place.  Hearing gunshots, both pistols and automatic weapons fire, in the middle of the night just down the street or on the next block over is nothing new.  That’s part of why calling in for noise is so important: sometimes you can’t even hear the gunfire to call it in over the thumping bass.

I won’t get into the social issues that exacerbate all of the problems in the first place.  When people feel marginalized, bad things brew.  I’m not an expert on such matters.  I only live here.  I only know what I see immediately around me, and I know that it’s pointless to judge an entire neighborhood on the actions of a few, admittedly growing number, of bad apples.  However bad it is here on any level, there are cities with similar problems from coast to coast and all points in between.

This is what politics looks like at the local level.  All politics begin at the local level.  It’s not about Republicans and Democrats.  It’s not about right-wing vs. left-wing.  It’s about real people living real lives in a very real situation of fear who have nowhere else to go where it might be better.  Every level impacts the next.  What affects the residents affects the businesses, and vice versa.  For all of its problems, I can say that Dallas is not yet a war zone.  I don’t know how long that will last, or what it will look like if it becomes one.  It’s too easy to make wild predictions.  I only know that with the current boom in the housing market, property taxes are skyrocketing, which means everyone’s paying higher rates regardless of who buys or who rents, which leave people in bigger dire straits, which lead to more acts of desperation and violence in some cases.  I know the current status quo was preventable, but as with most situations, political environments react after the fact instead of prevent.  Prevention costs money that people don’t have (certainly not in my neighborhood anyway), it requires foresight that people don’t generally understand, and it requires leadership that our political environment does not engender or applaud.  I know that virtually none of these skyrocketed taxes are going to pay the officers on the street.  The cycle keeps perpetuating itself, and until we have real solutions that protect the people and their rights in the process, it will only get worse from here.

*puts away soapbox*

I return you now to your regularly scheduled lives of joy, entertainment, and distraction.  Thank you for reading.

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