‘So rough our pit bull got stolen’: Growing up in America’s most violent small town

pinebluff

When people ask me where I grew up, I have a throwaway joke: ‘Pine Bluff, Arkansas—a town so rough that our pit bull got stolen.’

Since I was a kid, Pine Bluff has been famous for all the wrong reasons. The headlines are grim: Most recently, it was named the second most dangerous metropolitan area in America after Detroit based on violent crime statistics such as murder, rape and kidnapping.

Forbes.com ranked city the seventh most dangerous for women. Walking around gives you a one in 10 chance of being a victim of violent or property crime.

It’s also home to an army installation that housed chemical weapons. An X-Files episode where Mulder and Scully are faced with a biological element that melts human skin is called ‘The Pine Bluff Variant’ after the Pine Bluff Arsenal.

When a reporter visited the town recently to do a police ride-along, acting Police Chief Jeff Hubanks said that ‘the little old white lady with the kitten on her lap is perfectly safe in this town’. He seemed to infer that crime was confined to drug dealers and rough areas.

But violence in Pine Bluff isn’t limited to the wrong side of the tracks. These days the town’s nickname is ‘Crime Bluff’, and the last time I drove through I saw a boarded-up Main Street that looked like the zombie apocalypse had already happened.
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Forget pre-Googling a first date: Facebook’s new Graph Search takes online stalking to a whole new level. The technology isn’t publicly available yet, but after only ten minutes of using the beta version I predict that online dating will never be the same.

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company was rolling out the mysterious ‘third pillar’ – after News Feed and Timeline – he explained how the Graph is totally different from other web searches. Instead of sending a list of links, it scours data from friends and friends of friends including posts, check-ins and recommendations to get an exact answer.

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According to SeekingArrangment.com, a site that pairs wealthy older men with younger women, the average sugar daddy salary dropped from $321,482 to $273,301 between 2007 and 2013.

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Now there’s a new twist. Many of the lusty landlords aren’t satisfied with just sex for rent – they want maid service and cooking thrown in, among other things.

And their demands are getting more and more bizarre. [Read more]

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