A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Road To Hell

I work for a large ``scattered site`` property management company in the City of St. Louis, and often visit the sleazy underbelly of the city as part of my duties. (My job is a bit hard to define; I show apartments for lease, I collect rent, I speak with tenants when there are complaints or police problems, I sign up new clients, I check units for maintenance, and I check to see if properties are vacated. This job is not for the meek or squimish; we occasionally find dead bodies in places, we ALWAYS find roaches and spiders, we go into places full of rat and mice droppings, etc. People with Compulsive Disorder need not apply. Although it can be disgusting and aggravating, I generally enjoy it; it is much like being a cop, although less dangerous. I never have the same day twice.

Recently I visited Hell; more specifically, I visited a crack-infested area of north St. Louis. We have a client who purchased his buildings full of people, and who found that he had been scammed because the previous owner had filled the place with lowlifes from the street so it LOOKED like a full, income producing property. These tenants stole everything that wasn`t nailed down, then left the building in dreadful condition.

Two weeks before my visit, our maintenance staff secured the building with plywood. At that time we had two tenants still living in the upstairs apartments, while the two first floor apartments were vacant. One of the upstairs tenants had returned her keys to our office, and a collegue and I went to check on things.

The building looked long abandoned. Every window on the first floor had been broken out, and all of the back doors were standing open; the vandals had succeeded in cutting through the plywood we had used to secure the doors. They had entered both first floor units, both basement units, and the recently vacated upstairs. There was a huge hole in the side wall of the building where vandals had tunneled through the bricks with the intention of stealing the entire window. (It was obvious that they had thrown the bricks they removed from the wall through the other windows of the building.) Trash and debris was strewn throughout the yard, and the fence had been pulled down.

The basements had been stripped of copper and other hardware.

We went through the vacant units methodically. Inside was pure filth, with trash, dried food, used cotton balls and Q-tips and used condoms on the floors. It was obvious that people were using drugs and prostituting in this horrible place. (I cannot, in my wildest dreams, imagine performing a sex act inside this disease infested place!) Walls were down to bare studs in spots, or had food or human discharge on them. I feared sticking myself with a used needle accidentally.

Fortunately, since there was no heat and the food supply was exhausted, we weren`t met by an army of bugs, as is common. (Have you ever seen a living carpet? It looks like a ragged brown carpet until you see it move!)

We went upstairs into the vacated apartment and found an electric heater running at the head of a bed, and realized that a squatter had just fled through the front door while we were coming up the back stairwell. This place was as trashed and filthy as the others, yet someone was living here! We went down the front and around to the back where our ``tenant`` was waiting for us to leave. He tried to claim that he had come to help the former tenant move, and we chased him away. Of course, he would come back as soon as we left.

While we were talking to our squatter, the one remaining tenant came down to talk to us. She had been living in this apartment with no heat, since she couldn`t pay her gas bill. She had two school-aged children, who are never in school whenever we go to this property, living in this hell-hole. Since the theft of her water lines (they steal them to for copper) she had been without any water, and hadn`t bothered to call this in to the office. They had continued to use the toilet, and the feces had formed a cone which rose above the toilet seat, forcing them to defecate standing up. When they grew thirsty enough, they walked the two blocks to the nearby gas station and bought a bottle of water. No big deal!

Maintenance came with 30 pieces of plywood and extra-long screws to resecure the place (at the owner`s expense) but it won`t be long before they have to head back there to do it all again. We decided to give this tenant notice to vacate, and my co-worker was going to contact family services, because those children were being raised like animals.

The plight of those kids really struck me; they are the walking dead. The boy was undoubtedly going to join a gang in a couple of years and would either be dead on in prison by the time he was 17. The girl would probably become a drug addict (as I`m sure is true of her mother) and would go into the family prostitution business. She would probably die of some easily treated illness after first spitting out a couple of children of her own, thus perpetuating the cycle. I see nothing but coffins in their near futures.

This is what Liberal policies and good intentions have wrought! (What is paved with good intentions?) Feminism, welfare, and the sexual revolution, along with the explosion of narcotics, have completely destroyed the black family. This woman had a father, who was probably a dope-fiend who lived on welfare. In another time, he would have been poor and uneducated, but would have worked and stayed around to care for his children. Thanks to the compassion of the left, he was freed of any responsibility and could destroy himself and everyone around him at his leisure. Because more children mean more government largesse, women in the ghetto become baby factories, spitting out more hopeless welfare recipients and keeping our prisons functioning at peak capacity.

Those children deserve better. They deserve an education, a clean home, hope. The nanny state steals hope. It offers the easy way to live at the expense of real pride and any upward mobility. Sloth is the hallmark of the welfare state, and sloth leads to ignorance and despair.

There is absolutely no reason for a place like this to exist. This building and this family are a monument to the insanity that is Liberalism. Without decades of leftist social experimentation this place would never have been.

But Liberals meant well, they are always well intentioned.

We know what is paved with those intentions; I just made a visit to that place.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are indeed correct about the
destruction of the black family unit when it pertains to pre-existing poverty. There comes no assistance from the black middle-class who could help and often rescue those who are destined for the agony of impoverishment, ignorance and the haunt of having lost all signs of hope.

6:14 AM  
Blogger BonnieBlueFlag said...


As difficult as it was to read parts of your story, I felt the need to be reminded how many others live their lives. Very near the end, I realized that I had stopped breathing.

After I regained my breath and returned to my reality, it took me a moment to collect my thoughts.

You couldn't be more correct in your assessment of the situation, and I surely wish people like the Kennedys and Heinz-Kerrys, could see first person what they have wrought.

Even worse though, are the people like Jessie Jackson who personally profit by maintaining the status quo. When someone like Bill Cosby attempts to change the situation, Jessie and Al and Harry are there to shout him down.

Aid to Dependent Children was the absolute worst of the programs the Liberals came up with. In order to qualify to receive the money from the government, there could be no evidence of a husband or father living on the premises, when the so called "social" workers paid their surprise visits.

With the stroke of their pen, they abolished the black family unit.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post! There's nothing like getting smacked around by reality first thing in the morning.

Your observation that our various social programs have enabled "dead-beat dads" to skate out on their responsibilities is vary accurate. Isn't it ironic that liberals, in trying to fix what they perceived to be a social illness, only managed to make it worse? Could it be that your example demonstrates why our government was never meant to be a source of charity?

I'm always reminded of the speech given before the House of Representatives by Davy Crockett, Not Yours to Give.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Michael Morrison said...

For your bugs, try Roach Pruf. Paul Harvey used to say (maybe still does) the one that's spelled the worst works the best.
I've never seen conditions as horrible as those you described, but I've been in places vacated by Southeastern Rednecks, and they leave garbage and, as a result, roaches and other bugs behind. (Southerners tend to call "roaches" all kinds of bugs, mostly beetles, but not truly roaches.)
Roach Pruf will not, however, treat the underlying cause of insects: lack of care, lack of thought, lack of responsibility.
And contributing to all of those is, as you say, "Liberal" policies and politics.
Take one more step, though, and you will see I have been right all along: It is the underlying premise of initiatory force that is at the foundation.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Michael Morrison said...

Oh, one more point: If the Road to Hell is paved with good intentions, is the Road to Heaven paved with bad intentions?

11:55 AM  
Blogger CapZap said...

Wow. Powerful post. Powerful comments. Thanks to you, Timothy, and thanks to those who commented. Filled with truth we should never forget.

9:51 PM  
Blogger TJW said...

As a former on-site or "resident" Manager in the property management industry, I can attest to Tim's description of his job as much like a cop but "slightly" less dangerous, it is all that and much more. Thankfully, I didn't have any properties such as he described here to wrestle with. At their most disgusting, my worst cases were isolated to single units not entire buildings full of filth and depravity. I was however, frequently exposed to examples of human detritus slithering their way through life, the very worst of these were “enabled” by the entitlement apparatus of social engineering policies fostered by well intentioned liberals.

The swath of unintended consequences that follows in the wake of these ill advised, poorly executed, and self-perpetuating, programs is devastating to the individuals trapped within and as Tim correctly identified are absolute “family killers.” If you ask your average liberal why with all we do to “help” people in these settings why do they still live this way, you will most likely be told that we aren’t doing enough. Well I for one firmly believe that so far we have been doing precisely the wrong thing and that most of these people couldn’t stand much more of our help.

Quite an eye opening post Tim, good-luck.

Maybe you should check with your local army surplus store to see if they have any “slightly used” chemical warfare or Hazmat suits for sale, sounds like it would be a worthwhile investment for you when entering one of the monuments to the good intentions of leftism.

2:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Why don't you polish this piece up a bit and publish it in a magazine?

I live in STL, too, and I'm aware that these places exist in this area--east side and west side.

Some years ago I wrote an article about my experience with teaching a totally illiterate north side teen-ager and some of his family. His whole neighborhood was illiterate. My article got published in a literary magazine, but I don't know what impact it had.

You've written an article that is very powerful and ought to get a broader audience and not get lost in the daily blogsphere.

Try Touchstone magazine. It's a conservative, ecumenical Christian magazine that pays $100 per printed page.

STL scribe

11:04 AM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Thanks, gang!

I didn`t expect such great feedback on this rather painful piece!

Welcome p.jones-caraway! Thanks for the encouragement, and the thoughtful comments.

STL Scribe;

I may have to consider your idea of rewriting this piece and sending it to Touchstone, Scribe. I hadn`t really given that any thought before. I have heard of Touchstone, but didn`t really know anything about it. Thanks!

Bonnie, you said,

``Aid to Dependent Children was the absolute worst of the programs the Liberals came up with.``.

I couldn`t agree more! It was monstrously destructive.

Thanks, Don! I hadn`t read the Crockett speech; it was very apt.

Your wit and wisdom is always refreshing, Michael! Glad to see you are feeling better!

Thanks, Capzap!

Thanks to you, too, Tom! Your hazmat suit idea is something I`ve often considered; I`m afraid that I will eventually catch malaria, or something worse, in one of these hell-holes. Fortunately, properties like the one I described are somewhat rare.

Thanks again to all!

2:47 PM  

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