How The Hell Did This Happen?

IMG_5131Today we took a drive down Woodward Avenue, from Russell’s place in Pontiac all the way down to downtown Detroit.  It is a breath-taking trip that takes you deep into the dark and disturbing heart of urban decay.

Woodward is an eight-lane boulevard that rolls through tony suburbs like Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham.  At one point the road crosses over a highway and enters Detroit proper, and the landscape changes.

IMG_5177Countless structures along this major road are graffiti-covered, burnt-out, gutted, weed-grown, collapsing.  It is riveting and immensely powerful and jaw-dropping, all at the same time.  You can’t help but reflect on the loss of wealth and the loss of hope that accompanied this slow-moving, terrible disaster.

As the miles rolled by and the sad vistas passed, I had one simple thought:  “How the hell did this happen?”  Was it the hubris of the domestic auto industry?  Was it political corruption and incompetent local government?  Was it poorly conceived “urban renewal” projects that took money away from places where it could have made a difference?  Or was it just titanic economic forces that decreed that once-mighty and wealthy Detroit was due for a fall?

I’ll post more pictures about our journey down Woodward Avenue this afternoon and tonight.  But still I wonder:  “How the hell did this happen?”

2 thoughts on “How The Hell Did This Happen?

  1. It happened in part when people started burning other peoples home, there is a section on Jefferson avenue of about five miles of burnt our and mostly removed suburbans city blocks the were torched when Martin Luther King was killed. the national guard was called in to quell the riots that lasted for nearly ten days.
    After that whites moved north of 14 mile and then Downtown Detroit Died a slow death. In spite of the Renaissance center a colossal waste. Drug culture played its cancerous part, people shooting each other, kids with guns. It became a mad house. I lived on the edge of Gross point at the hare Krishna Center just north of the Chrysler factories. It was simply too dangerous to go there, good people left then the bad people left. Everything material has a beginning and an end, this is what the end of a city looks like, a monument to ignorance and the abandonment of God consciousness. All other explanations are piecemeal. Hare Krishna.
    Thank you for the memory.


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