“Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana. Let me say it again. Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana. That’s the town that ‘knew me when’…”
Most of us have heard that song. It’s from “The Music Man.” It’s a famous song, and it made the city famous. How many American cities are the subjects of a famous song?
But Gary, Indiana, for all practical purposes, is no more.
There are still some 80,000 people living there, according to the 2010 census—a decrease of almost 17% from the 2000 census. In 1960 Gary had a population of over 178,000; so today’s population figure represents a decrease of about 55%.
To get a better feel for what those numbers mean, you have to see the pictures. You can take an online tour of Gary, Indiana, on the “Forbidden Places” website.
Yes, the pictures tell the story. Schools, hospitals, the Methodist Church; post offices, factories, office buildings, and the Jackson Five Theater—all abandoned, all quietly rotting away. Broken windows, floors covered with debris, and peeling ceilings. Tons and tons of equipment, furniture, and accessories: desks, hospital beds, wheelchairs, file cabinets, electrical fixtures. And outside, mile after mile of empty streets—no cars, no pedestrians. When 80,000 people inhabit a city that once, and not so long ago, housed 178,000, it leaves a lot of unused space. One is reminded of Isaiah’s prophetic vision of the ruins of Babylon:
“It shall never be inhabited… But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.” (Isaiah 13:20-21)
Consider the waste. That furniture and equipment were not decayed and useless when first they were abandoned. Much of it must have been left behind in satisfactory working order. And we see vast quantities of iron and steel left behind to rust, and tons of beautiful building stone.
Why was none of it salvaged? Once upon a time, Japan built a modern navy out of scrap metal. And if you’ve ever had to rent a hospital bed for home care, you know it’s a costly proposition. You’d think some of those hundreds or thousands of beds might have been sold, or donated. But no—it’s all been left behind to rust and rot.
Consider the labor that went into building this city, the dreams, the hope, the sacrifice, the sweat, the tears, the joy: and all that, too, has gone to waste.
But then one gets to thinking, “How much more of America is going to look like this, before our leaders are finished with it?” In “America the Beautiful” we sing the line, “Thine alabaster cities gleam.” How many of our cities have stopped gleaming, since those words were written? Have you looked at any pictures of Detroit lately?
“How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!” (Lamentations 1:1)
We’ve got the “smart growth,” save-the-planet crowd, who wants to “build down” Western civilization. In 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s “green advisers” told him Britain had to get rid of 32 million Britons—somehow! They didn’t say how: only that the UK had better cut its population from 62 million to 30 million, or else Britain wouldn’t be “sustainable.”
Whenever you hear a statist use the word “sustainable,” watch out.
Gary, Indiana, came into being as a steel town. It died because America’s steel production industry was permitted to die. Gary didn’t die because a plague hit it, because the Assyrians razed it to the ground, or because a flood erased it. Gary died because our leaders of politics and industry decided America didn’t need to make steel anymore.
It was, perhaps, a case of involuntary manslaughter. Maybe Detroit is negligent homicide. But the next generation of ravaged, rotting cities appears to be on the short list for premeditated murder.
Murder by whom?
By the freedom-eaters—the Agenda 21, Man-Made Global Warming mob; George Soros, Maurice Strong, and their robot in the White House; by the country club Republicans who let the Democrats take the blame but are very much along for the ride; by Planned Non-Parenthood, the “Human Rights” Campaign, and the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement; by the whole devouring locust-swarm of statist zealots who will do what’s best for us even if they have to kill us: the whole Godless crowd of freedom-eaters.