Human Life is Cheap?/Casablanca/Chicago

Human Life is Cheap?/Casablanca/Chicago

I believe the very first I heard the expression “Human life is cheap” was in the movie Casablanca. The Nazi Major Strasser, answers a worried Ilsa Lund,(Ingrid Bergman) after she inquires about the safety of her husband in Nazi occupied Casablanca. “My dear perhaps you have already observed that in Casablanca Human life is cheap.” Since I was very young the first time I saw the movie, Iv’e since heard it hundreds and hundreds of times repeated as “Life is cheap.”

I cannot tell you how many  times while working the streets of Chicago for 33 years I thought of that quote. My guess is that it was not meant to be an Economic statement but just another cynical observation from people who witness  the senseless deaths  of others so often. Some even consider it a defense mechanism to be able to function over and over again in that type of  environment.

Man’s inhumanity to man is on display so often that if I had to pick 100 incidents, there would be a 100 more. Of course the sudden violent death of a police colleague and friends, never completely go away, but you somehow come to terms when you realize, well he or she  was a Cop, and certainly we all knew in the back of our minds that someday violent death  could become a reality. However, there are other deaths at sometime or another, that seep into the thought process after a certain trigger in the memory bank.


Just yesterday in Chicago a young woman by the name of Maria Coronel 21, was in her car with her twin sister and two of her nieces, 1 and 2 years old. Suddenly a masked gunman jumped into the back seat and commanded her to drive on. He demanded their money, then when he demanded her Cell phone, she balked, and he calmly shot her twice in the back of the head. He fled on foot with $40 dollars, while Maria died instantly in front of her twin and the children. The local Alderman called her executioner a “PUNK.” My though process was such that I though that Punks were getting a bad name. Rest assured those investigating her death will not soon forget her. They have a tendency to live on until you leave the earth.

This was a cold blooded Thug killer to whom life was indeed cheap. She was the last of 9 children living at home. Look to her Father’s quote that accompanies this story. “Today we are left alone.” Since 2012, Chicago up to the present day has seen over 4,000 murders and over 23,300 people shot. I do not know what the numbers were in Casablanca when the Nazi Strasser uttered those words, but lets be honest, are we living those words in Chicago, has life indeed become cheap?

I looked for the definition of just what others might think of the meaning of “life is cheap” But like anything else there were various opinions. However there were opinions that seemed to possess the same theme, in that it meant” that there is no significant penalty, whether it be outright murder, extremely dangerous drugs, and other unregulated manufacturing methods, causing the death of thousands of Americans, not to mention the dangerous altered behavior by thousands and thousands more.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration which has declared a Public Health Emergency, reports that there are  72,000 Opioid deaths a year in the U.S.  Thats 200 people a day. Fatal heroin overdoses rose Nationwide between 2015-2016 with nearly a 25% increase in the Northeast and 22% in the South. Most of the heroin in the U. S. is being trafficked from Mexico. The most amount of heroin seized is from the Mexican Border near San Diego. The DEA reports that Methamphetamine is making it’s way into communities where the drug wasn’t heavily used. The next area that has me examining the life is cheap theme is one that I’m well acquainted with.

First let me say this, Im not a gun grabber, or am I against the 2nd Amendment which protects the peoples right to keep and bear arms. 98% of all gun owners are responsible law abiding citizens, but like anything else in the world including vehicles, drugs, etc they fall into the hands of  those who get the constant headlines by abusing certain privileges. Recently, according the the Associated Press, gun injuries including many from from assaults, sent 75,000 children and teens to hospital emergency rooms over a 9 year period at a cost of over 3 billion dollars. A first of it’s kind study.

If one looked to just Chicago alone at the number of children and teens shot down it would be a startling figure. It’s an epidemic in my opinion. Researchers called it the first nationally represented study of E.R. visits for gun injuries among kids in the U.S. The study also found that over 1/3 of the children were hospitalized and 6% died. Life is the most precious thing we possess in this world, how have we reached a point when we hear those words “LIFE IS CHEAP.” some of us think long hard about them?

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