Summer Madness: Detroit’s Dangerous Dog Days of Summer…

Detroit Fireworks

♦ It’s About That Time of Year, again (unfortunately) ♦

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”

— Isaac Asimov

DETROIT (JSC) — Almost two years ago (7/21/2009 to be exact), I wrote a blog on here called “Killa Season“. No, it wasn’t a blog about my hatred of everything Dipset. It dealt with what was, at the time, the re-coronation of Detroit as the murder capital of the United States. This was two years ago, not exactly an eternity, but in Detroit, it can be. This predated the horrific incident last year where 17-year-old Southeastern High senior Jerean Blake was murdered by a man twice his age for “looking at him funny”, then about 36 hours later, when the police came looking for the shooter, they raided the home that was harboring him and accidentally killed 7-year-old Ayana Jones in the process of capturing him. In typical Detroit fashion, the people were more outraged at the accidental police killing than they were about the senseless street crime that killed an innocent teen. Detroit’s a city with a checkered history in terms of crime and violence, and some of the most senseless acts of foolishness occur when the seemingly endless winter breaks and the heat comes rolling in. Detroit does have a “Killa Season”. It’s called Summer. Let’s Go.

Detroit Fireworks
The problem with these beautiful fireworks is that often they aren't the only things blasting in Hart Plaza

The summer in Detroit is more than just 4th of July Fireworks (that take place on June 25th), BBQs, the Techno festival “Movement”, Tigers games, and cruising Jefferson Ave. & Belle Isle. Summertime in Detroit is prime time for violence. It’s become commonplace to say on the first hot weekend of the year, which is usually in mid-May, that somebody’s getting their ass kicked or dying tonight. Just look at what has gone on in Detroit in just the last couple of weeks as the temperature has topped out over 90 degrees eight times (as I type this, it is currently 89 degrees in Detroit):

  • July 11: A 3-year-old girl is killed by a stray bullet following a dispute outside a house on the city’s East Side. Aarie Berry was killed after bullets ripped into the second-floor flat in the 3100 block of Canton after 9 p.m. Sunday. The gunfire happened after an altercation between one of the people staying in the four-family housing unit and some next-door neighbors. Aarie and her family were innocent bystanders. Walter Taylor said the fight started earlier that afternoon when he confronted the neighbor, known to him only as “Black G”. Taylor said that Black G insulted him, his brother and his mother, then punched him in the jaw (Damn!). Taylor said his brother pulled a baseball bat against the man. Police were called and responded to the neighborhood after the fight, but no one would come out or talk (more on this in a second). Later, a tan van with four men pulled up to Taylor’s home. The men broke out the windows of the house and taunted Taylor’s family to come out. The men got back into the van, pulled into a nearby alley and began bustin’ shots. At least 20 rounds were fired. The rounds apparently missed Taylor’s house, but at least two went through the second-story door of the place where Aarie was living. The killers are still at large. (Courtesy of the Detroit News)
  • July 11: Five people were wounded at a Cooley High School reunion in Detroit. A 15-year-old, two 18-year-olds, a 26-year-old, and a 41-year-old were wounded in the 9:30 p.m. shooting. A fight broke out at the reunion and a 35-year-old man fired shots from a vehicle into the crowd that had gathered on the now-closed school’s football field at Fenkell and Hubbell. Police spotted the car and have the suspect in custody. (Courtesy of the Detroit Free Press).
  • June 26: Two people were shot and wounded at a Mackenzie High School reunion in Detroit. That’s right, Cooley was the SECOND reunion shooting. Desean Barlow, 22, and Jerome Pegler, 19, are being charged in connection with the shooting that wounded two people. According to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, Barlow allegedly fired shots into the crowd gathered at Wyoming and Westfield, hitting a 54-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy, seriously injuring both. Investigators say Pegler had a weapon during the shooting, too. The shootout was over something very important: either a bottle of liquor, a gold chain, or a pair of sunglasses. (Courtesy of WXYZ Channel 7)
  • June 25: During the yearly Fireworks extravaganza, a 14-year-old boy decided he wanted to show off his gun (why he had one is anyone’s guess) when he accidentally shot himself in the leg, a la Plaxico Burress. The bullet then exited his leg and hit a 16-year-old girl who was nearby. This should also remind you simpletons to why Plaxico was arrested for shooting himself. The bullet could’ve caught someone else. (Courtesy of Yahoo/WXYZ).
Jerean Blake
Jerean Blake was murdered by a man twice his age because he "looked at him funny." But the outrage was over a cop accidentally killing a girl.

This is just a small sample. This isn’t factoring in the other petty crimes, assaults, accidents, and violence in the neighboring suburbs such as Dearborn, Southfield, and Ferndale. The shooting of the 3-year-old is especially infuriating. Basically, another hood tough guy couldn’t handle someone fighting back and ran to get his homies with guns. They then terrorized this family and attempted to shoot up the house, only to miss and hit the wrong one!? C’Mon Dawg! What really pisses me off is the point where when the police actually showed up, NO ONE WOULD SAY ANYTHING!!!! They then complained about the police not responding quickly later. Maybe if you had talked to the cops earlier, this could’ve been cleared up, and that adorable little girl would still be alive. In the aforementioned “Killa Season” blog, I referenced the “Stop Snitchin'” street code and it seems to still be in full effect. In case you forgot:

Part of the crime reporting problems stem from this ridiculous “Stop Snitchin’” culture we live in, where people refuse to cooperate with police in the event of a violent or heinous crime because they don’t want to be labeled a “snitch”. Once again, here’s an equation that even DPS grads can understand:

Participating in a Crime, then Talking to Cops to try to avoid a longer bid = “Snitch”

Witnessing a Crime, then going to police in order to help the investigation = “Brave Citizen”

Witnessing a Crime, then refusing to talk to police in order to protect a “street code” = “Coward”

This is not a Dipset video. This ain’t some cheesy BET Black hood “gangster” movie. This ain’t State Property or Killa Season, dammit! This is real life, and as much as Detroit loves to keep it real, this is a case of when keeping it real has gone horridly wrong!

—“Killa Season: Detroit’s Murder City Blues”, July 21, 2009

I get it. You hate the police. Guess what? The police aren’t very fond of you, either. But don’t complain about them not getting their job done when you tacitly obstruct them from doing their jobs. Help them so they can help you. Sadly, violence (especially from May to September) in Detroit is a way of life around here. It would be great to be able to go to the fireworks and not have to worry about being robbed, harassed, or shot at (accidentally or intentionally). I’d love to be able to go to a cookout or BBQ on Belle Isle w/out having to worry about some video thugs turning it into the Shootout at the O.K. Corral over a pair of fake Cartier sunglasses and a bottle of 1800. A little girl should be able to play in her house w/out her parents having to worry about her being picked off by a stray bullet. Yes, Detroit apologists, I know, “Every city has violence. It’s just that we get ‘picked on’ by the evil media who’s out to make us look bad.” Please miss me with that fool-ass excuse.

Cartier Sunglasses
These sunglasses, which run over $1,000, have caused more summer shootings in DET than we'd like to admit.

I was just in Chicago during the 4th of July weekend. As crazy as it is here, Chicago turns into the Wild Wild West when the temp climbs above 75. But what that has to do with Detroit? Not a Damn Thing. I wasn’t born in Chicago. I didn’t grow up in Washington, D.C.. I didn’t go to college in New Orleans. I don’t live in Miami. I live in Detroit. I care about what goes on here. That weak-ass, buck-passing, “If they’re f—ed up, we can be f—ed up” mentality doesn’t fly with me and shouldn’t fly here. The thing is, I know we can be better. The group “Detroit 300” (a play on the 300 Spartans from one of my all-time favorite movies) is an example of what I mean. They are a band of city residents who are mad as hell at all this foolishness and aren’t gonna take it anymore. But in a city of 713,777 people, why are there just 300 people willing to take a stand? Don’t worry. I’ll wait. Just know that as long as we accept the violence in this city, it will continue to happen. As long as we continue to accept the massive cuts to public safety in the city, it will continue to happen.

I was originally gonna write a blog about my beloved Detroit Tigers at the All-Star Break, but the death of that little girl and the assorted f—ery that has gone on the last few weeks just got me all agitated. Detroit, we need to get it together. End of Discussion. A city is only as strong as the people in it. If that’s the case, we need to get in the gym and stop talking tough. Guess what people: Violence won’t go away or even ease back unless you do something about it. Until that happens, no one is safe. Enjoy your summer, Detroit.

Aarie Berry
This little girl lost her life thanks to a stray bullet. Who's Next?

Until Next Time, That’s The Way It Is. Tuesday, July 12, 2011.

The 230th day since the Detroit Lions’ Last Loss!

Take Care, God Bless, Always Dare to Be Different, and G.O.M.A.B. Σ

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3 Comments on “Summer Madness: Detroit’s Dangerous Dog Days of Summer…

  1. Well written, i think you addressed the matter head on. i wish that someone would do the same for the city that approx 55min away (Flint) who are facing the same issues. It seems these 2 cities battle each other in being in the top 5 murder capitals of the US. Its tough out here for everybody, but we have to stand up and speak out cause this foolishness has got to stop. Thank you for sharing, hopefully someone who needs to hear this..will.

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  2. I almost feel bad for the men in the altercation that led to the three year old being shot. You see, how low must their self worth be that a little taunting turns into pulling out bats and ultimately guns? This perceived disrespect suffered from someone “insulting” their momma has them so up in arms that the only way take back their pride is through murder? Really? This is what’s meaningful to them? Again, I almost feel bad for them. Almost, but not quite.

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