Bring out your dead
Detroit...in happier times.
Can someone tell me something hopeful about this city? I agree it may seem like this reporter is sensationalizing it, but this story actually seems quite measured in its approach to the issue and the particular incident.
The incident was a dead man which stayed in the bottom of an elevator shaft in an abandoned building, even though people know he was there for some time.
"Why didn't your friend call the police?"Later we find, many of the homeless people living in the building just assumed someone else would call the authorities.
"He was trespassing and didn't want to get in trouble," the caller replied. As it happens, the caller's friend is an urban explorer who gets thrills rummaging through and photographing the ruins of Detroit. It turns out that this explorer last week was playing hockey with a group of other explorers on the frozen waters that had collected in the basement of the building. None of the men called the police, the explorer said. They, in fact, continued their hockey game.
A colony of homeless men live in the warehouse. Wednesday morning a few fires were burning inside oil drums. Scott Ruben, 38, huddled under filthy blankets not 20 paces from the elevator shaft.
"Yeah, I seen him," Ruben said. The snow outside howled. The heat from the can warped the landscape of rotting buildings and razor wire.
His shack mate, Kenneth Williams, 47, returned at that point with an armload of wood.
"Yeah, he's been down there since last month at least."
I have heard similar stories about New York City and how people just assume someone else will deal with it, even if there is a dead man in their path -- and that from the same person who had interesting stories about Detroit.