11 May 2012

Friday Follies...

Here we are at long last...at week's end.
Some weeks, it can't come soon enough for me.
Then again, the weekend ITSELF brings it's share of "stuff" that happens in areas like mine, but you've read here often enough to already KNOW what I'm talking about.
Take today for example...I can already predict it will be other than ordinary (for regular folks, anyway).
The morning paper, due on my step by 6AM (according to the Journal-Gazette itself) was NOT there...by 0630 hrs.
It FINALLY hit the door at 0724 hrs - a mere hour and a half AFTER it was SUPPOSED to arrive...great service, no?
(( NO!!! ))
Now, it was barely two weeks ago when I called the paper to complain about the LOUD MUSIC blaring from the carrier's vehicle around 5AM, and I added that the paper was often somewhere on the front lawn, and was to be on the STEPS (I don't much care to play "seek and find" THAT early).
Well, it didn't take that long for this carrier to resort to his "old ways", that being late deliveries, so once again, I called in to the paper and registered a complaint. I don't know WHO I call more often these days...the POLICE or the NEWSPAPER...LOL!
I remember a time when I had to call NEITHER.
You folks know I'm a transplanted Pennsylvanian (from Philly, a city that has fallen far from the bastion of liberty and decency that it used to represent, but that's a few more posts for a lot more days), and even I can see how much THIS city (Ft. Wayne) has changed in slightly more than fifteen short years.
Naturally, there are many out there that would tout all the city has ADDED (to itself), and progress is okay in some respects, but I'm more concerned about what this city has LOST in the same amount of time...and WHY...
I call our house "The Fortress", and with good reason; a fortress used to represent that ONE structure in a kingdom or realm that represented some level of hope. The people would look to that fortress and know that those dwelling behind the walls would strive to make whatever was wrong right again.
The fortress ALSO represented a place of refuge; somewhere the people could  "make a stand" and fend off whatever enemy encroached upon the lands.
Now I look at our house as neither CAMELOT nor MASADA...both fine examples at BOTH ends of the spectrum.
We're somewhere in-between, leaning more to Camelot.
Camelot was the romanticized fictional fortress from Arthurian legend, where all was well throughout the land.
Masada was the historical mountaintop fortress where several hundred Secarii and Jewish families fled, and made their final stand against the besieging Roman army, and were alleged to have committed mass suicide (modern archaeological evidence no longer supports that theory), rather than fall into the hands of their overlords.
As you can see, OUR house is not in the running to become either one.
But Wifey and I attempt to keep that part of civilized man alive...the part that leans more to making a house into a HOME, rather than just a place to flop for the night and hang one's hat, as is often the case with most all the other (rental) houses in the immediate area.
From the outside, our house is not that much indistinguishable from others, except the lawn if better kept, and we have flower beds along the front and side. We also have something else other houses do not have...a lack of TRASH strewn along our property lines.
That would be enough to set us aside from most any other house.
But, whenever you come INSIDE, you find a place where people LIVE, and not just EXIST.
This is not a house filled with rental items from Aaron's or Rent A Center...it's ALL bought and PAID for with cash "coin of the realm", as it were.
It might not be the NEWEST stuff out there, but it IS all ours, and taken care of (which means it doesn't wind up along some curb on trash day, like other houses do with regularity).
But, I digress...
Let's get back to what this city has lost, and what I've seen happen around us over those 15 years.
--We have lost damn near everyone that USED to give a damn (like us) about their house and property, replaced by creatures emboldened by the entitlement mentality, who own little, care less about it and themselves, and live ONLY for the next party, bottle or blunt.
--We have lost well over ONE HUNDRED STORES AND BUSINESSES (and that number rises damn near every month, despite what you might read or hear in the news). ANY new business is NEVER one that opens up down here, unless it's a small, ethnic-oriented establishment that employs a handful of people. And after a robbery or two, even they close up.
--We have lost an ENTIRE MALL (and that's not easy to do). South town Mall was shut down , razed, only to be replaced by Menards and Wal-Mart.
And, aside from the Wendy's, some cell phone store, and the Firestone tire joint, not much else is down there.
Now, the Menards is a good thing, because we DID need some type of home-improvement place here...we had NOTHING.
Menards should be here for some time, due to ALL the rentals we now have around us that are in seemingly CONSTANT need of some sort of repair (blame that on the "clientele" that infest...I mean live in those houses).
Wal-Mart has already been the "shoplifter's hangout of choice", and all one needs to do is listen to the PD calls to that place to figure that one the hell out. Then again, Wal-Mart plans for such shrink, and has no problem with moving elsewhere whenever the mood suits them.
The K-Mart is STILL there, because, aside from Wal-Mart, there is NO other place to shop for the usual items.
--We lost the TARGET down here close to a decade ago...and the place is STILL vacant. (wonder why?)
--And the Cap'n Cork next it closed not long after (due to a couple holdups and thefts)
Shopping-wise, this part of Ft. Wayne is now pretty much a ghost town...and even the ghosts have moved away.
--We used to have a Richards restaurant...gone.
--We used to have a Scotts grocery...gone.
--We used to have a Frank's Nursery along S. Anthony Blvd...gone.
--We used to have a Taco Bell further south...gone.
--We used to have a King Gyros next to that...gone.
Most of these are recent history, too.
Lots of "prime" real estate around these days...replaced by...NOTHING.
So, what really caused ALL these businesses (and more) to up and vamoose, anyway?
Well, as I love to say (because it happens to be true)...it's always about PEOPLE!
The PEOPLE we had move into the area changed the "landscape" in ways this city fails to recognize.
You've seen pictures (here) demonstrating the "type" of inhabitants we are now surrounded by, and it's not that pretty a picture.
-THEY are the reason this part of town richly DESERVES the reputation it has acquired over the last 20+ years.
-THEY are the "Barbarians at the gates" as it were.
Now, if it were easy to POLICE such people EFFECTIVELY, things would not devolve as rapidly as they have...but such is NOT the case.
We have allowed the department (here) to become responders after the fact in too many situations.
And I can equate this scenario to a combat-related one quite easily.
When an enemy attacks one position along a battlefront, it's VERY simple to RESPOND and send resources TO that place and repel the attack.
The REAL commanders will instead send out PATROLS to recon an area larger than the initial perimeter, in order to ascertain intelligence about the enemy, such as strength, weaponry, insurgency, and so on...
And if you come upon the enemy under THOSE conditions, you TAKE THEM OUT (and it ain't to a damn ballgame), in order to not only secure YOUR area, but to advance further into THEIR territory to achieve YOUR objectives.
Whatever intel you garner along the way is meant to help YOU, and you can't gather intel by sitting on your hands waiting for the enemy to advance upon your position and then attack.
On the streets on most any inner-urban area in any city across this nation, we have a similar situation.
To just answer radio calls all damn day and night might appear to be serving the public, and many times, there is a decent level of GOOD being done...after the fact. But where exactly is the PROTECT part of the "protect and serve" being placed?
How are we being protected AFTER something occurs?
Short answer: We're NOT.
If you have a law on the books, it MUST have been put there for a damn REASON, right?
Well then, get off your duffs and ENFORCE the damn thing, otherwise have City Council REMOVE it from those books, and we can all get back to that "wild west mindset" we seem to be headed towards, because of the inability TO enforce that damn law.
You can't have it both ways.
It's either a law that protects everyone equally AND can be totally enforceable, or it's not worth the paper it was written on.
And being able to actively PATROL an area (that is already been known to be problematic...at best) makes it possible TO properly ENFORCE that law, whatever it might be.
But to just "show up" after someone got the hell beat out of them, or show up after a robbery or burglary doesn't do much except start the investigative wheels turning...to whatever end.
Hell, I can show up AFTER something happens, and I don't even wear a shield or have the authority to act on behalf of the victims.
The idea is to become more PROACTIVE in dealing with all the issues that cause a part of a city to get that "bad rep", for businesses do not usually like to open up in places where they KNOW they will be robbed, have their employees assaulted, or their properties vandalized.
Most any business owner will not like to have drug deals happening in his/her parking lot, either, or prostitution going on in an alley near his business.
THAT is why this side of town does NOT (or will not) have a THRIVING retail trade.
It's the PEOPLE...those who live off the taxpayers, and still demand MORE, crying "poverty" as they laugh their asses off all the way to get that EBT card "recharged" yet again.
They claim "there are not jobs available"...to THAT I'll simply say:
"When the BUSINESSES feel safe enough to return, SO WILL THE JOBS...!"
Doesn't become ANY easier to figure out...does it?
The problems are numerous down here, fostered by constant handouts to those relatively undeserving of such things (LAZY is NOT a disability, BTW).
The solutions are just as numerous, but need to be EMPLOYED in order to work.
Lip service just ain't gonna cut the muster these days, folks.
Trouble is, that's ALL the city seems to be able to use when they say they want to improve this side of Ft. Wayne.
I see it more as a blatant disconnect...leave those troublesome people in ONE area...where we can "keep an eye on them".
Thing is...there are STILL people like Wifey and myself; people who DO give a rat's ass about where WE live, and how WE have had to amend OUR "quality-of-life" because the one our MAYOR is quick to tout is NOWHERE to be found down here.
But that's okay for HIM and his cronies...HE doesn't have to live HERE, does he?
I'd wager if he and all the others that live in those "nice" neighborhoods where values STILL mean something, were forced to dwell HERE for a few months, they might just change their "tune"...and it wouldn't be to some (c) RAP jive sh*t.
Until then...or until hell freezes over...whichever comes first, WE will still practice what WE have learned...it's called CIVILIZED.
We have JUST AS MUCH RIGHT to live here and to expect a REAL "quality-of-life" and not some pale facade of what is supposed to pass for it.
In fact, we have MORE right to expect it, because we are home OWNERS with a vested interest in where we choose to live (and spent good money in that pursuit), and not be chased from here because some ethnic faction wants us out.
Both my wife and I have something called a BACKBONE, and it would wise for many departments in Fort Wayne to not only realize this, but attempt to GROW one...OF THEIR OWN...for a change.
We can have a great place to live...no denying that.
And it could be a place that could THRIVE again, instead of stagnate (as it has been).
Be nice to even have the type of neighborhood we USED to have...fifteen years ago...that would be a real step up.
To regress in order to progress...whatta concept, hmm?
*** Lastly today...Sunday is Mother's Day.
My mom's been gone since 1998, and there's not one day I don't miss her (even her chiding).
If your mom is still alive,...cherish her for the woman she is, and has been to YOU.
For you will never know what you'll miss...until she's gone.
I can only hope that I've been the type of son she would be proud of.
Lord knows I have tried my best, using the words and things she taught me all those years ago.
I'd also like to believe that she's watching over me still, because there are times when I need it.
Take time to acknowledge your mom...here or passed, for you only get ONE chance with one Mom.
Make it your BEST...for both of you.
Do have yourselves a great weekend.
Be well, make a difference to someone today, and as always...
Stay SAFE out there, America.


CWMartin said...

RE: Mothers Day.
Well put. And I'm sure she is proud, as am I to know you. I often wonder the same thing myself, with the usuall conclusion being, Yeah, she's probably okay with where I am, if not how I got here.

Send D our wishes for a happy Mother's Day.

Bob G. said...

I use to jokingly say that we were ALL mothers at one time or another...both male and female...lol.
I know I've been called a "mother" more than a few times.
Thankfully, THAT doesn;t couint, right?

I feel the way you do...I think Mom would be OK at where I arrived in life...
She just might not think much about the "neighborhood" where the train left me off, but she would think a few of my "fellow passengers" were good people..and she LOVED beagles, too.

She would worry more about me than I do, and that's saying something.
THAT, among so much more, was one thing she passed onto me...her concern.

Thanks for stopping on by today and commenting, my friend.

Stay safe up there and wish Laurie a Happy Mom's Day from us too.