Alexis Wiley: When will the nightmare of crime in Detroit stop? - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Alexis Wiley: When will the nightmare of crime in Detroit stop?

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Opinion from Fox 2 reporter Alexis Wiley

DETROIT -- Reporters in Detroit see a lot. Typically, you develop a thick skin that allows you to go from one tragic story to the next, without losing sleep or skipping a beat.

I've got to admit. I've become pretty good at it. But, there's one thing that still gets under my skin. I guess that's why I found myself thinking about the 13 year old who was robbed while waiting for the school bus long after the story was done and the show was over.

I went to his Detroit home Wednesday afternoon.  Inside, I found three adorable boys sitting on a fuzzy blue couch, laughing and joking with each other, barely realizing a stranger had just walked into the room. I asked, "which one of you had that scary experience at the bus stop? ".

(see Alexis' report from February 27, click here>>)

The brown skinned boy on the end of the  couch reluctantly raised his hand. I said " I'm glad you're okay." He timidly smiled and said thanks.  With his mother's permission, he agreed to talk to me but I had to keep it quick because detectives wanted to meet with him.

Of course, my first question was the most obvious. "Tell me what happened," I said. He began his story.

The 6th grader whose favorite subject is math  told me that he was standing on the corner of 7 Mile and Eureka all alone, in the early morning darkness, waiting for his school bus which he says was late as usual. 

He said a car circled twice and then a man got out. In a calm voice, he told me the man pretended he'd missed his bus. But the kid saw his words for what they were: a sign that he was in danger.

He told me the strange man pulled out a gun and pointed it at him, demanding he give up his jacket, phones (yes, phones) and his brand new shoes. "When I saw the gun, I thought I'd been shot," the 13 year old quietly said. He gave the man what he wanted and ran home; grateful the gunman chose not to pull the trigger.

From the moment I started talking to this kid, I instantly knew he was like a lot of the kids I meet in Detroit's neighborhoods.

They're smart, talented and thoughtful enough to realize what's happening around them and what's happening to them just isn't right.

But, they're resigned to the reality that fear, violence and near death experiences are just a part of the world in which they live.  "I have a hard time sleeping," he admitted, "because I keep seeing that gun and thinking that he shot me."

He spoke those words calmly, timidly, yet, I felt as if the wind had been knocked out of me.  No child should close their eyes and picture being murdered. I wish I could make that nightmare go away. But I know that will only happen if things change in his community and so many others across the country.

Nothing will change until people take responsibility for themselves and each other.

As I left the 13 year old's home and got  into our live truck, headed to the next story, the woman next door yelled " you should report that we're angry and this has got to stop!" 

I hope she is angry. I hope she's angry enough  to wake up tomorrow morning and walk a group of kids to the bus stop and wait with them until they safely board.

Maybe,  she'll be so angry she'll convince her neighbors to do the same.  Maybe.

In the end, the only ones who can solve this are the people who are living through this.  All I can do is hope that somehow we find a way to make the nightmares stop.

 

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