Do you want to see where this country is headed? If so, don't focus on the few areas that are still very prosperous. New York City has Wall Street, Washington D.C. has the federal government and Silicon Valley has Google and Facebook. Those are the exceptions. The reality is that most of the country has been experiencing a slow decline for a very long time and once thriving cities such as Gary, Indiana and Flint, Michigan have become absolute hellholes. They are examples of what the rest of America will look like soon. 60 years ago, most Americans were decent, hard working people and there were always good jobs available for anyone that was willing to roll up his or her sleeves and put in an honest day of work. But now all of that has changed. Over the past decade, tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities have shut down and millions of jobs have left the country. Cities such as Cleveland, Baltimore and Detroit were once shining examples of everything that was right about America, but now they stand out like festering sores. The "blue collar cities" have been hit the hardest by the gutting of our economic infrastructure. There are many communities in America today where it seems like all of the hope and all of the life have been sucked right out of them. You can see it in the eyes of the people. The good times are gone permanently and they know it. Unfortunately, the remainder of the country will soon be experiencing the despair that those communities are feeling.
The following are 12 hellholes that are examples of what the rest of America will look like soon....
#1 Gary, Indiana
Gary, Indiana was once a great industrial city.
Today, it is one of the ten most dangerous cities in America, and the population has fallen by about 50 percent.
The following is from a recent Daily Mail article....
Frequently rated one of the ten most dangerous cities in the United States, Gary once boomed with jobs and opportunities but now faces the acute difficulties of America's growing rust belt, with 22 percent of families in the once-great city now lying below the poverty line.
This modern American ghost town began life as home for workers at the United States Steel Corporation plant until economic competition from abroad forced a 90 percent job cut.
It is hard to describe what is happening to Gary without using the word "depressing". You can watch a great video that shows what Gary, Indiana looks like these days right here.
This is what happens when industry leaves and there are no jobs. Gary has become a wasteland and there is essentially no hope for a turnaround.
The following is how James Kunstler described what he experienced when he traveled through Gary, Indiana recently....
Between the ghostly remnants of factories stood a score of small cities and neighborhoods where the immigrants settled five generations ago. A lot of it was foreclosed and shuttered. They were places of such stunning, relentless dreariness that you felt depressed just imagining how depressed the remaining denizens of these endless blocks of run-down shoebox houses must feel. Judging from the frequency of taquerias in the 1950s-vintage strip-malls, one inferred that the old Eastern European population had been lately supplanted by a new wave of Mexicans. They had inherited an infrastructure for daily life that was utterly devoid of conscious artistry when it was new, and now had the special patina of supernatural rot over it that only comes from materials not found in nature disintegrating in surprising and unexpected ways, sometimes even sublimely, like the sheen of an oil slick on water at a certain angle to the sun. There was a Chernobyl-like grandeur to it, as of the longed-for end of something enormous that hadn't worked out well.
Sadly, Gary is far from alone. There are a whole host of other formerly great U.S. cities that are degenerating into hellholes as well.
#2 Chicago, Illinois
There is something truly special about Chicago. Most of America loved the Bears of the Walter Payton era, the Bulls of the Michael Jordan era and the Cubs of the Ernie Banks era. Chicago is also known for great architecture and great pizza.
But these days "the windy city" is becoming known for other things.
The murder rate in Chicago is up 38 percent so far this year, and the recent spike in violence in the city has made national headlines.
That means that those officers are outnumbered 500 to 1, and more gang members pour into the city every single day.
The escalating violence in Chicago was detailed in a recent article in the Telegraph....
"This is a block-to-block war here, a different dynasty on every street," said a dreadlocked young man heavily inked in gang tattoos who calls himself "Killer".
"All the black brothers just want to get rich, but we got no jobs and no hope. We want the violence to stop but you ain't safe if you ain't got your pistol with you. Too many friends, too many men are being killed. We don't even cry at funerals no -more. Nobody expects to live past 21 here."
The victims and killers are mainly black males aged between 15 and 35, often with gang affiliations - but not exclusively. A seven-year-old girl, Heaven Sutton, was buried this month after being gunned down at her mother's street sweet store. And last week, two girls aged 12 and 13 were shot and badly-wounded as they walked home from a newly-opened community centre.
If you are thinking of moving to Chicago, you might want to think again.
#3 Detroit, Michigan
I have written repeatedly about Detroit because it is a perfect example of what the rest of America is going to look like soon.
Once upon a time it was regarded as one of the top manufacturing cities the world had ever seen, but today it has become a total hellhole.
There are very few decent jobs available, poverty has exploded and crime is everywhere.
And as I wrote about recently, justifiable homicide in Detroit increased by a whopping 79 percent during 2011, and the rate of self-defense killings in Detroit is now approximately 2200% above the national average.
Is it any wonder that you can still buy a house for $100 in some areas of Detroit?
The truth is that many areas of Detroit now resemble a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Perhaps that is why one team of investors actually wants to turn some of the worst areas of Detroit into a zombie theme park....
Derelict areas of Detroit face being taken over by hordes of 'flesh and brain-eating zombies' if an ambitious business plan takes off.
Entrepreneur Mark Siwak wants to create live-action terror theme park 'Z World' on Motor City's run-down and abandoned streets.
Customers would pay to be chased by professional actors and try to seek shelter in ghostly homes, factories and businesses.
You can see some great video of the "ruins of Detroit" right here.
#4 Stockton, California
Stockton is one of the ten most dangerous cities in America and it recently made national headlines when it declared bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, as spending on law enforcement has declined it has given the criminals a lot more room to operate in Stockton. The following is from a recent Business Insider article....
The city has cut more than $90 million in spending over the past few years, specifically in its police department. The city has cut over one quarter of its police jobs, which has led to a "surge in murders," and has created an "emboldened criminal element" in the city. According to police spokesman Joe Silva, the city has had 87 murders since the start of 2011, 29 of which have already occurred this year. In contrast, there were 35 murders in 2009 and 48 in 2010. With six months left in the year, there have already been more murders in the city since the start of 2011 than the two-year stretch of 2009-2010.
A while back in Stockton a billboard was put up with the following message: "Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California. Stop laying off cops."
#5 Flint, Michigan
Flint, Michigan is a city that Michael Moore has made famous. Flint once supported hordes of middle class workers thanks to a thriving auto industry, but today it is a just a rotting shell. It looks like a war went through it and nobody bothered to clean up the mess.
At this point, the murder rate in Flint, Michigan is worse than the murder rate in Baghdad. That is how nightmarish things have become in Flint.
The following is from an article in the New York Times....
It’s not that the cops here are scared; it’s just that they’re outmanned, outgunned and flat broke.
Flint is the birthplace of General Motors and the home of the U.A.W.’s first big strike. In case you didn’t know this, the words “Vehicle City” are spelled out on the archway spanning the Flint River.
But the name is a lie. Flint isn’t Vehicle City anymore. The Buick City complex is gone. The spark-plug plant is gone. Fisher Body is gone.
What Flint is now is one of America’s murder capitals. Last year in Flint, population 102,000, there were 66 documented murders. The murder rate here is worse than those in Newark and St. Louis and New Orleans. It’s even worse than Baghdad’s.
Politicians love to go to Flint and make speeches, but things never get any better. The following are comments that Joe Biden made about Flint, Michigan during a recent speech he gave to promote a jobs bill....
"In 2008, when Flint had 265 sworn officers on their police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city. In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65 and rapes--just to pick two categories--climbed to 229. In 2011, you now only have 125 shields. God only knows what the numbers will be this year for Flint if we don't rectify it."
But don't look down on Flint - these kinds of conditions are coming to where you live soon enough.
#6 West Philly
Did you know that 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty?
There are some sections of Philadelphia that are actually very nice, but there are others that look like society has forgotten about them for decades.
A recent article by Jim Quinn entitled "More Than 30 Blocks Of Grey And Decay" described the depressing conditions in West Philadelphia. Quinn refers to his drive through this area as "the 30 Blocks of Squalor"....
The real unemployment rate exceeds 50%, murder is the number one industry, with drugs a close second.
But it was not always this way. Once upon a time, West Philly was actually a thriving area and was full of middle class families.
So what happened?
That is a very good question.
According to Quinn, the physical decay in West Philly is matched by the social decay....
The once proud homes are in shambles. Bags of garbage dot the landscape. Most of the people who live here are parasites on society. Personal responsibility, work ethic, education and marriage are unknown concepts in this community. Even though more than 50% of the students in West Philly drop out of high school and the SAT scores of West Philly High students are lower than whale ****, the bankrupt school district spent $70 million to build a new high school/prison to babysit derelicts and future prison inmates. The windows do not have steel bars yet, as the architect was smart to put all windows at least eight feet above street level.
These days there is a lot of despair in "the city of brotherly love". It is so sad to see what is happening to what once was such a proud city.
#7 Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland has always had a love/hate relationship with itself. Many who live there call it "the mistake by the lake", but the truth is that it was once a truly great city.
Sadly, today it is symbol of what has gone wrong with America.
There has been a steady stream of businesses that have left Cleveland and today 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty.
There are not enough good jobs in Cleveland anymore, and so there are not enough workers to buy the tens of thousands of homes that have been foreclosed or abandoned.
So what is being done with all of those empty homes?
Unfortunately, they are being torn down.
The following comes from a recent CBS News report by Scott Pelley....
Across America, recession-fueled foreclosures and plummeting home values have left countless properties abandoned and vulnerable to looting. As Scott Pelley reports, the problem has gotten so bad in Cleveland, Ohio, that county officials have demolished more than 1,000 homes this year - and plan to demolish 20,000 more - rather than let the blight spread and render nearby homes worthless.
Does that seem right to you?
Should Cleveland be destroying tens of thousands of homes that families could be using?
Something has gone very, very wrong in this country.
#8 Camden, New Jersey
If you want to see what a hellhole looks like just visit Camden, New Jersey.
Although you will probably want to take an armed escort with you.
As industry has abandoned Camden, the gangs have basically taken over. The "growth industries" in Camden these days are drug dealing and prostitution.
In an article entitled "City of Ruins", reporter Chris Hedges described what life is like in Camden at this point....
There are perhaps a hundred open-air drug markets, most run by gangs like the Bloods, the Latin Kings, Los Nietos and MS-13. Knots of young men in black leather jackets and baggy sweatshirts sell weed and crack to clients, many of whom drive in from the suburbs. The drug trade is one of the city's few thriving businesses. A weapon, police say, is never more than a few feet away, usually stashed behind a trash can, in the grass or on a porch.
Not that other cities in New Jersey are shining examples for the rest of the world either.
For example, if you want to get really depressed just drive through the bad parts of Newark some time.
#9 St. Louis
According to U.S. News and World Report, the most dangerous city in the United States is St. Louis.
If you have a death wish, just wander around the streets of East St. Louis at night.
There is a decent chance that someone will shoot you.
Things were not always this way in St. Louis. But today things have gotten so bad that you can find packs of wild dogs roaming the city digging through trash and threatening children.
The following is from a report by the local CBS affiliate in St. Louis....
...Lewis Reed is sounding the alarm. "I’ve witnessed packs of dogs, 10 and 15 dogs running together, and I’ve seen all these dogs I’m talking about they don’t have collars, they don’t have tags, these are truly wild dogs," he said.
Reed says stray dogs are terrorizing the north side. "It’s obscene that parents have to walk their kids to school, in some parts of the city, with a golf club to fend off wild dogs."
This kind of thing is actually happening in America?
#10 New Orleans, Louisiana
The problems that New Orleans has experienced have been well documented.
But unlike most of the cities listed above, at least New Orleans has an excuse. New Orleans permanently lost 29% of its population after Hurricane Katrina, and large sections of the city were essentially destroyed by that storm.
Even today, there are still some areas of New Orleans that look as if they have just been bombed.
It has been estimated that about 20 percent of the homes in New Orleans are still standing vacant, and poverty is rampant. New Orleans will probably never fully recover to the level it was at before Hurricane Katrina hit.
#11 Oakland, California
Oakland has always been in the shadow of San Francisco, and the contrast between the two cities continues to grow.
Oakland has always been considered one of the more dangerous cities in America, and this year crime rates in Oakland are rising rapidly. The following is from a recent article in the New York Times....
At the beginning of April, murders in Oakland were up 26 percent over a year ago, rapes were up 41 percent, and robberies were up 35 percent.
When Chief Batts arrived as a “change agent” in 2009, the police department employed 837 officers. It now has 635. The department no longer responds to burglaries that are not still in progress, and frequently does not respond to other calls for help.
So if your house has been robbed and the burglars are gone what are you supposed to do?
Due to a crippling lack of resources, the previous police chief decided that his department would no longer be able to respond to all crimes.
The following is a partial list of the crimes that police in Oakland are no longer likely to respond to....
- grand theft
- grand theft: dog
- identity theft
- false information to peace officer
- required to register as sex or arson offender
- dump waste or offensive matter
- loud music
- possess forged notes
- pass fictitious check
- obtain money by false voucher
- fraudulent use of access cards
- stolen license plate
- embezzlement by an employee
- attempted extortion
- false personification of other
- injure telephone/power line
- interfere with power line
- unauthorized cable tv connection
So what do you do if you are a victim of one of those crimes in Oakland?
That is a very good question.
#12 Baltimore, Maryland
If you can believe it, Baltimore was actually once a great city.
But today it has become a crime-ridden, drug-infested hellhole.
I used to drive up to Baltimore all the time. It truly is a "blue collar" city. There are a lot of really hard working people there.
Unfortunately, there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone and a lot of people have turned to drugs and crime.
There are some areas of Baltimore that you really should never enter by yourself. If you do go into them, you might not make it back out.
There was one incident in Baltimore earlier this year that was particularly disturbing.
One poor young man had gotten drunk and was apparently wandering around all by himself. Some thugs approached him and they clearly sensed that he was vulnerable. So they knocked him to the ground, stripped him of his car keys, his watch, his money, his cell phone and his clothes.
A crowd gathered around to watch, and instead of helping the man, several of them got out their cell phones and laughed hysterically while they recorded the incident with their cell phone cameras for YouTube.
What made all of this even sadder is that this happened right in front of a Baltimore courthouse.
What in the world has happened to this nation?
All of us that still love this country should be deeply saddened by everything above.
America is rotting from the inside out, and if we are ever going to find any solutions we need to start admitting how bad things have really become.
The truth is that our problems are not limited to one political party, one special interest group or to one region of the country. The social decay that is plaguing America can literally be found everywhere.
For much more on this, please see the following four articles....
So don't laugh at Detroit or Cleveland or St. Louis.
The rest of the country is declining too.
If the city where you live is not a hellhole already, it will be soon enough.