A Personal Tale of Murder, Depression and Deprivation in Flint, MI

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Somehow, I’m still surprised to see Flint, MI in the headlines.

I moved away from my hometown of Flint just two months ago. It was the best move I ever made in my life. My mom decided to move back to Flint from Texas after three years because she missed her family and hated the fertile, full of opportunity economy of Texas. Trouble is, Flint is an abysmal cesspool financially and socially. She didn’t think, and now she wonders how she’ll get by without a job from week to week. I can’t say I didn’t warn her.

Let me put the job market of Flint in perspective for you in a personal manner: In eight months in Flint, my mom had one temporary job for three weeks. I never came close to finding a job. However, within ONE WEEK in my new hometown, I had two job interviews and a job. Call it chance, but I think that speaks volumes for not only Flint’s depraved atmosphere, but my mom’s foolishness.

Enough insipid tales about my life.

Thirteen stabbings and five deaths later, Flint has made CNN headlines again for its bleak, murderous stigma. To put this in non-boring mass media news terms, an idiot in Flint is acting like he’s in distress, only to shank the Good Samaritans that attempt to help him.

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What was once 235 acres of prosperity for Flint is now a barren wasteland.

I must say, this is more entertaining than the usual gang shootings. Hearing gunfire every other night for six years got boring, after all. One time, these Emmy award winners decided to entertain me in the neighbor’s yard. Soon after, my dad soaked the house in gasoline, threw a match and swept us to a more docile city.

Yeah, I thought I was done talking about my own life, too.

Thirteen stabbings and five deaths later, Flint once again asserts itself as one of the worst places to live and the loud, proud anus of the state of Michigan. All that seems to be left of Flint are the scars in the Earth where automotive factories used to proudly roll out fresh new cars. My mom, grandfathers, grandmother on one side, aunt, uncle and father all made a living through General Motors and Delphi. My grandfather was once vice president for the Chrysler division of UAW. Today, all they have to show for their work are the ashes of the useless certificates they got for their 10-20 years of service resting comfortably in their respective fireplaces. They’re still there, because their repossessed houses haven’t been sold yet. That explains all of the boarded-up houses on the block I grew up on.

Nope, not done yet. Don’t worry – my mom bought a repossessed house with the meager restitution she was given to quit GM. We found a former Fannie Mae executive living in the basement living off of the crumbs of a more prosperous yesteryear. Bitter crumbs, they are.

Thirteen stabbings and five deaths later, Flint now has the attention it needs from the media. Now, everyone can be reminded of how much of a fecal smear Flint has become. A fecal smear of which is becoming less and less conspicuous on the map by the year – but just as smelly. Good news, because it’s the only media attention Flint will get until another second grader takes his mom’s gun to school and shoots it up.

I finally understood how bad Flint was when I heard a friend of mine was starting a bullet casing collection – from his front yard. When I returned, I saw roaches and rats vacating the city with their belongings on their backs. Now-homeless retirees of GM return to the remains of the once-bustling GM plant to make-believe the tasks that once gave them and their children a future. If walls could talk, there would be a cacophony of screams permeating the dead air from the likes of crack houses, meth labs, condemned shacks and soon-to-be-demolished buildings.

Perhaps you read about the stabbings in Flint on CNN and it was your first time being exposed to the city of Flint. Hell of a first impression! Perhaps you said to yourself “Well, all of Michigan is screwed beyond belief thanks to the collapse of GM and the rest of the automakers.” I defy you to take a twenty-year walk back in time and find a city in this state that has filled the toilet full of feces and traveled down the pipes into the deepest, darkest realm of the sewer faster than Flint. Detroit? Sure, but it’s a big city. That’s not fun, nor is it entertaining. They still have the Red Wings and Eminem. I doubt you’ll see any of the few famous faces to come out of Flint “reppin'” any time soon.

Perhaps, like me, you call or once called Flint home and feel the same way I do, and wonder if things will ever change. I mean, come on, even Hiroshima was able to be rebuilt after they were decimated with an atomic bomb. The radiation killed off thousands over time, but at least they had pretty buildings! Flint needs more than simple restoration and urban development – it needs an extreme makeover that would make Ty Pennington run screaming. It needs a complete overhaul financially with competent leaders and minds who can set up the rebuilding process.

This just in – Flint and Michigan is essentially broke. Well, so much for that idea!

Then again, speaking of money, Flint could use what Kalamazoo got – a bunch of billionaires giving millions of dollars towards guaranteed scholarships to schools thanks to their lazy, unmotivated students adding up to a massive dropout rate. It was dubbed “The Kalamazoo Promise.” Would Flint have too much pride to accept such a gift? Who knows.

I finally digress.

Thirteen stabbings and five deaths later, Flint still needs help. And thirteen stabbings and five deaths later, Flint still won’t get the help it needs. Which means, that’s thirteen stabbings and five deaths I’ll just experience somewhere else in this depressing, depraved state.

John Danz Jr is a serious writer with a penchant for poetry and building a foundation in every form of writing. He is motivated by a never-ending thirst for informed knowledge and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with every completed poem or story.

A drummer drawn to classic and modern rock/metal music, John is deeply interested in meteorology, psychology, sociology and philosophy. Weather has always fascinated him, he wants to know why people do what they do, understand the cultures of the world, reflect on great minds and gain a better understanding of this world and our place in it.