By now you have heard about the case of the horrific serial murders of black women on Cleveland’s East Side and wonder how it could happen. How could bodies be sitting up rotting in somebody’s house, stinking up an entire neighborhood, and nobody get to the bottom of it? How does a pervert move in next door and you have no clue? Is it about race or class?
I haven’t been to the site, but I know the neighborhood well: my first apartment was about a mile from the house. I’ve driven through as recently as three weeks ago and have always known the area to smell funky, but didn’t know what the eff it was. The neighborhood is ok for what it is, full of alot of aging home-owners, single mothers, their sons and boyfriends. It is working-class to retiree status: not dangerous if you know the area, but not the place you want to be walking around at night if you don’t. What may make it different from where you live is the culture of poverty and the working poor. This is also the kind of neighborhood pocked by sex offenders who have nowhere to live after they do their time and decide to shacked up and mooch off relations. This was the life of alleged serial killer Anthony Sowell. He established a base of operations and quietly lured in his victims. Sowell lived among Strawberrys and other brands of crackfiends. The streets knew something of him, and the police did too. But it’s an ugly truth that a dude using drugs and liqour to pick up women off the streets in the inner city simply is not that unusual. And a naked woman falling from a two story window trying to make an escape just gets sent back to her boyfriend, almost Jeffery Dahmer-stylee? Raping women in bushes, telling curious neighbors “It’s cool.” WTF? A dog doesn’t deserve to live this way. To the cops, its just another day in the ‘Hood.
By contrast, in the suburbs if a man sits at a stoplight too long leering at the co-eds, there is a description of him, his car and his political affiliation on the evening news. In the suburbs, if your dog drops a load and you go a day without attending it, you might be cited. Sowell could not have lived in Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights or Beachwood on the low because the authorities would have sent notices door to door alerting neighbors that a sex offender had moved in. Cleveland police says they doesn’t have the resources to do that kind of thing. That’s bullshit. I live in Cleveland, and I get notices. I know the sex offenders on my block by name and face. But then, I live in a stylish part of the city where gentrification is slowly weeding out the Have-Nots. I guess the ghetto is the only place where you can still get away with murder: where people can disappear right off the street and no one bats an eye. This kind of crime could not have happened in the suburbs.
Someone has some explaining to do.