by Jamie Freveletti
By now probably half the world has heard about the recent attacks carried out by a group of teenagers against three different people, one a 68 year old. Crime in a big city is not so unusual as to create headlines, but mobs of teenagers heading out of their neighborhood to hit another and doing it in the early evening is news.
Earlier in the year I posted about my concerns involving Chicago's red line subway stop at Chicago/State. You can see the post here. Not surprisingly, the mobs used the red line and exited at this station to get to their victims. Also not surprisingly, the McDonalds there was the scene of an earlier disturbance, where it is alleged over 70 teens converged and the restaurant had to be shut down for several hours.
Two weeks ago I emerged at this corner on my way to the Magnificent Mile and found barrage of police. At least a dozen officers stood in front of the McDonalds. I knew that something must have happened, but this was several months after the McDonalds incident, so now we're talking new. While the show of force was good, it was another thing Chicago is, to my mind, becoming famous for: big talk and little action. And couple of weeks later the attacks happen only two blocks over on Chicago Avenue.
I'm not suggesting that the police can contain all crime, but I am suggesting that Chicago's residents are a pretty jaded group. We have several ex- governor felons, one in jail, one being tried and whole members of the infrastructure being indicted, but still the voters stay home. Our budget is in a shambles, our schools deteriorating and still the voters stay home. Now the one area that may be actually generating the tax base that Chicago needs to continue as a going concern is being attacked by roving gangs of teenagers and journalists wring their hands over whether they should identify the attackers' race (black, and they didn't) and another writes a piece on how the south side is different from the downtown area and crime there isn't reported or acted on enough, as if two wrongs somehow should make a right. And the mother of one of the attackers is quoted in the paper echoing this sentiment by complaining that the bail was too high and if her child had attacked someone on the South Side he would have gotten a lighter bond.
Notice how neither addresses the core problem: crime.
Enough. There is lot of handwringing, but basically a big shrug in the end. Chicagoans need to be outraged. They need to demand better and they need to get their butts to the voting booth and make a change in the best way that they can. And this new Mayor needs to crack down, and by that I mean inside his own City Hall. We've had enough crime start there as the round of indictments show and it spreads outward. As the saying goes: the fish rots at the head.
Let's hope this new fish can get it done. In the meantime, I'm headed to the dojo and then to the track to run. Looks like I'd better keep both skills honed.