BIG TROUBLE SMALL CITY

BIG TROUBLE SMALL CITY- PART 1

This article is the first in a series and the purpose is to put all of the problems on the table one by one and break it down and what it means and hopefully at the end of the series we will be able to understand how things got to this point and what should happen from this point forward.

2015 after the projects were shot up. The house, now torn down was marked with graffiti from new homicide victims and old.

   Big city shit exists here even though it’s a small city. Actually two cities; just divided by a single strip of railroad tracks. One of the cities, Muskegon, or what is known to the locals as “Downtown”, is home to just over 40,000 people, and Muskegon Heights, or “The Heights”, is home to just 10,000 people but as of late has become known as the most violent and poorest place in the state of Michigan rivaling cities on the national top 10 list like Flint and Detroit.

MUST KEEP A GUN

   There are several key factors that create the conditions Muskegon, and Muskegon Heights are dealing with, but to understand the problem it can’t be looked at as one big picture, but as a collage made up of many smaller problems that equal the bigger picture. In order for things to even begin to be normal again each problem must be dealt with accordingly and on an individual level.

A FEW OF THESE PROBLEMS ARE LISTED BELOW

These problems separately may not seem like much even though harsh and severe, but together they create a Major problem. Together these programs and policies have the power to destroy communities and have already caught many of our people in a trap and locked them in a vicious cycle.

  1. Poor education quality
  2. high poverty percentage
  3. secure city placement
  4. lack of understanding and commitment from local government
  5. PROJECT SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS
  6. LACK OF YOUTH PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES
  7. OUTSIDERS INSIDE OUR NEIGHBORHOODS/ dollars leaving the community

the violence

A FATHER WAVES HIS DAUGHTER OFF WITH ASSAULT RIFLE ON HIS BACK.
FOOTBALL GAMES HAVE BEEN CANCELLED BECAUSE OF VIOLENCE AND TEAMS REFUSING TO PLAY IN MUSKEGON

   Gun violence has risen. Murders are an act of normalcy. No one even gets surprised anymore and almost expects it. Most of the murders go unsolved and it looks as if now people don’t shoot in the air anymore but are taking aim and trying to gun their enemies down. What’s even more ironic is that the news and media that cover this area and how they view the cities. It’s evident by their reporting that they care nothing about the cities of Muskegon and Muskegon heights. Its a sad situation.

   The city is basically divided by first gangs where it used to be streets and neighborhoods. The two most prominent gangs here are the Gangster Disciples (Growth and Development for some), and the Bloods Gang. There is usually no beef but the incoming influence of gangs has basically erased all hood loyalty and unity that once existed. It was once – if we were from the same hood I would never rob you – but now that doesn’t matter. Just walking down the street at night feels eerie, especially if the other person coming your way has his hand in his pocket and your mind is playing tricks on you I’ve spoken to a lot of people from other places due to me doing time in federal prison and I’ve came across many people that have been in Muskegon and also come from violent places such as Detroit, Flint, or Chicago, but when they get into conflict and gunfights here or any type of beef they say its different. They say it'[s because of the small size but yet it still possesses the dangers of much bigger cities. The local city government must also know, understand, and accept that they have failed in every aspect of local government. From the closing of schools and merging most of the grades and different ages of kids in the same building. Ripping up playgrounds and the outrageous incarceration rates. What happens when young men go through these prison doors? even jail doors? Now a days once the go through prison doors and 7 out 10 are forced to chose a side and gangs are the only place to turn in a vicious world like prison or jail where the majority rules. And when released this behavior and attitude returns to the street with them and it is a part of them (look at Nick AKA Bleed).  More on gangs later.

  It seems as if the city is doing nothing to help the problem besides lock people up. It means that just like the school closures, the roads that look lile they come out of a war movie, the blight (abandoned houses, over grown fields etc…) human lives are to go to ruin just like the rest of the city’s possessions it has let rot.

The people may be friendly, but the stats are bad.

This used to be a good neighborhood

As shown  in the chart at the beginning of the article, when it comes to poverty Muskegon is at 48%  which is higher than Detroit and other cities. This could lead to “broke being the route to all evil”. Not only is the job climate very slim but the jobs that are available are out of town in Holland, or in Grand Haven. This  adds more stress to a person already living below the poverty line even though employment rates are up this could be a trick only on paper if the jobs are out of town. Baby sitters and van services take up most paychecks  in Muskegon.

When people are poor people are desperate. When there are no playgrounds children are antsy and learn things way beyond their youth and shit that’s taboo. Ultimately it’s up to the citizens to Make Muskegon Safe Again, no one else can do it. You see, if left up to the cops and local government they won’t do a single thing but send in state troopers  and when they come they don’t play by the book. They willingly and knowingly violate the rights of Muskegon citizens and use a program called Secure Cities to do so with no care as to how they violate the citizens. You can’t forget that they have military grade weapons, helicopters like this is Compton, and continue to rip apart our community when  this can be done from the inside. Is it illegal to joy ride? why do you pay car insurance? Especially when it’s so high in Michigan. Not to mention the piot holes. Why do you have a license to operate on the road which is permission from the state, only to be harassed by the people sworn to protect and serve and not violate the people. Even when doing simple traffic stops state troopers jump out of their car or truck like they’re the ones running from the police. If you ask why you were pulled over they simply say, “because we saw you too many times”.

In federal prison it’s segregated, and self governing. If you’re from Michigan then you’re on homie time unless you get on gang time or religious time. This means the homies from Michigan are responsible for you, as are you for them. This needs to roll over into the streets. Not on no institutional shit but, we need to govern our own. We need to hold one another responsible and accountable for teaching the kids, and adults different paths and ethics to stand on. That education is all important, not necessarily school education, because there are people that have never been to school and can run circles around those that have. I’m one of them. But education comes from family, community, and peers.

In the huddle sending loved ones off with liquor and laughs.
Life is real. 2015 brought a new atmosphere to the streets of Muskegon

This brings me to the gang culture and literature and utilizing aspects of it to regain control over our city. One of the laws in every street organization  is education and it’s always close to the top. Which means that if the youth follow gang culture then why don’t the elders find the good in the gang culture and utilize it? This will get the youth. At the end of the day the end justifies the means. I will get to this later in another article in the series.

poor education QUALITY

The factors that contribute to poor education quality is not one thing, but a combination of things that have a negative effect on children’s learning. Things such as leadership, vision, professional learning, and development contribute to high quality of education. Unsafe learning environments and inappropriate teaching practices are also factors in poor quality education and care. Where quality is poor, there is little sense or understanding by managers and/or educators of what high quality looks like. Managers and educators lack the capability to change practice, often believing that what they do is going well, and they are unaware of issues or risks to the children. Poor quality education is entrenched in the ghetto and with school closures and the demolishing of schools that still look in tact it looks like the situation will only get worse before it gets better. School closures are a serious problem in Muskegon. A big issue but no one is beating down the doors of city hall. It barely gets brought up. Poor education quality and poor graduation rates lead to incarceration which continues and harbors the concept of education to incarceration. The government sees trends and prepares for them, creates laws for them, and when there is community unwanted subjects (us) in the community they create places for those subjects to be warehoused and hidden away. And all this is legal.

what is secure cities?

THIS IS WHAT ALLOWS THE STATE TROOPERS TO PATROL MUSKEGON AND OTHER ‘SECURE CITIES’ THROUGHOUT THE STATE OF MICHIGAN.

In March 2012, Governor Rick Snyder said Michigan must address crime through a comprehensive system of “smart justice” that recognizes the connection between enforcement, prevention, and economic opportunity. In response to the Governor’s message, the Michigan State Police (MSP) developed the Secure Cities Partnership (SCP). By taking a comprehensive approach to addressing crime the MSP say they are working to create a safer environment and increase the quality of life in the cities on the secure cities list. In order for them to take this approach it requires an increase in law enforcement personnel, reform to the justice system, and inter-agency cooperation and collaboration. The adoption of a regionalized, no-boundary, data-driven policing model laid the foundation for the MSP’s leadership role in the SCP.

Even though reported crime rates are down throughout most of Michigan, the state will not prosper until it tackles the problems in our most violent cities. The report reads. According to (FBI) crime data, Detroit, Flint,Muskegon Heights, Pontiac, Benton Harbor, Hamtramck, Harper Woods, Highland Park, Inkster,…… . At first the Secure Cities Partnership started with only 4 cities, but with additional financial support from the Governor and Legislature, the program expanded in 2015 to 10 cities then again in April 2017, it was further expanded to include Lansing, for a total of 11 cities today.

what is project safe neighborhoods? (Article coming soon – HOW MOST STATE CASES GO FEDERAL-

Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide initiative that brings together federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and community leaders to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in a community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. In an effort to reduce violent crime, the Department of Justice has taken steps to strengthen the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program and other initiatives. … TO BE CONTINUED

Next article in the series Project safe neighborhood will be broken down and how it affects everyone.

20 replies »

  1. This is a wonderful article. I appreciate your writing and what you have brought to the table. i think it is going to take people with passion for change in the Heights and Muskegon communities to demand more for themselves and their children. It all comes down to choices. Its not always easy to make the right choice, but people have to want more for themselves and hold others in their communities accountable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So sad!! I honestly moved my kids out of the city of Muskegon because I didn’t want them to have to worry about poor education and what follows!! There needs to be programs brought about to help the youth now and help make Muskegon and Muskegon Heights better for the future generations!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so true and sad. I left Muskegon a year ago due to this. It hurts because my life and family there. I just couldnt take it no more.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My heart hurts for both cities. My family has a lot of mixed people in it and it scares me to death to think of what can happen to them all the time. My grandson o’mar Aleem is trying so hard to make a difference and is doing a great job but we need more. I also feel parents need to pay attention to what is going on in their kids lives. I’m praying people will try to pull together and fight for our cities and not fight each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you I barely hit on the topics. It’s important that people read the articles. We work hard and we are for the cause.. The problem has been building for years. Programs could have been in place to help but now look.

    Like

  6. This is so sad,once schools started closing and jobs left the area,it just got worse. You cant even sit at home without worrying about gun fire. I am glad I moved,but feel for those still there. This is a wonderful and truthful article. Cant wait to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is my hometown. My heart is so broken for the city as a WHOLE! I knew it had gotten bad however, not to the extent! I can barely wrap my head around this article… Thank you for your journalism

    Liked by 1 person

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