When Monica Conyers resigned from the Detroit city council after pleading guilty to bribery charges I was overjoyed. This was one of the finest days in the city's recent history. But my glee was short-lived.
Before I had an opportunity to prepare invites to my Farewell Monica party, two young men shot seven other youths on the city's west side in broad daylight. Suddenly, Monica was just another corrupt politician who mattered little. What mattered more was the fact that young people are now literally running the streets gunning others down like we live in the old Wild West. This is truly lunacy. What a week!
It took me a few days to write anything because I was conflicted. I was wrestling a plethora of emotions. Happiness, sadness, optimism and pessimism. We can't seem to take a step forward in this city without taking two steps backward. Progress, transgress, digress, outrage and sadness -- that seems to be the formula, and we have been on a steady diet of it for decades.
Remember the shooting at the Freedom Festival Fireworks in 2004? Nine people were wounded. No one ever went to trial for the crime. The police may get the shooter in this week's assault near Cody High School of seven summer school students. The first suspect arrested has already been released. Two gunmen were captured on a gas station videotape at the crime scene running around firing wildly as the victims tried to flee. I hope that they are eventually arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned for life. I have hope, but not confidence.
I am even less confident in the fact that the culture of violence in the city will dissipate anytime soon. I want to be more hopeful for the future of young Detroiters, but the reality is that anyone raising young people here ought to think about bolting -- now. What are the prospects of a viable future, a thriving city, if we cannot guarantee the safety of those who would lead us tomorrow anyway?