And for anyone who rejects the validity of what Sheila is describing is either heavily insulated from all of this, lives in one of the nice areas noted or just has a hard time seeing through their rose colored glasses.I've only been back in the US a few years and never lived in the south before, but have a nephew who experienced a fair share of scumbags in Florida and moved to the East Coast. Lots of people think well of the Carolinas, though, and retire there. For my part, I'm sure moving to the area I am in was a mistake. There are nice people here, but some 1 in 5 are so vicious and sneaky, but so well-established, that whatever I try to build gets torn apart. It has been a very rough go and it still is.
The South is, sadly, very polarized with far too many people scamming and living off government programs. One is a (government paid) carer for another who is a carer for another who is on Disability and they all pool their government housing and benefits together and go to the doctor or get prescriptions delivered for every little thing because they can and their lives are about continually proving they can't work and I just keep seeing this over and over again. Many have one person with a full-time job married to another who is on Disability so together they qualify for FHA for huge, beautiful houses and other loans, then they get a bunch of roommates and rent out rooms in their houses but don't keep them up until the homes get trashed and their credit is ruined and the home gets put up for foreclosure so they trash it further until a Northerner or foreigner buys it and then the Northerner or foreigner gets scammed by similar people and they start all over again with someone else in the family to hold the job and keep their eyes peeled for the next innocent working person who arrives. It just goes on and on and on. So you can forget about any small towns or more remote areas in Tennessee or Georgia. Just figure that there are now heaps of people - a good 20-30% or more of those living in America - who are basically living by taking advantage of those that work and doing it knowingly and a huge population hooked on painkillers or similar who don't think twice about taking every dime you own. It doesn't matter to them that you worked hard all your life to make sure you can retire when you can't work anymore - they don't care. They think you are stupid, you are a mark, and yes, they are very much out to get you, so strip away any ideas you have that things are otherwise and just be aware that it's the same old con game as ever and the people who want to make friends with you aren't actually friendly, after all and you have to defend yourself or they'll rob you blind and destroy you in the process.
Rhode Island is great but has whiffs of some of the above going on, Connecticut is relatively normal but expensive, Texas is a mix, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois are a lot better in the suburbs than the major cities - everyone I know has moved out of the big cities because of the crime. Maryland is insane. I've heard mixed things about different parts of Oregon. Denver and Boulder are gorgeous but expensive and you still have to watch where you go. Boston and DC are also a mix. The West is probably still pretty good, like Arizona and similar, and I've heard Washington State is nice.
What I see in America now is a huge differentiation and separation of social/economic classes. Wherever you choose to live, you have to look closely at the crime rate or low incomes and live completely clear of those areas if you want to own anything nice or save for your future. It's not enough anymore to live where your house is safe in a nice neighborhood pocket. You have to work in areas and for companies that are well-established and treat you with dignity or quit fast. Most decent, intelligent people I know now work in jobs where they have independence or particular industry skills or they have their own businesses. Lots of business owners are micro-managers with no respect for independent thought, so it's a challenge finding a good one to work unless you have special skills, and even then, it's very competitive and they prefer hiring the young.
Do I sound cynical? This is how it is in America now and it's been a shocker for me. I'm here for my family and determined to see them as much as I can and I will get on top of this, one way or the other. I think others here who have lived here longer would have better knowledge and advice on the best areas for someone to live and work, though.
I should add that I did live in an economically depressed area in a suburb of Cleveland Ohio as a kid and it was bad then. I tried Mpls and that became a toxic shithole of gangs as well as Billings, Montana where they just hated outsides because they took their friends jobs. That's when I was a Greyhound driver for a few years then (complete with a Ted Kaszinski (incident/accident) and we had nationwide seniority to determine where you could work. You'd get bumped out of wherever you were and would bid into somewhere you thought you could work with whatever little seniority you had. If you bid into Billings it meant one of their own got bumped out and they were hateful, vengeful bastards. One driver from Milwaukee Wisc that bid in and onto a nice "gravy run" and bumped a popular local who loves "his" run awoke to hooded gunmen who told him to bid out of town on the next bid or they'd be back to kill him! No, it wasn't me. They'd have keys made to the rooms that Greyhound rented out for a place for their drivers to stay and these bastards could get in on you in the middle of the night. Do you know that when you give someone your key they can trace out the key pattern on piece of masking tape and later cut themselves a working copy of your key using a Dremel drill kit?
I just watched Leah Remini's Scientology and the Aftermath - "Spies like us" and it's easy to see the hellatious impact of Scientology upon the populace.
They lay the foundation for "how to harass anyone".
The best part is the interview with Cierra Waterman, a PI for Scientology from 2008-2011 with PI Dwayne Powell, and telling of how many ex's got real time tracking devices put of their cars tracking their every movement throughout each and every day. They are little black boxes that can be hard wired into your car's electrical harness or if they just use the battery option they have to keep coming back to change the battery. Inside is a cell phone card which makes it operate on a paid cell phone account that someone is paying (would be traceable as to who if your get your hands on it) and it transmits your location onto a Google Earth map where they can watch a little car on the map move around on each street with a MPH readout on every move you make. I've seen them operate before on a laptop. You can search for the various models on Ebay so that you know what to look for, they are only a few inches long.
Sounds like heavy class action time...
The world's turning to shit and we need to do something about whatever we can do something about.
Or roll the dice on where and what shit storm you'll get reborn into as enforced participation does appear to be mandatory in this ream of existence, from what I've experienced and recollect of it, and not from Scientology auditing.