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Sun Dec 15, 2013, 09:09 PM

Apocalypse, New Jersey: A Dispatch From America's Most Desperate Town

By Matt Taibbi
December 11, 2013 10:10 AM ET
The first thing you notice about Camden, New Jersey, is that pretty much everyone you talk to has just gotten his or her ass kicked.

Instead of shaking hands, people here are always lifting hats, sleeves, pant legs and shirttails to show you wounds or scars, then pointing in the direction of where the bad thing just happened.

"I been shot six times," says Raymond, a self-described gangster I meet standing on a downtown corner. He pulls up his pant leg. "The last time I got shot was three years ago, twice in the femur." He gives an intellectual nod. "The femur, you know, that's the largest bone in the leg."

"First they hit me in the head," says Dwayne "The Wiz" Charbonneau, a junkie who had been robbed the night before. He lifts his wool cap to expose a still-oozing red strawberry and pulls his sweatpants down at the waist, drawing a few passing glances. "After that, they ripped my pockets out. You can see right here. . . ."

Even the cops have their stories: "You can see right here, that's where he bit me," says one police officer, lifting his pant leg. "And I'm thinking to myself, 'I'm going to have to shoot this dog.'"

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/apocalypse-new-jersey-a-dispatch-from-americas-most-desperate-town-20131211#ixzz2nb0AwE6a

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Reply Apocalypse, New Jersey: A Dispatch From America's Most Desperate Town (Original post)
MrScorpio Dec 2013 OP
greytdemocrat Dec 2013 #1
FarCenter Dec 2013 #2
philosslayer Dec 2013 #4
El_Johns Dec 2013 #3

Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Sun Dec 15, 2013, 09:15 PM

1. Camden is a s***hole.

When I lived and did consulting work in Jersey I
tried to avoid that place like the plague.

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Response to greytdemocrat (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 15, 2013, 10:13 PM

2. One of four s***holes. But they are limited s***holes.


For a state with one of the highest median household incomes in America, New Jersey also has four of the country's biggest urban basket cases in Camden, Trenton, Paterson and Newark.

Camden, 77,000
Trenton, 84,000
Paterson, 145,000
Newark, 278,000

New Jersey 8,865,000

The average county has a population of 422,000. Nine of the 21 counties have populations over 500,000.

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Response to greytdemocrat (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 16, 2013, 12:12 AM

4. Elaborate on that please


So Camden is a "shithole". Is it the buildings that are shitholes? Or the people who are shitholes? Real nice of you to write off the home of a few thousand people. The people living there are hurting and need help. Any other editorial comments you care to make about the place they call home?

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Sun Dec 15, 2013, 11:00 PM

3. "Planned disinvestment". "Sacrifice zone". "Planned shrinkage". "Malign neglect".


This part immediately reminded me of the 1975 NYC fiscal crisis:

The move left the city almost completely ungoverned – a graphic preview of what might lie ahead for communities that don't generate enough of their own tax revenue to keep their lights on. Over three years, fires raged, violent crime spiked and the murder rate soared so high that on a per-capita basis, it "put us somewhere between Honduras and Somalia,"

In New York, "planned disinvestment," supposedly in response to budget pressures, turned large sections of the city into "sacrifice zones" covertly targeted for "planned shrinkage". The targeted areas were of course brown &/or poor.

Empirical measures of fire-service quality and efficiency are examined for New York City in the period 1968–1979. Marked decreases in the ability to control and contain structural fires are found to result from a program of fire-service reductions begun in 1972. Exacerbated by the New York City “fiscal crisis” of 1975, decreases in fire-service efficiency since 1972 appear to have initiated a geographically spreading and apparently recurrent fire epidemic. The decreases have accelerated since 1976, implying that recurring epidemic episodes could be more severe than the 1974–1977 crisis, which destroyed large areas in some neighborhoods of the city, including the South Bronx, Bushwick, Brownsville, East New York, East Harlem, and others.


The destruction of housing wasn't the only effect. There was an associated public health crisis including the resurgence of tuberculosis & the spread of AIDS in the early days of the crisis; increased violence & drug use & the spread of same into new territories, etc.

And of course, the depopulation of poor areas providing the base for subsequent gentrification.

e.g. Harlem is no longer majority black.

The populations in the South Bronx, Lower East Side, and Harlem plummeted during the two decades after 1970. Only after two decades did the city begin to invest in these areas again. New developments were built; in 2011, these areas are again experiencing a rebirth.


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