Osama is Dead. But What About Chicago's War Zone?

Osama is Dead. But What About Chicago's War Zone?
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Hughes is concerned about life in Chicago.

Osama bin Laden is dead, and I'm not too sure if that makes me feel any safer.

To
be blunt, I am even more insecure. I'm concerned about the plans of his
minions, be it a legion of trained assassins or a motley crue of
morons...all it takes is one of them to get it right--
we as a people must be more vigilant than ever.

For
me, Osama bin Laden and the weapons of mass destruction have not
occupied space in my brain for years, as there are more pressing
everyday issues associated with living in the American war zone that is
Chicago.


For starters, the city has no money, and they want to take mine.
Drivers
are under siege with the one-two punch of the highest gas prices in the
nation and a phantom crew of meter maids that are lying in wait to
ticket and boot our cars.


The city needs money, and it will get it from us drivers, even if it must make us all pedestrians in the process.

And now suddenly, many of us are getting new neighbors.
Apparently
the demolition of the Chicago Housing Projects and other gentrifying
neighborhoods have resulted in throngs of displaced families relocating
to the suburbs.


There's a mass relocation project happening in every nook and cranny all over the state, and there are no transitioning "meet-the-neighborhood" programs in place to help us to all get to know each other. To me, this is a missed opportunity to really study the efficacy of the mixed-income housing model. We should have welcome wagons for our new neighbors, we should have mentors to assist the traditionally disenfranchised in making better life choices.

But no, we don't speak to one another, out of fear, or habit.

And
I can tell you that there's nothing more disconcerting than witnessing a
house of ill repute taking shape on your own block. The flood of foot
traffic at all times of the day, and the sea of hungry eyes on your
house, bring forth nightmares of unhinged front doors and broken car
windows.


My
very own block has undergone a metamorphosis from a quiet, family block
club to an after-hours, drag racing strip. There have been late-night
parties that ran into the workweek; there have been girl-on-girl group
fights in the middle of the street. There have been uncomfortable cat
calls from faceless young men, as I make the short trip from my front
door to my car port, and I don't like it.

My neighbor really didn't like the beer can that was tossed at my car because I refused to acknowledge the cat caller, and thank goodness he was a cop with the balls to squash that behavior.

Still, I
know it's only a matter of time before one of the cat callers meet me
at my car port for a little face-to-face--and then what? Will I be able
to effectively handle that brand new situation, you know, the aggressive
city teen vs. the suburbanite, or will things get out of hand?


You see, these are the issues of terror that dominate my mind.

So,
I am happy that Osama bin Laden is no longer, but I am not relieved
because whenever a teen is shot, or a cop is shot, or an innocent
passerby becomes the wrong place/wrong time victim of senseless
violence, I brace myself to survive the war at home.

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