For John, BLUF: Some Cities make it and some don't and it is the People who make the difference. Nothing to see here; just move along.
From a post at Renee Aste's blog Cappadocia in Lowell I found a link to K T Kat, writing on the blog The Scratching Post who was talking about Camden, New Jersey. K T is actually living in San Diego, but is somehow either following Camden as I follow Detroit, out of interest and horror and fear, or he has a tie. In my case I have a tie. In the early 1950s we would travel from our small town in South Jersey, through Camden, to get to Philly and points beyond. First by bus and then by car. I remember the Camden Airport and Airport Circle. I can still see the Airport Hotel from the New Jersey Turnpike. I remember the big Walt Whitman Candy sign on the Camden side of the Ben Franklin Bridge. Two of my friends had Fathers who worked in Camden, one as a naval architect and one selling pretzels to workers at the gates of the Sun Shipbuilding Yard. There were jobs in Camden in those days.
Mr K T Kat was talking about an article in Rolling Stone, called "Apocalypse, New Jersey: A Dispatch From America's Most Desperate Town". The point of K T Kat is that no where in the article in Rolling Stone does the writer focus on the responsibility of the People in Camden. That is to say, it is their City. it doesn't belong to the cops or the State of New Jersey or Governor Chris Christie or to Federal Anti-poverty officials or to the drug gangs rampant in the city. The City belongs to the potential voters of Camden and it looks like they gave up.
Not everyone gives up. Reporting from Tepalcatepec, Mexico, The Washington Post gives us:
An audacious band of citizen militias battling a brutal drug cartel in the hills of central Mexico is becoming increasingly well-armed and coordinated in an attempt to end years of violence, extortion and humiliation.Not the Government, state or Federal. Not the Army. Not the Police. The People.
What began as a few scattered self-defense groups has spread in recent months to dozens of towns across Michoacan, a volatile state gripped by the cultlike Knights Templar, a drug gang known for taxing locals on everything from cows to tortillas and executing those who do not comply.
As Renee was saying, don't be a Political Zombie.
Regards — Cliff