In the last few months in Chicago and all across America, we have experienced a life-altering pandemic, demonstrations, protests, rioting, burning, looting, along with wild accusations coming from all quarters. The hunt to blame, blame, blame, was full speed ahead. It was enough to make any sane person, or gosh, a politician, that has no answers, overlook another staggering reality. I’m not sure if the word overlook is germane, purposely ignore, or pretend to be too busy to notice might just be the proper words. “JUST SAYIN”
Chicago is in the midst of a summer slaughter (Webster’s definition of slaughter is (“to kill in large numbers”) that has seemed to somehow take a backseat amidst all the other chaos. Last month the City endured 82 murders and 392 people shot. In one 24 hour period 18 souls were murdered and over 92 were shot over that same weekend. The final results were 26 murdered and 92 shot. In reality that’s 92 attempted murders.
It did get noticed by at least one major newspaper, after all, it was the most violent weekend in 60 YEARS. The City’s leaders never as much as blinked, as hard as that must have been, they pulled it off. They have seemingly developed the old ostrich theory, keep your head in the sand and you will see nothing. I cannot help to think of Sgt. Schultz from “HOGANS HEROES.” Sorry, it just kinda fits, “I KNOW NOTHING.” They even get the same newspaper as I do. See the headline below.
Last year Chicago’s business community via “Cranes Chicago Business” asked me to do an OP-Ed on my thoughts on trying to solve Chicago’s intractable gang violence. Cranes noticed, they even published the startling financial cost to the City because of the violence. See Below. Crain’s, a business paper has put the cost into billions, reaffirming a Bloomberg analysis of a few years ago, which estimated that every single property owner in Chicago was unknowingly paying $15,000 a year to cover the cost of the mayhem. This coldly does not even measure the cost in human suffering.
Back in 2013 after President Barack Obama named Zachary Fardon the U.S Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, one of Fardon’s first statements about Chicago’s seemingly endless epidemic of violence was that the city was “not going to arrest our way out of the gang problem.” Six years later, newly elected Mayor Lorie Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, has repeated those same words. It’s almost a YADA, YADA, bag of bullshit.
But since 2012 this is the staggering reality. In just 8.5 years 4,821 souls have been murdered in Chicago and another 24,942 have been shot. Imagine an average of 567 murders a year and over 2,787 people shot in a civilized society. Mostly, due to gang warfare. It’s not cynicism but experience that sometimes has me scoffing at the constant calls for stronger community policing, extended library hours, organized sports activities, and workshops. The Mayor even handpicked a new police Superintendent who thinks it’s a great idea to have COPS help build houses in the Community and deliver meals to those in need. “He says to build trust with the Community.” Not one word on what they intend to do with the gang killers who are not the least bit interested in any of those activities and could care less about cops delivering food and building houses. But hey, I guess even laughable nonsense might appear like at least they are doing something.
Those horrific numbers of murders and attempted murders through the years speak for themselves. Chicago’s gangs are a powerful force that is not going to be intimated by nice, nice. They are a power and will not relinquish it’s arrogant power unless challenged by a far greater force. If we look back at the Federal Government’s attempt to dismantle organized crime in the U.S., no amount of community involvement brought it to an end. The Government agents and the Department of Justice used the RICO Statutes as an extremely effective tool against organized crime. It begs the question of why are we not using those same tactics against those violent offenders that are terrorizing Chicago with a stream of never-ending vicious attacks on entire communities?
In my opinion, the mayor’s call for more community involvement and scores of social programs – including jobs, neighborhood investments, addressing problems in the home, and more educational opportunities – is indeed honorable. But they simply will not stop the cancer that has infected those communities and beyond.
I spent 33 years with the Chicago Police department, including duty with the Gang units and as a SWAT C/O. I’ve mixed with thousands of officers over the years, and I know my opinions are shared with the overwhelming number of cops who were and still on the front lines. The gangs are there now, to not see that one has to be blind or totally lacking in sense. The guns are there now. The violence is and will continue. And right now removing cancer and arresting and punishing offenders has to be a big part of that effort. Talking and making speeches and marching on expressways, and giving lip service to the mayhem is in no way helping. “WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO ARREST OUR WAY OUT OF THE ENTIRE PROBLEM BUT IT WILL BE ONE OF THE FIRST TOOLS TO GIVE A BELEAGURED CITY SOME NEEDED HELP.” Bob Angone
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