October 30, 2010, - 10:13 pm
Technically, tonight is Devil’s Night in Detroit. It’s the night before Halloween and, traditionally, the night on which a ton of home fires via arson erupt all over Detroit. But since many kids are going Trick-or-Treating tonight, instead of Halloween–tomorrow night’s a school night–the Devil’s Night weekend began last night with 41 houses deliberately set on fire across D-Mecca.
(Photo From Michigan Keepsake Video & Photo)
Every year, I take bets on how many fires there will be. Cop friends of mine in the DPD tell me that the City constantly downplays the number of fires. And since this weekend it’s two nights (**** CORRECTION: Three Nights, including Halloween Night) of this stuff, the number could be double. Last year’s “official” number was 35 fires.
Frankly, I have mixed feelings about the fires. While some are set by vandals, others–many others–are usually set by angry residents tired of crack houses and abandoned dilapidated eyesores in their neighborhoods, and the City still won’t tear most of them down. Residents take matters–and matches–into their own hands as a last resort effort. Yes, I know it’s still a hazard and that fires spread. But what would you do if you had a crack house in your neighborhood, its addicts and gang members terrorizing you on the street, and no-one did anything about it (and you couldn’t afford to move out)? I do feel for the brave Detroit firemen, though, who are overworked and understaffed and putting their lives on the line, especially on this night.
As I’ve noted before, recent Rush Limbaugh biographer and former Detroiter Ze’ev Chafetz wrote a great book on it, Devil’s Night: And Other True Tales of Detroit.” At the time Chafetz wrote about it, late Detroit then-Mayor Coleman A. Young presided over D-town, and the number of fires rose to 400 on Devil’s Night. Looks like Detroit is inching back up that way.
Oh, and I almost forgot, I’m not allowed to call it “Devil’s Night.” You see, the Detroit media–who like to whitewash all things Detroit and put lipstick on a pig–call it “Angels’ Night.” Sorry, folks, but there ain’t nothin’ angelic about anything in Detroit. Saying so doesn’t make it so.
So how many fires total do you think there will be on this Devil’s Night weekend 2010? I gave you a hint with last night’s total of 41. I would guess somewhere around 75 total, but that’s being conservative. What’s your number?
Tags: 2010, Angels Night, arson, Detroit, Devil's Night, Fires, video