I live in one of those nice, “quiet,” “safe” neighborhoods. There are old-growth trees, many birches, and maples lining the streets. There is a mix of people- families with small children, empty nesters, singles. The area is somewhat demographically diverse.
It is no longer quiet or safe. Over the past week, there were two rolling shootouts. There were other instances of gun violence. It begs the question; can we walk or drive down our streets without being innocent victims of uncontrolled anarchy in Chicago?
Some may say that anarchy is incorrect or inflammatory. What else do you call uncontrollable, unpredictable rampant violence and the brazenness of the people committing these crimes? The politicians and news media toss around words like systemic and intractable describing the “root” causes of crime. This spate of violence is systemic and intractable.
I spent almost 30 years as a Chicago Police Officer. I worked in two of the most violent areas of the city. When I was in a citywide unit, I worked in many neighborhoods across the city. Occasionally there were short spates of violence in the safest areas. I never witnessed or even imagined violence this widespread and uncontrollable citywide. There is no safe area in Chicago.
Except for the criminals, I no longer know who to blame for this anarchy. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the alderpeople, State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx, Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle, or Chicago’s warfare politics.
I would blame the friendly, inept editorial boards of our local news media for ignoring the violence. That would be a waste of mental energy. “The press has always been this country’s single greatest force for social change.” ((Andrew Vachss) The press is no longer a force for change. They are a force for complicity.
First, the politicians tell us beautiful lies because that is what we need to hear. Then they call each other liars because that is what they do. Lies, lies, and more damned lies.
I finally concluded that we, the citizens, and voters are to blame. We should be outraged. We should be demanding accountability and transparency. We should be shouting from the rooftops and marching in the streets. We are silent.
Our silence is consent. Our lack of action is consent.
We consent to murder and mayhem. We consent to children, especially infants and toddlers being killed. We consent to mass shootings. We consent to rolling shootouts. We consent to carjackings and armed robberies. We consent to prosecutors refusing to prosecute. We consent to the catch and release of violent criminals by the courts.
We consent to the epic public safety failure of our government systems.
Chicago is in a public safety crisis. If this goes on much longer, it will be a catastrophe. Some of the alderpeople are speaking out. We should be too. We should be ringing their phones off the hook or jamming their emails.
We do nothing. We are silent.
Chicago politics sucked since I have been alive. Never has it sucked this bad. Public safety is the top priority in governance. Our elected officials are failing and flailing.
There are as many political finger-pointers as there are people pointing guns. This anarchy results from gross political malfeasance across every level of governance- city, county, and state. Yet, we remain silent. How much longer will this go on before we stop consenting and break our silence?
If you want to see who is responsible for the violent anarchy in Chicago, look in the mirror.