Guardian Angels trois

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Guardian Angels Response to Hurricane Sandy. (Screen shot Guardian Angels website)

This is the third in a series of editorials on Chicago vigilantes known as the Guardian Angels. Parts one and two are here and here.

In 1981, when the Guardian Angels formed their Chicago Chapter, the Chicago Police Department called them a "goon squad".

Mayor Jane Byrne did not want them to form here and rightfully so. What she did not realize was Curtis Sliwa, the Head Vigilante in Charge, was going to do whatever he wanted. If it meant generating inflammatory publicity stunts and syrupy public relations acrobatics, he would do it.

Sliwa is a fast talking rhetorical hustler who instinctively knows how to manipulate the news media and public. He also knows how easy they are manipulated. Sliwa pressed all the right buttons. Mayor Byrne and the Police Department caved.

Curtis Sliwa and his Guardian Angels are bold audacious publicity hounds. Like petulant two-year-olds, they keep making noise until somebody gives them what they want. Usually the somebodies are low information people who fall for their schtick. Just like people fall for charlatans, frauds, con games or deals too good to be true . When enough low information people fall for the publicity con the politicians cave.

In 2010, Maine's Portland Press Herald ran an editorial, "Portland police don't need wrong kind of help. Portland was concerned about the rhetoric the Guardian Angels would use to justify organizing a chapter in Portland.  They feared Angels would generate  inflammatory statements that verged on a call to vigilantism, like they did in New York and other cities.

In 1994 the Guardian Angels operations were shut down in San Francisco. One day the Angels chased down an apparent drug offender, slammed him so hard to the sidewalk his head was cut open, and proceeded to handcuff him. They let up just long enough for the alleged perpetrator to show his police badge.  Ten years later they returned. Their focus? Quality of life issues, like accosting people in a park and dumping out their drinks.

Had Jane Byrne stood her ground the Guardian Angels would never have gotten a foothold in Chicago. Had her successors saw the vigilante posses for what they really are, they would have ridden them out of town on a rail.


NBC Chicago

Fast forward 32 years. The Guardian Angels insult our city with a bold, audacious, and cheap publicity stunt. It is a pity no one in politics or the media has the fortitude to step up, step in, and say no more. Enough is enough. Time for the goon squad vigilantes to disband.

Chicago does not need the Guardian Angels or any other vigilante posses. The vigilantes need Chicago to justify their existence. If they lose Chicago other cities will tumble like dominoes. Curtis Sliwa will be reduced to being a circus clown or carnival barker, the only occupations he is suited for.

The Guardian Angels claim they are a "Safety Patrol". It turns out they believe quality of life ordinance violations are imminent threats and clear and present dangers to public safety.

What right or authority do the vigilantes have to ask people questions, order them to stop, search them, or detain them for petty ordinance violations? Do citizens, even real criminals, have a legal obligation or duty to "cooperate" with vigilantes? Can and should citizens refuse and resist the efforts of vigilantes to impede them, assault them, or detain them?

It is one thing to detain a robber, thief, or other dangerous criminal posing an imminent threat to public safety. It is a whole other to "enforce" mere quality of life ordinances for no rhyme or reason.

It is worse when the alleged quality of life "criminal" is obviously mentally impaired.

The video below was made by the Chicago Chapter of the Guardian Angels. It is proof positive they are not only out of control goons and vigilantes, they are not very bright. They filmed and published their abuse of an obviously mentally impaired individual.

In the video a man is on an El platform accused of smoking marijuana. He is not bothering anyone, not causing a disturbance, and poses no threat. When accosted by a vigilante, he tries to leave. When he tells another vigilante to get the camera out of his face, the goon keeps filming. Common sense would dictate letting him leave the platform would resolve the issue.

The man ignores the vigilantes and starts up the escalator. The video clearly shows by, his actions, the man is impaired in some capacity. He is pursued up the escalator, then accosted and abused by another vigilante at the top.

Why was the vigilante filming? Was this a publicity stunt, an example of how the Guardian Angels treat mentally ill or impaired people, a demonstration of stupidity, or something purely staged? The video ends before police arrive.

Why do the Angels shoot video of their escapades to begin with?

If this video was not staged, it shows goons abusing a mentally impaired man for merely smoking on the El. Smoking, even marijuana, poses no imminent danger to anyone. If this video portrayed police officers acting like this there would be hell to pay and then some. There would be a loud media and public outcry. The Police Department and possibly the United States Department of Justice would have the officers' heads. The Superintendent and Mayor would be apologizing profusely.

To paraphrase "Love Story", "Being a vigilante goon means never having to say you're sorry."

Thanks to FOQ/NY for the information, links, and video used in this article.

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