Every now and then I feel compelled to blog about some particularly egregious crimes in Detroit, a city that I've often defended as possessing some positive qualities, but which still is deeply troubled. (See "The Agony of Detroit" and "Deadly Week in Detroit".)
In the past few weeks, I have heard of several other horrendous crimes, but the one that occurred in the predawn hours of President's Day, an AK-47 assault on a west side home that claimed the life of a nine-month-old baby, absolutely turns my stomach.
Police believe the brutal assault was gang-related and stemmed from an altercation in a bar a few days earlier. According to this account in the Detroit Free Press, witnesses said the suspects pulled up in a van, got out and peppered the home with gunfire. The FBI is assisting Detroit Police with the investigation, but regrettably, the harmful "no snitch" mentality so common among urban blacks appears to be hindering the investigation.
This follows two other recent incidents that paint a disturbing picture of dysfunctional people living broken lives in shattered neighborhoods.
Back in December, D'Andre Lane claimed he was carjacked at gunpoint and the thieves took off with his vehicle while his two-year-old daughter Bianca Jones was in the back seat. His story apparently fell apart, and police have searched his home. Meanwhile, the toddler has never been found. Lane has spent time in prison on weapons and narcotics charges, so it is entirely reasonable to suspect foul play. At last report, police were requesting an arrest warrant for Lane.
A couple weeks ago, a 12-year-old girl lost her life over — get this — a CELL PHONE! Kade'jah Davis was shot through the door of her mother's home — allegedly by 19-year-old Joshua Brown
Police say he fired several shots into a closed door after arguing with the child's mother, Almanda Talton. Brown's mother, Heather Brown, drove him to Talton's home to confront her for allegedly stealing Ms. Brown's cell phone. Ms. Talton claims she found the phone and turned it in at a tax preparer's office. Ms. Brown accused Ms. Talton of stealing the phone.
It is stunning, shocking and sickening that a life was lost over a cell phone. Sadly, this is the state of affairs on the mean streets of Detroit, and in too many other urban centers throughout the nation.
These horrible incidents cannot be prevented by putting more police on the streets, locking up perpetrators for longer sentences, or dropping hundreds of billions more dollars on welfare, job training and midnight basketball. No, this must involve a spiritual reawakening, and a fervent, grass roots determination to change the lives of individuals and families, to improve neighborhoods and strive for civility. It must start in the hearts of individuals who are sick and tired of tragedy, violence and needless death. All we can hope from these devastating crimes is that they will mark a turning point, an impetus for meaningful change. I am not optimistic, but I can hope.