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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Detroit: A Decaying City of Rotting Corpses

     Beginning in the 1950s, the middle class in Detroit, Michigan began moving to the suburbs. The exodus accelerated in 1967 following the race riots, and it hasn't stopped. Between 2000 and 2010, 750,000 residents have moved out of the city. Detroit now has a population of 700,000 living in a place  built for 2 million.

    The massive migration from crime, taxes, lousy schools, and falling real estate values has left vast sections of the city virtually abandoned. Because of its dwindling tax base, the city can't afford to demolish more than 30,000 vacant houses. (Youngstown, Ohio has a similar problem.) These urban wastelands consist of empty dwellings, crumbling buildings, crack houses, abandoned vehicles, and vacant lots. And there is garbage everywhere.

     In rural, small town, and suburban America, when someone commits murder and needs to dispose of the body, they deposit the corpse in the woods, in a rural field, or toss it into a river, pond, or lake. Not in Detroit. Murderers in that city take their dead victims to these dying neighborhoods where weeks later they are found decomposing in empty buildings, abandoned vehicles, trash-littered alleyways, and overgrown lots.

     In 2012, more than a dozen homicide victims were dumped in these decaying areas of Detroit. The place has become a dumping grounds for killers. Because the police don't patrol these districts, the corpses lay around for days and weeks stinking up the city.

     There is a forensic scientist in Tennessee named William Bass who runs a so-called body farm where homicide investigators can study post-mortem changes in corpses subjected to a variety of controlled conditions. Perhaps the professor of death could open a branch campus in Detroit.

     In July 2013, the rotting city of Detroit, twenty billion dollars in debt, filed for bankruptcy in federal court. An autopsy of this place will reveal its cause and manner of financial death--fifty years of big government and political corruption. Public unions in Detroit are challenging the right of the municipality to enter bankruptcy. This means the Michigan city will lay around that much longer stinking up the rest of the country. 

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