Another daytime shooting has some people thinking twice about being in Ypsilanti

I didn’t think I’d be posting about downtown gunshots again so soon, but apparently there were more this afternoon. According to police reports, several shots were fired in a parking lot off of Ballard, near the intersection with Cross, right behind Golden Wall, less than a block away where a drive-by shooting took place earlier in the week. While no one was hurt, it would appear that this might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for some folks. At least that’s the sense I’m getting from social media, where people are beginning to say that, until things settle down, they’re staying out of Ypsi. One downtown, daytime shooting in a week, it would seem, people could write off as an isolated incident. Two, not so much… Following is one of several similar exchanges I’ve seen this evening on Facebook.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 10.54.44 PM

It’s really amazing, when you think about it, what a few young people with guns can do to a community. Not only can they take lives, but they can change the trajectory of a town, by creating an environment of fear and driving people away. How, I wonder, will this current spate of violence affect enrollment at EMU? How will it affect the businesses along Cross Street? Will people loose their jobs? Will these shootings define us in the eyes of our neighbors? Will developers who might have been considering Ypsilanti investments now back out and put their money elsewhere? Will our tax revenues suffer, pushing us closer to bankruptcy? I’d like to think that it would take more than a handful of armed teens to change the trajectory of this town that I love, but I suppose it’s possible. Hopefully we never find out. Hopefully we can turn the momentum around before we reach the tipping point.

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33 Comments

  1. Posted July 21, 2015 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure if there’s any kind of connection to be made, but I just remembered that, about six years ago there was another shooting in the vicinity of Golden Wall. In that case, I believe, a 32 year old man was shot twice by a 17 year old.

  2. Zach P
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    I liked how your previous post focused more on what the community should do to support it’s young men instead of this one’s focus on “what a few young people with guns can do to a community.”

  3. Posted July 21, 2015 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Me too, Zach. Me too.

  4. Demetrius
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    I’ve been living here a long time, and I’ve seen how much progress has been made in terms of changing the general perception of the city of Ypsilanti from one of a community that is dangerous, dirty, and unsafe to one where many people would actually want to live and where small businesses would want to invest – in short, a community where people who have a choice would would WANT to be.

    All along, though, it seemed this change for the better was at risk … and that a few well-publicized crimes or the return of gang violence could plunge that perception (whether reality or perception) back toward the negative. The risk is that families who have the means will choose to live elsewhere, or that entrepreneurs will begin to decide to invest elsewhere.

    I applaud the recent discussions about “rich” Ann Arbor being possible only because of “poor” Ypsilanti, and I think this helps get at the root of the problem (and a potential resolution).

    Until then, hundred of individual decisions are being made annually by real people about where to buy a home or start a business … and safety (real or imagined) will continue to be an primary factor. As a poor and vulnerable community that’s struggling to survive, I think that’s the last hurdle we need right now …

    All Ypsilanti residents, whether around campus, living in “hipster” neighborhoods, or in the “Southside,” neighborhood, deserve a chance to live in relative peace and safety.

  5. Posted July 22, 2015 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    Another daytime Giant pothole claims 10-12 cars on I-94 near Ypsilanti has people thinking twice about being in Ypsilanti.

  6. Posted July 22, 2015 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    I can’t wait for EOS to start commenting. That should be entertaining.

  7. Posted July 22, 2015 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    I should add that my point in posting this wasn’t to say that I now think Ypsilanti is a terrifying place. I don’t. I went out for a walk with my daughter last night. We aren’t cowering in fear. My point was that I can sense a tipping point approaching, and the momentum shifting in the other direction, with perceptions about Ypsilanti beginning to shift back toward the negative. And I was wondering if others were getting that same sense.

  8. Posted July 22, 2015 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Maybe the solution is to fill the man-eating pothole with guns, D’Real.

  9. Demetrius
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    @ Mark

    Thanks for your comment. I don’t live in fear either. I took a long walk last night, through Depot Town and Riverside Park, and saw lot’s of people people of all types – walking their dogs, holding hands, and generally enjoying the beautiful weather. It didn’t seem much different from any other night …

    I do worry though, that if our city leadership doesn’t take seriously, and respond effectively to, this latest upswing in violence, that may quickly change.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Mark, it seems to me you try to build up Ypsi by shitting all over Ann Arbor most of the time, and call for a separate identity culturally, economically, and politically – all fine, except that a city 1/7 the size, with shrinking revenue, is going to be dependent in some way on its neighbors. Unless manufacturing somehow comes back to town.

    The weird attempts here to shame Ann Arbor for its success are just weird – “these choices have implications for Ypsi”, sure, but maybe also all the other bordering communities which seem not to care that much. I’d say your own choices as an ambassador for Ypsi have just as many implications, where you enjoy playing the smug cynic to a hipster crowd at the expense of building any meaningful relationships that would help Ypsi’s fortunes. Marcia’s comment about the Neutral Zone is a hilarious example of this – you certainly doing a great job of rallying a lot of misdirected hate for things that are actually working.

    There are fewer and fewer folks in Ann Arbor who are interested to support your Pied Piper of Hipsilanti schtick, Mark, but there’s never been any love lost for Ypsi. It would be nice to see you try to be a positive force for change in Ann Arbor, if you actually care that much about it impacts how you live in Ypsilanti beyond your own paycheck.

  11. Anonymous Too
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    You are right, Anonymous, Mark should shut up and not draw attention to the fact that we live in the 8th most economically segregated region of the entire country. He shouldn’t mention that Ann Arbor has eschewed the poor. He shouldn’t mention that Ann Arbor has the Neutral Zone while the Boys and Girls Club of Ypsilanti is dark. He shouldn’t mention that Ann Arbor schools are stable in part due to the fact that they take Ypsilanti students. He shouldn’t mention that Ann Arbor doesn’t build affordable housing. He shouldn’t, “shame Ann Arbor for its success”. He should sit and wait for the men and women of Ann Arbor to do the right thing on their own and come to the table to discuss countywide solutions. He should wait for the Ann Arbor News to write something about it. He should wait for Conan Smith to give up his attempt to kill the YACVB and focus instead on addressing poverty on the eastern side of the county. He should be quiet so that you can feel better about yourselves.

  12. BrianR
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    The Boys & Girls Club operates out of Chappelle Elementary.

  13. Posted July 22, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I’m not being facetious, but honestly asking: what would you have the average Ann Arborite to do?

  14. Posted July 22, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I don’t know that one can reasonably call the Neutral Zone “working” without reservation. They certainly have a rather spectacular space to operate out of, and they seem to remain operating over the years. But there are hardly ever shows there anymore. I remember the previous Neutral Zone locations as functioning as a come-up for the then-vibrant Community High band scene. Not so much now.

  15. Posted July 22, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    What I’m trying to say, maybe, is that Ann Arbor is going to throw money to keep lights on, even if they are illuminating a soulless tomb that aids nobody.

  16. kjc
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    “I’m not being facetious, but honestly asking: what would you have the average Ann Arborite to do?”

    Care about the lack of affordable housing in Ann Arbor that contributes to economic segregration? Seems like a good place to start.

    (or you could call for personal responsibility! maybe even pound your fist on the table when you do that.)

  17. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Or, you could pretend like you don’t know what someone means when they say there is a difference between cultural poverty and economic poverty. You could even passive aggressively (for the hundredth time) insinuate that commenters with differing opinions or *emphasis* are racist, classist, right wing nut jobs. Don’t forget to twist words. Falsely attribute ideas. Insult. All these things are effective for….oh hell, I forgot why any of that stuff would be useful.

    I agree. Ann Arbor for its own sake needs more affordable housing.

  18. Posted July 22, 2015 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I went to a zoning meeting re: height restrictions on buildings in downtown A2. Someone suggested that we rebrand it as “workforce housing”. I thought that was interesting.

    Does someone here disagree that Ann Arbor needs affordable/workforce housing? If so, I would love to hear reasons.

  19. Dan
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    kjc,

    even if ann arbor added the number of affordable housing units that the “study” recommended, how would that stop Ypsi from continually inviting the poor and jobless to set up shop there?

    Would Water Street Ghetto not happen if there were more affordable apartments in Ann Arbor?

  20. XXX
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Let me ask you a question, Dan. Would it hurt Ypsilanti if Ann Arbor were to allow for the development of low income housing?

  21. Dan
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Ann Arbor just approved one this week.

    again. Would that stop the influx of low and no income people to ypsi, when they keep building developments for them?

  22. Dan
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    It seems you are missing my point. So let me be clear:

    What does Ann Arbor’s real estate market have to do with Ypsilanti agreeing to let a section 8 housing development be built on water front property in it’s downtown, while agreeing to give the developers local tax payer money?

  23. jcp2
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    The wrap around social services that would be the most helpful in this instance are best provided by a publicly accountable entity with access to an abundant and steady revenue stream, with a mission to improve society on a larger scale than individual towns or cities.
    The only potential candidate I can see is the state government, but unfortunately, the current state government shows little interest in this particular mission.
    It’s a real shame, because the fallback has been to try and provide these services through non-profit organizations. While they may be able to organize quickly, the disadvantage of any organization that depends on voluntary funding for their primary mission are the constraints put upon them by the potential donor pool. Ann Arbor has sufficient donor interest with sufficient donor resources to sustain several non-profits based out of Ann Arbor. They would not exist if they were moved to Ypsilanti. Donors are altruistic, but also can be selfish that way. The whole definition of philanthropy is to support causes that one has a personal interest in supporting, above and beyond what is obligated through governmental policies.

  24. Denise Heberle
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Here’s one thought: Until the police realize that not all black men are thugs, deserving of the “broken window” style of policing PEOPLE, everyone risks losing a powerful force for good in Ypsi, and in any other town, for that matter. I know people who sit on their porches and be grannies to the kids walking by. I know people who work to unite others by making space to grieve and to rage and to come back around to heal. I know people who bring their talent and creativity and love to all the babies and all the teens and help them find their voices. These same people are being snatched up and tormented with minor, and often, trumped-up charges aimed to take them out of commission. (Happily, these are not people who are easily daunted.) Don’t give up. And for fuck’s sake, don’t go threatening the downtown economy.

  25. kjc
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    “What does Ann Arbor’s real estate market have to do with Ypsilanti agreeing to let a section 8 housing development be built on water front property in it’s downtown, while agreeing to give the developers local tax payer money?”

    i’m never missing your point unfortunately. if you have to ask this question, you probably won’t believe the answer. and having a “dialogue” w/you and FF is stupid. our values couldn’t be more different.

    TeacherPatti I was trying to explain “upscale student housing” to a former A2 resident who was visiting and interested in the new tall buildings. he said that given a magnetic poetry set, these are three words it would never occur to him to put together.

    great post Denise.

  26. Dan
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Useful post as always, kjc

  27. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    In all honesty, I don’t have any evidence that our values are different at all, kjc.

  28. Parent Out Here
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    After reading comments on MLive and then here, I’m not sure where to begin. Despite living in a neighborhood where gunshots are a regular occurrence, my home and two neighbors homes being riddled with bullets, a person shot on my front lawn, my child being at a party in the past where a shooting occurred I do my best to go on with life and not live in fear which is no easy thing. What other choice do I really have? I can’t move.

    It’s very easy to tell others to not live in fear if the person saying this does not have to live in a neighborhood with regular violence happening. The things that go on out this way do not always make it to the news.

    Today I am concerned and yes even fearful about things escalating more. I have talked to my children about avoiding parties and hanging out. My child’s field trip was moved to another location because 80 kids were scheduled to walk in the Cross and Ballard area where 2 shootings happened with 4 days. Some may think this is overreacting, but until someone personally is affected by gun violence you can’t really understand the feelings this type of stuff brings on.

    All I want to do is go to work and make sure my kids have a good life. I don’t want to worry about anymore stray bullets hitting my house again or my children being shot because they went to a party. We value life in this household.

  29. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower

  30. Anonymous
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Dan, let me get this straight – because the Neutral Zone isn’t a bunch of artsy white kids in bands, it’s not relevant? If you’ve actually been there, you’d know that black kids from Ypsi are running the record label, studio, etc. It’s a youth-run organization not for the likes of you, you ignorant fuck.

  31. Posted July 23, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I eventually aged out of my friends playing there. and my eldest child is now nearly old enough to participate there. I’m in an ignorant window, perhaps, but Neutral Zone still makes at least partly inadequate, ill-chosen use of their space and money of late. I myself spent an unpaid day there a few years back trying to make sense of Modati’s poison strewn shitwreck under their roof…not that I am trying to take away from the grassroots success of the youth owned record co.

    But you don’t need much space to build a music studio these days.

    Two 10’×10′ rooms will about do it.

    Thats probably what they gave these kids, and they could also let them play more shows…but wait…hip-hop shows are a liability. And these kids eking value out of something broken is great.

    Why have a giant goddamn loading dock for shows, but rarely shows?

    Why, Anon, do you resent criticism of this institution?

    They are not solely staffed by volunteers, so I feel my question is valid.

    Also, Anonymous, I invite you to gargle frothing hot monkey piss. Don’t forget to swish thoroughly. Love Dan.

  32. Posted July 23, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Open up the doors and let these kids jams spill into the street. On a weekly basis. Weekly. Basis.

  33. Sad
    Posted October 14, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Ann Arbor has shootings too.

    Right in Water Hill.

    https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2019/10/shots-fired-during-armed-robbery-of-ann-arbor-marijuana-dispensary.html

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