Pair of sneakers beats a full NSP house?


There has been an animated off-line discussion about this piece, which appeared in Granta way back in September, when our attention was diverted from gangs to gaping bridge holes. My guess is that Bob Caesar won’t be asking Mr. Bill to write the forward for James A. Crutchfield’s bicentennial book.

The Heartland: Ten Years After 9/11, by Frank Bill

 … We drive down Vincennes Street, the main drag in New Albany, Indiana. From Vincennes, the area appears safe. But cruise the side streets around the high school and S Ellen Jones Elementary School and it’s turf. Houses are tagged with gang graffiti. Every block is marked as territory. He points out a pair of sneakers hanging from their laces on a power line. ‘It marks the area. It means a drug dealer is living at one of these houses. Sells right out here.’

‘These gangs sell meth?’ I ask.

‘They do,’ Merritt tells me. ‘And crack, marijuana, various prescription meds.’