Like all large cities, there are areas of Orlando that are just not safe to enter. In Orlando, one of those areas is Pine Hills. Locals have referred to that area as “Crime Hills” since the late 80’s. The area of Pine Hills used to be an upscale neighborhood that primarily housed engineers who worked for Martin Marietta’s (later Lockheed Martin) Orlando plant. It was the first neighborhood in Florida to contain golf courses. At just over 12 square miles, this neighborhood is just about 1% of the total land area of the county, but accounts for 10% of the murders, and 15% of robberies.

Martin Marietta was once the largest employer in Orlando, with 15,000 employees. I remember when I was a child, my father (who was an engineer for an electronics firm) used to do work there, but he could never tell me what he did there, claiming it was classified. However, he would occasionally bring home pictures of missiles being test fired, which my brother and I happily hung on our walls.

By 1987, that payroll had declined to 5,700. The engineers have moved away, and the area is now what they call an “ethnically and racially diverse” neighborhood where crime runs rampant. The census figures for the area’s income are unreliable because the statistical area includes a high income area that makes it appear to be more affluent than it is.

So with that background, we are now equipped to hear the tale of how Tavaris Davis got robbed. Apparently, one man at a convenience store was robbing another at gunpoint, and the two began shooting at each other. Then a third man joined in. Marksmanship was poor, because all of the shots exchanged hit cars, buildings, etc. with only one person being hit in the ankle. When Tavaris Davis realized what was going on, he fled. While fleeing, he was robbed at gunpoint by a group of locals who were unrelated to the individuals robbing each other at the nearby store.

The vast majority of gun violence in this nation is located within just a few square miles. The rest of the nation has a crime rate that is on par with Canada. The areas that are filled with crime tend to be “diverse” neighborhoods. Unless we can have an honest conversation about race and the causes of crime without people calling others “racist,” we can never find a solution.

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