by Michael Madshack, DP Assistant Editor
Wednesday, April 27th, 2011,
Detroit, MI —Budget woes and a limping economic recovery have caused the city of Detroit to finally do the unthinkable. After weeks of heated debate, city officials said Monday that beginning next month Detroit will be canceling at least half its murders.
Such an announcement has left both the city's homicidal and non-homicidal residents in shock and despair, as the recent murder-capital of the United States prepares to spend the rest of 2011 experiencing only 175 murders instead of the 350 the small but deadly city has come to expect annually.
City council president Charles Pugh broke the bad news to reporters outside Detroit City Hall Monday evening, following a 6-to-3 council vote on the matter. "After great debate and weeks of agonizing," said a visibly somber Pugh, "we regret to inform the people of Detroit that based on our city's massive budget shortfalls, the number of Detroit's murders will have to be cut in half beginning next month."
Pugh added that the severe cuts in murders is indefinite, probably extending well past next year. Detroit has been struggling with the cost of investigating and prosecuting the city's world-famous homicides for years, but that has not softened the blow to residents who have come to take pride in their ramped number of deadly shootings, stabbings, beatings, poisonings, and steamrollings.
"Cancelling murders in Detroit is like cancelling Christmas in Bethlehem!" screamed angry Detroit resident Bridget Lawson outside city hall after the announcement Monday. "We've heard they were thinking of doing this but never thought they would. Things can't be that bad -not that bad! At least half our killings cancelled? Just gone? Detroit will never recover!"
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has been unable to personally comment on the cancellation of much of the city's homicides, as he remains in a coma after being shot last Friday night. From his hospital bed in Harper University Hospital, Mayor Bing's spokesperson, Karen Dumas, said that if capable, the mayor would undoubtedly be appalled by the city council's decision and would have done everything possible to keep Detroit’s' homicidal citizens in business.
"Detroit's murderers have come to have a special place in the city's heart," said Dumas to the Detroit News Monday. "Some people like to play in Detroit's parks, some like to watch our sports teams, some like to visit our museums, and some like to murder...The crazed, the insane, the brutal, or just plain evil –they've all come to love and respect Detroit. What does this cutback by the city council say to those people? It says we don't care, that's what. And that's not true."
The Blame Game: Michigan's GOP in the Crosshairs
Some Detroit murderers question why the city's long-existing budget woes have come to impact them at this particular time. Many residents point out that Michigan now has its first Republican governor in nearly a decade, and a controversial one at that. Much like Wisconsin's governor, Scott Walker, Governor Rick Snyder has recently gained the ire of Michigan public unions and teachers as his administration aims to cut back on the state's immense budget deficit.
"Detroit knows how to run (itself). We don't need that Rick Snyder pullin' the strings on what we do with our money!" said routine homicidal resident Eugene Gates. Gates, 28, said Snyder and the Michigan Republican Party have hated that Detroit has sported some of the highest murder rates in the country for years, occasionally beating other cities like St. Louis, MO, and Camden, NJ, as the bloodiest town in America.
Lamented Gates, a self-described "independent pharmaceutical representative" on Detroit's south side, "The city council's just doin' what the Republicans want 'em to do. They just don't know how to have fun. I was planning on cappin' this one motherfucker that I've seen encroachin' on my territory this week, but now I can't. Thanks, Rick Snyder!"
For his part, Gov. Snyder has kept silent on the Detroit city budget-murder battle, but did issue a press statement early Tuesday commenting on the city council's decision. Said the governor's office, "The city council never said there can no longer be murders within Detroit city limits, only that they must be reduced in order to ensure greater fiscal stability of the city. From a state perspective, Detroit residents are still free to murder within the city, but must practice greater restraint, as we all should in these hard economic times."
Continued the governor's statement, "This is what all Michiganians should do, in fact: save more, prioritize budgets more effectively, and kill only who you really want to kill or need to kill. ...That's what we've been advocating all along −greater personal responsibility."
Cancelling Murder Puts a "Hit" on Tourism
Even worse than hurting the feelings of Detroit's murderers, the financially floundering city may now be hurting its tourism industry, as many tourists have flocked over the years to see Detroit's expert killers working their craft.
On vacation from their home in Sutton Springs, Idaho, Marcia and Dale Kleinmann said they were sorry to see Detroit's city council take such drastic measures, but were glad to have at least gotten the chance to visit the Midwest's murder capital this year. "At least we got to see why they call this one of the deadliest cities in America," said Mrs. Kleinmann to Duh Progressive Tuesday. "We saw that store get robbed down by the Gross Pointe area. Then we saw that young black kid get beaten to death by those Salvadorian kids in that alley -some gang initiation thing, they said....We've had a wonderful time here. It's a shame they're going to be cutting back on it so much."
Potential tourists have been left contemplating other ultraviolent destinations to visit as the summer traveling season gets underway.
"With my wife threatening to divorce and take the kids away, I thought Detroit would be the best place to take her on vacation this year," said Brian Vollenhaus, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. "But now I'm back to square one. I could always work a little extra and save up more money to take her to Tijuana; that might do the trick...”
Detroit Residents Wonder: Who Are We Now?
Few Detroiters say they are pleased with the council's decision to cancel their murders by at least half. Since losing its clout as the "motor city" years ago, few Detroiters felt they had much left to feel proud of. However city pride was restored as the blood flowed and the nickname of Motor City became replaced with Murder City.
Now, though, some are questioning whether the move is not symptomatic of a disturbing shift in the mood of the city. Is it an honest move to stop the bleeding of a bloated municipal budget, or does the council's decision mark a shift in how Detroiters view their crime rate, specifically murders? Is Detroit becoming anti-murder, residents ask.
"First they cancelled the new ballpark, then they banned smoking in bars, then they cancelled the parade last year and the new sewer plant, now they want to cancel our murders...Seriously, why don't they just cancel Detroit all together?" said an irate Tony Cinetti, 39, a proud lifelong Detroit resident. "My brother was accidently killed by a stray bullet two years ago in a drive-by. I was heartbroken, but then I was like, 'Man, this couldn't have happened in a better town! This is what makes Detroit Detroit!'"
Fighting back tears, Cinetti struggled to think of his beloved city now on course to experience only a measly 3,000 homicides next year. "If people don't want to see murders or be murdered they can go live somewhere else," said Cinetti. "They're taking away our spirit, our pride. I'd hate to see Detroit reduced t...wait...oh, shit! Oh God! I've just been shot! ...Oh Jesus...Oh God! I'm bleeding! Taken one to the belly! Good shot, whoever you are driving away!! Ahh, I love Detroit! ...Excuse me....gotta call ambulance...”