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A DETROIT REQUIEM

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    Summer Days on Belle Isle, Detroit, Michigan. Once the auto capital of the world, Detroit now holds the distinction of being America's poorest large city.
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    Abandoned home on Detroit's East Side. Nearly 80,000 buildings in Detroit, 30 precent of the city's structures, are dilapidated or at risk of blight. Detroit was home to 1.85 million people at its peak in 1950. Now, Motor City is home to only around 700,000 residents.
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    A man walks down Lillibridge Street, seen through shattered glass. The window was broken when officers from Detroit's Special Response Team threw a flash-bang grenade through it before kicking in the door. The lead commando on the raid shot and killed seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones where she lay sleeping on a couch below the broken window.
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    Family and friends view the body of Chaise Sherrors, 17, who was shot and killed on Detroit's East Side just weeks after his good friend Je'Rean Nobles was shot to death in the same neighborhood. Nobles' killing lead to the accidental shooting -- and later, death, of seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones by police. Sherrors' mother, Britta McNeal, lost her 14-year-old son a year earlier, also shot. Detroit's East Side is the poorest, most violent part of the nation's poorest, most violent big city. Chaise Sherrors was shot while giving a haircut on a porch.
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    Gunshot victim, Wayne County morgue, Detroit, Michigan. In more than 70 percent of murders in Detroit (America's poorest large city), the killer gets away with it. In the 30 years since John Lennon was shot to death, nearly a million people in the United States have been killed with guns.
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    X-Ray of gunshot victims: shotgun blast to chest and throat, bullet to head, Detroit, Michigan.
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    Praying during the sermon of Pastor Wilma Johnson at New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan.
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    God + War, Detroit's East Side.
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    Summer Days, Belle Isle.
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    Fashion shoot at the Packard Motor Car Company plant, Detroit, Michigan.
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    Bed in empty lot, Detroit, Michigan. Once the auto capital of the world, Detroit now holds the distinction of being America's poorest large city.
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    Abandoned factory, Detroit, Michigan.
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    Body bags fill a cooler at the Wayne County morgue; the deceased unclaimed, often due to relative's inability to pay for a loved one's burial.
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    Praying during the sermon of Pastor Wilma Johnson at New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan.
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    Four-alarm fire, Detroit, Michigan. Some 500 fires a month keep Detroit's fire department scrambling, a number that is five times that of New York in a city one-tenth the size.
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    Front steps, Detroit, Michigan.
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    Closed auto factory, Detroit, Michigan.
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    One block, Detroit, Michigan.
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    Buy Junk Cars, Detroit, Michigan.
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    Summer Days, Belle Isle.
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    Graduation, downtown Detroit. Michigan. Only 1 in 3 kids will graduate from high school in Detroit, while almost half of all adults are illiterate.
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    Bike ride, East Detroit, Michigan.
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    Downtown Detroit from a restaurant in the GM world headquarters.
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    Summer Days, Belle Isle.
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    Britta McNeal cries as she sees her son for the first time after he was shot to death. Chaise Sherrors, 17, was shot and killed on Detroit's East Side just weeks after his good friend Je'Rean Nobles was shot to death in the same neighborhood. McNeal lost her 14-year-old son a year earlier, also shot. Detroit's East Side is the poorest, most violent part of the nation's poorest, most violent big city. Chaise Sherrors was giving a haircut on a porch when he was shot.
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    Da'Rius Brown runs through garbage in the driveway of an abandoned house that sits next to his home on the East Side of Detroit, Michigan. Da'Rius has lost two uncles, De'Erion Sherrors and Chaise Sherrors, both shot to death on Detroit's East Side.
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    A child's toy house sits in an empty lot, Detroit, Michigan. Once the auto capital of the world, Detroit now holds the distinction of being America's poorest large city.
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    Waiting for the electricity to be restored, Detroit, Michigan.
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    Empty lots on Detroit's East Side.
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    Multi-alarm fire at an abandoned commercial building, Detroit, Michigan.
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    Chaise Sherrors, 17, was shot and killed on Detroit's East Side just weeks after his good friend Je'Rean Nobles was shot to death in the same neighborhood. Nobles' killing lead to the accidental shooting death of seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones by police. Sherrors' mother, Britta McNeal lost her 14-year-old son a year earlier, also shot. Detroit's east side is the poorest, most violent part of the nation's poorest, most violent big city.
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    Fire next door, Detroit's East Side.
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    Summer Days on Belle Isle, Detroit, Michigan. Once the auto capital of the world, Detroit now holds the distinction of being America's poorest large city.
A Detroit Requiem

Detroit…the word alone incites many emotions within America’s conscience.  Detroit was the epicenter for financial equality in the U.S., the home front for the ideal of well-paying jobs for the masses and a political force behind a strong middle class.  Henry Ford made Detroit a boomtown.  Five decades after he started, the boom began to bust.  Many reasons are at the heart of Detroit’s decline: postwar industrial policies, urban planning, the 1967 race riots, UAW and auto industry management, Detroit’s political cronyism, Clinton era trade deals, and quite possibly the mobility of the automobile itself.  It was the 1950’s when Detroit began the long decay that has brought the city to its present state, a time when Detroit, and America, was at its peak.

Today, Detroit is America’s poorest large city.  To avoid being the nation’s perpetual murder capital, the police began cooking stats.  In 2008, they claimed 306 homicides – until The Detroit News discovered that there were actually 375.  In more than 70 percent of murders in Detroit, the killer got away with it.  Detroit’s East Side is now the poorest, most violent quarter of America’s poorest, most violent big city.  The illiteracy, child poverty, and unemployment rates hover around 50 percent.  The shooting death of seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones by police on Detroit’s East Side brought national attention to this quarter over the summer of 2010.  But as the spotlight faded, the killings continued.

With 103 kids and teens murdered in Detroit between January of 2009 and July of 2010, I was sent to cover the failure of political and civil leaders in Detroit, the failure of industry in Detroit, the failure of the federal government in Detroit, the failure of America in Detroit.

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