Saturday, August 4, was a holiday. You didn’t know about it? Me neither. It was Barack Obama Day in Illinois, the only state that observes the holiday. It also happens to be Mr. Obama’s birthday, which, in my mind, makes one wonder why Hawaii didn’t join in the observance. Asking for a friend.
In honor of our previous president’s official day, there were fifteen shootings resulting in one death. It was part of yet another blood bath for the weekend that Chicagoans all-too-regularly endure. Depending on your source of news, there was somewhere in the neighborhood of 66-71 people shot and twelve died. Disgustingly, an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old were also killed. A 17-year-old young lady was shot in the face.
Emergency rooms were packed at local hospitals. One hospital had to stop receiving emergency cases for a period of time due to the influx of people.
If you can believe the numbers from various internet sources, 1,785 people have been shot this year so far in Chicago. One has to take that with a grain of salt as it appears most of the numbers are fudged in some way or another. Type in “Chicago’s murder rate” into your favorite search engine and you will get many different sites, all with diverse numbers and separate ways to crunch statistics, depending on the political persuasion of the writer.
But Chicago politicos will point proudly that this is 480 less people than last year, as if that is comforting to the 1,785 people and their families that have been shot, or the 300 that have been murdered. Somehow, it just doesn’t give me any additional courage to make a trip to any of the world-class hospitals in the area on a Saturday night. Don’t think I’ll be trying any of the local beaneries either. Next time you hear one of the politicians mention how much the number is down, remember that they catch a meager 20% of the people doing the shooting.
An exasperated Police Department Patrol Chief, Fred Waller stated to reporters Sunday “By no means do these statistics mean we have a victory, but I promise you we won't be defeated ... by a small element committing these reckless acts."
By all appearances, Chief Waller looks like an honorable constable, one the city should be proud to employ. A black man, he is third in line in the Chicago police pecking order. The top Chicago cop is Eddie Johnson, also a black man. Nearly all of this mayhem is going on in the predominately black south and west sides of Chicago. You can bet these types of weekends would not be tolerated in the “lighter” North Shore.
At what point will Chief Waller and Superintendent Johnson stop listening and participating in the politicians’ shenanigans in order to take the streets back from the gangs, thugs, and malcontents? Rahm Emanuel has, in my opinion, one concern – Rahm Emanuel. He will do anything to stay in power, including allowing innocent children to get mowed down, and then show up afterwards with his crooked smile to give platitudes and empty promises.
The time has come to stop vaguely describing the problem, and making empty promises, to acknowledging the reality of the mess you have collectively created and do something about it.
A few points for Chief Waller and Supt. Johnson:
* Those are your brothers and sisters being mowed down on the streets. You know this is nothing more than blatant racism, so why are you putting up with it? And do you really believe allowing protestors to march along the city’s main arteries, clogging traffic, is going to help save one person on the West Side? All it does is piss off the people caught up in the quagmire who are powerless to do anything. In my lifetime, I have found an upset person is unlikely to commiserate with your problems.
* Chicago already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. How many more times are you going to roll out the tired mantra about too many guns? Sorry guys, that dog won’t hunt.
* Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1931 – do you suppose that might possibly also play a part in your dilemma?
* Out of fear, nobody is going to finger anybody. So why not plaster the south side with anonymous hotlines?
Ira Acree, a pastor on the West Side, hit the nail on the head when he said, “this weekend’s horrific violence underscores that two Chicago’s exist—one that is thriving and largely inoculated from the shootings and another that’s been ravaged by disinvestment and indifference from the city’s politicians.”
Stop the indifference, gentlemen – politics be damned, clean out the debris of the gangs and drugs, even if it takes bringing in the National Guard to help sweep the streets. Once the streets have been brought back under control, watch investment bloom.
President Trump would more than likely be very interested in helping with the situation – just mention it in your next press conference.