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Peter V. Bella Posts

Lori Lightfoot Comes Clean

Image: City of Chicago

“Lightfoot doubled down saying that it will be a condition of employment, making it clear that she will require all city workers to be fully vaccinated by October 15 or they will be fired…. 

“Let’s be clear. We always want to engage with our unions on any issue that’s going to affect their members, and certainly their workplace, but it’s a condition of employment,” Lightfoot said.” (abc 7

Once again, Mayor Lori Lightfoot shot herself in the foot, making the COVID vaccine a “condition of employment” while still negotiating with the public employee unions. What is she negotiating?

She threw down the gauntlet. She threw out the perception that employees could be fired for refusing to be vaccinated. Perception is the reality in today’s world. The unions must be fuming.

Unlike the private sector, public employees, except exempt appointees, are not at-will employees. They can only be fired for just cause. They have due process rights. Even the perception of termination will blow up whatever negotiations she is in with the unions.

There should be no argument. Every city employee should be vaccinated unless there are health issues. Very few religions prohibit vaccinations. Yet, members of her staff are not vaccinated. That is not leading by example. Every appointed member of her staff not vaccinated should be fired immediately. That would be leading by example.

Image: City of Chicago

There are better ways to enforce vaccinations. Employees could be put on unpaid administrative leave until they get vaccinated. Making vaccinations a condition of employment means she can and probably will try to fire employees to set an example for others. That might be one legal battle she will lose.

Once again, Lightfoot is doubling down on being right. Her hardheaded stubbornness is losing the confidence of city employees. This will not end well. The vaccine mandate should have been negotiated while the vaccines were developed. This is not a mandate. It is an edict. Obey or else. 

Her arch nemesis, Toni Preckwinkle, is chuckling. Her political machine is well-oiled, firing on all cylinders, and ready to run a candidate worse than Lightfoot. The dumb voters in Chicago who believe Preckwinkle is a reformer will follow her off a cliff. The city will become a catastrophe.

Lori Lightfoot made one wrong decision after another on too many issues. She handled the pandemic well until this point. I do not know who is giving her legal advice, but they are not the best or the brightest.

Lightfoot is turning into a disaster of her own making. So far, there is not a peep from the alderpersons. Some may weigh in today or Monday. They must be furious, as they rely on many city employees to provide services in their wards.

Lightfoot’s my way, or the highway style of management is failing. The voters see it, contenders see it, and the unions see it. She is an elected official, not an imperial monarch. She cannot issue edicts without sound legal standing or defined consequences. She is an attorney and should know better.

There is not much to salvage from Lightfoot’s numerous mishaps. The city is a junkyard full of Lightfoot’s wreckages, including rampant citywide violent crime. Maybe Lincoln Towing should step in to tow them all away.

Another Fine Mess Lori

Image: City of Chicago

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the City of Chicago would be mandating COVID vaccinations for all city employees. There will be religious and health exemptions on a case-by-case basis. The deadline for vaccinations is October 15th. She said she is in negotiations with municipal employee unions over the implementation. It is not clear how the city will handle unvaccinated employees.

The police unions threaten legal action if the mandates go into while negotiating with City Hall. Other unions issued statements encouraging vaccinations and their concerns about the execution of the mandate. Their concerns are with the consequences. Will the city place employees into no pay status if they refuse vaccinations? They are willing to negotiate the issue.

The city of Chicago has over thirty thousand employees. Like the police, fire, EMTs, and people working in various city agencies, many are in close contact with the public. They are also in close contact with each other. From public safety and public health standpoints, it makes sense to mandate employees be vaccinated.

Contrary to freedumb lovers, vaccinations are safe and effective. If there is a breakthrough infection, the symptoms are not as life-threatening in most cases. It is extremely rare for vaccines to cause serious side effects in healthy people.

Very few religions in America are against vaccinations. Most recognize the vaccines are necessary or do not contain forbidden substances. The ones against vaccinations are freedumb death cults, trying to get as many people to “eternal life” as fast as possible. God-fearing preachers do not lead them. Scam artist heretics do. Even the cherished bible they thump has a passage mandating face covering and distancing to avoid people from spreading disease. (Leviticus 13:45-46)

Keeping people safe and healthy is plain common sense. Most legal experts agree that taking the city to court over the mandate will be futile. The exception may be the consequences of the mandate. The city should be clear about what the ramifications will be for the willingly unvaccinated.  Will they be forced to use vacation time, put on unpaid status, suspended, or fired? This is the issue of concern with most public employee unions.

Once again, Mayor Lightfoot created a mess she cannot get out of. Her administration is a train wreck. She did fine with the mask and distancing mandates, getting vaccinations for us, and keeping the citizens informed about COVID. Her actions drove the numbers down. The current rise is due to irresponsible people.

She let the rest of the city go to hell in a handbasket. Now, she dug herself a deeper hole with the public employee unions. Add to that her failure to curb the violence in Chicago, and she is staring down a single term.

It is a pity, a candidate who carried 49 out of 50 wards is losing the voters’ confidence. She lost the news media and many of the aldermen. She has few friends or even frenemies in politics. Politics is supposed to be the art o making friends, frenemies, and influencing people.

So much potential was wasted because it is more important for Lightfoot to be right than be clear on her objectives.

Save the Leprechaun

Image: By University of Notre Dame Brand Standards, Fair use.

The Fighting Irish mascot came under fire in 2018 when ESPN’s Max Kellerman called on Notre Dame to do away with the leprechaun as Cleveland’s major league baseball team did with its mascot, Chief Wahoo. .. “Should that also change? The answer is yes. Unequivocally yes. Pernicious, negative stereotypes of marginalized people that offend, even some among them, should be changed.”

I believe the Irish would be more offended by being referred to as marginalized than “The Fighting Irish” depicted by a leprechaun in a boxing pose. The Irish have a sense of humor and who they are. Maybe Max Kellerman should interview many Irish people instead of believing. That is what real journalists do before flapping their soup coolers.

Having been around Irish Catholics all my life and working with them on the Chicago Police Department, I can assure people, Irish Catholics are not easily offended and do not consider themselves marginalized. There would be too many people walking around Chicago with a mouse,* broken noses, or other injuries if they were offended.

Just when you thought sports “journalism” woketivism could not get worse, it finally headed down the sewer. A recent survey by a sports apparel company, Quality Logo Products, rated the Fighting Irish logo, a caricature of a leprechaun, as the fourth most offensive football team logo, citing cultural appropriation and some other nonsense participants found offensive.

The survey polled over 1200 people. The small sample proves surveys are voodoo science. Evidently, the pollsters did not research the history of the term “Fighting Irish” or the logo and its comedic variations. History, like humor, has no place in woketivism. They probably did not get too many Irish to participate either.

What next, the Lucky Charms™ leprechaun logo? These woketivists are probably the same non-Irish people who dress up in fake cartoonish Irish garb, green face paint and spend all of St. Patrick’s Day, night, or weekend, drinking and puking their way through fake Irish pubs. You know, cultural appropriation?

Notre Dame was founded in November 1842 by Rev. Edward F. Sorin, C.S.C., a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, a French missionary order…. A man of lively imagination, Father Sorin named his fledgling school in honor of Our Lady in his native tongue, “L’Université de Notre Dame du Lac” (The University of Our Lady of the Lake). On January 15, 1844, the University was thus officially chartered by the Indiana legislature.”(University of Notre Dame)

How did a school started by French clerics, named after “Our Lady” (Mother of Christ), name their sports teams “The Fighting Irish?” Shouldn’t they have named the team the Feckless French?

“Notre Dame said its nickname, Fighting Irish, began as a term used by other schools to mock its athletic teams. At the time, anti-Catholicism and anti-immigrant sentiments were strong. Because Notre Dame was largely populated by ethnic Catholics – mostly Irish, but also Germans, Italians and Poles – the university was a natural target for ethnic slurs, it said. At one football game in 1899, Northwestern students chanted “Kill the Fighting Irish,” Notre Dame said.” (NYP)

At the time, Northwestern University was anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic. There are no wokists to demand apologies or destruction of monuments. Northwestern is one of the main producers of wokisits today.

The football team gained national prominence in the early 1900s. Sports journalists began to use the phrase, “fighting Irish.” “Soon, Notre Dame supporters took it up, turning what once was an epithet into an ‘in-your-face’ expression of triumph.” (University of Notre Dame)

University President, Father Matthew Walsh, of Irish descent, adopted the Fighting Irish name in 1927. As for the leprechaun, it is an intentional caricature depicting the Fighting Irish.

There is no large protest by the nation’s Irish or people in Ireland to change the nickname and logo. The only protests are from a small group of wokists who took the survey and a few interviews with members of the woke public. And, of course, ESPN’s Max Kellerman.

Yet, this issue is gaining traction in the news. The New York Post has a story and editorial piece on it. So does the Irish Times. Both do not support the wokists. Others reported on the issue, with a few interviews but no opinion.

All I can say is cowboy the f**k up wokists. Put your big girl and big boy pants on. If you are not Irish, you have no business sticking your St. Paddy’s Day drunken nose into this. If the Irish were offended, you would know it. By the way, Chicago and other areas Irish are the biggest fan base of the “Fighting Irish. Case f**king closed.

*Mouse is Chicagoese for a black eye.

Stop Talking and Do Something

Image: PV Bella

When I was a young boy, we played cops and robbers. We chased each other through the neighborhood, shooting toy guns, sometimes cap guns. I still remember the smell of the smoke from paper caps.

Today, in Chicago, people play with real guns. They run around neighborhoods spraying bullets. The violence in Chicago is out of control. Every neighborhood is affected by it. Nowhere is safe.

Chicago is like the mythical wild west. You could be run down by a fleeing felon or randomly shot and killed. It does not matter where you live. Supposed quiet neighborhoods like mine are turning into shooting galleries.

Giddings Plaza is a pleasant place to hang out, sit, think, and work. You occasionally meet interesting people. The plaza has park benches and chairs that one of the regulars found and brought there. People sit with laptops or dine out at the two restaurants on each side. Some bring food from other places to eat. Parents bring their small children to run around, climb the decorative German light pole, or draw with sidewalk chalk. Musicians and other entertainers put on shows.

I usually go there daily, weather permitting. It is my outdoor office. As I walked there yesterday, I heard a news report about traffic being backed up just north of the plaza due to police activity. 

I arrived at the plaza and saw yellow and red crime scene tape. Red tape is used for serious incidents, especially crimes of violence. There was a car that crashed into the corner of a building at the crime scene.

I initially found out that the car was used in a shooting, and two alleged offenders fled. One ran through a restaurant where several police officers were eating. They chased him down the street, capturing him. The other alleged offender ran in a different direction and got away.

I later found out that the shooting was about a half-mile away. The car, a Porsche SUV, was involved. They were fleeing, lost control of the car, and crashed. A vehicle matching that description was involved in several recent shots fired calls in the area.

Guns and drugs were found in the vehicle, and charges are pending against the one arrestee. The details of the incident were not clear. Two versions were and still are being given. One, a FedEx driver, was shot and wounded. The other, a motorist, was shot and wounded in the arm. The victim went to a local hospital for treatment.

This could have turned into a tragedy. Small children play in the plaza as well as people like me, who hang out there. The driver of that car could have struck any of us when he lost control. Like many other places in Chicago this summer, it could have turned into a mass shooting.

I watched things play out, as I did for almost thirty years on the Chicago Police Department. The detectives showed up, canvassing the area. Forensics processed the car. After a while, things returned to normal. Except, in this summer of rampant citywide violence, there is no normal.

There is no safe place in Chicago. Not even a pleasant plaza in what is described as a quiet neighborhood. Anyone can be a victim. There were several recent calls of shots fired in the general area over the past week or so. Three people were shot in the area this year.

The mayor claims the violence is a public health issue, a term local and national politicians use when they have no answers. Others claim the root causes of crime, poverty, gangs, drugs, and guns are the issue. No more. The weasel words must stop. This is a political and tactical problem. The problem lands squarely on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s and Superintendent David Brown’s desk. They must stop talking and do something.

It was fortunate the alleged offender did not hit or run over people in the plaza. It was pure luck he was not some wild-eyed shooter, spraying bullets as he tried to run away. How long can fortune and luck hold out in this summer of violence, bloodshed, and death?

COVID is Not a War

Image: PV Bella

“Therefore, I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. … (Martin Luther/1527 treatise)

Martin Luther wrote the above almost 500 years ago during an outbreak of bubonic plague. There was no germ theory, pharmaceutical research, or vaccines. Medical practices were primitive by today’s standards. Yet, Luther knew to take precautions to protect himself and others.

America loves winners. Sometimes we love losers. We love to fight and turn everything into a fight or a war on whatever. Americans love fear-mongering and trust fear-mongering politicians and “journalists.”

We have been “fighting” the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year and a half. The news media uses terms like fighting, war, beating, or battling. So do our unlovable elected officials.

The pandemic wreaked political, economic, emotional, and physical havoc throughout the country. People suffered and are still suffering from the aftereffects of COVID. People mourned the deaths of their loved ones. Commerce and industry, especially small businesses, suffered. All of us made sacrifices to win this “war.”

Now, medical experts, including Dr. Fauci, are claiming there may be no end in sight. The War on COVID may be a perpetual war for at least another year. Economists are making dire predictions. Politicians are shaking in their boots. Their “jobs” are on the line, as they should be. We are wondering when it will be safe. When will it be normal?

Pandemics are not wars or battles. We do not fight them. There is no glory in the march to normalcy. No generals are sending military personnel off to die in glory. No medals are given to the frontline workers or troops, as some refer to them. There will be no grand parades, stump speeches, or memorial works of public art bestowed upon the “heroes.”

Pandemics are not political. They do not identify with political parties or ideologies. They are not economic. They are diseases. They run their own course. They mutate into variants. It is called nature or science. Even God, if you are a believer, can do nothing about them. Nature has been trying to kill us off since the Great Comedian put humans on this planet. Nature is His joke on us.

People need to get real. Almost five hundred years ago, people knew to protect themselves, taking common-sense precautions. They also knew they were responsible for caring for others. They did not rebel, refuse, protest, or try to overthrow their leaders.

It is past time for the politicians and news media to stop with the weasel words. The weak-kneed worriers should cowboy up instead of hoarding Depends™. We had enough panic generated from them and the news media. In plain simple English, what is needed now is calm assurance and truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Can the flowery speeches or fear-mongering written by public relations, political communications, and news media weasels.

We do not pick and choose who gets sick. The virus does. We can only pick and choose to take measures to protect ourselves and others. Wear masks, distance from others, avoid large public gatherings, get vaccinated. It really is just that simple.

TimeOut Chicago is the Idiots Guide to Nowhere

Image: PV Bella

“Don’t be a jagoff! Brush up on all of the essential Chicago lingo with our helpful dictionary.” (TimeOut Chicago)

Speaking of jagoffs, TimeOut Chicago should give the solo flyers who write for them a time out in dark corners with dunce hats. The “editors” put together a piece, “20 slang words that every Chicagoan should know.” Originally published in March 2020, they shared it on their Facebook page the other day.

It is pure garbage for the most part. I would grade it a D- and send the little jagoffs off to detention. 

If you want to learn anything about Chicago, do not read TimeOut Chicago or Chicago Magazine, for that matter. They are not the definitive go-to publications for anything Chicago. They really should remove Chicago from the mastheads and replace it with “The Idiot’s Guide to Nothing and Nowhere.”

Slang: n- a type of language that consists of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a particular context or group of people. Ex. Dope(s) is slang for TimeOut Chicago editors. 

Most of what they describe as local “lingo” or slang is not. A little research would dig up real Chicago slang. The little onanists probably used picture books, like the Kama Sutra, for research while coloring them with their boxes of crayolas. They got a little extra tingle when they sniffed the box. 

Bungalows are not single-story homes with slanted roofs. The bungalow is a specific architectural design that can be one or two stories. Bungalow roofs are not just slanted. They have different shapes, unlike the brains of the self-abusing TimeOut editors.

Chicago Mix® was a registered brand name of caramel corn, not a slang term.

Pedway has a formal definition. It is not slang. It is a generally accepted portmanteau. Pedways are over, or underground pedestrian walkways are found all over the world. Pedways are not only found in Chicago. They are not part of the local lingo, contrary to what the little wankers at TimeOut Chicago believe.

A coach house is not a small apartment located in the rear of a property. It is a small or large house, usually the original home, on the property. It is a f**kinhouse, not an apartment unless it is above a garage that used to be a barn or stable. The editors must have come up with this during a circle jerk.

Chicago handshake? I never heard of that drink. The Chicago handshake is a warm greeting a close friend or “associate” gives before he kills you, per the Mob’s orders. They have not killed anyone in a long time.

The El is called the L now and has been for over two years. Update your style manual.

Mild sauce is not slang. It is the name of a sauce. Geez, are soy, tomato, bearnaise, and pesto sauces are slang too?

Jagoff is not only a term of derision. It is also a friendly term, like when laughing with a pal, you say, “You really are a jagoff.” When discussing TimeOut Chicago, I always refer to them as those jagoffs.

Every time the wankers at TimeOut Chicago write something about Chicago, they get it wrong. The problem is their readership is made up of gullible people dumber than the editors. They believe the nonsense. Maybe the editors at TimeOut Chicago should spend less time under their blankets, humming, and more time doing real research.

If you really want. To learn Chicago lingo, here ya go.

Bubbaland Never Disappoints

CDC artist’s conception of COVID-19

“The US Food & Drug Administration tweeted on Saturday: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.” (CNN)

You have to love those precious quaint folks living in Bubbaland. Man, they find cures for every little dang thing. Sometimes, they root for herbs and medicinal plants like wild pigs. There is also moonshine, a cure-all for just about anything that ails you, even hangovers. They come up with concoctions, salves, poultices, and tonics for all types of human and animal ailments.

When all else fails, they turn to the preachers from those good ole home time religions, like the First Assembly Crystal Methodist Church. The preachers can sicken the healthy, make the ambulatory lame, the blind hear, the deaf see, and empty bank accounts faster than a slot machine at a casino. 

Due to their knowledge of animal husbandry, Bubbalanders also find veterinary pharmaceutical cures for human ailments. “Hell, if it’s good enuf fer Ole Bessie or Ole Plowboy, it must be good enuf fer us.”

In the realm of you can’t make this stuff up, those good ole flag-waving, God-fearing country folk in Mississippi, found a cure and preventative medicine for COVID-19, Ivermectin. Ivermectin is used to treat parasites in humans and livestock. The country folk scientists determined the Ivermectin dosage for livestock can cure or prevent COVID, kinda sorta better than that gummint approved vaccination. Ivermectin for livestock has a highly concentrated dosage which can cause minor to severe side effects in humans.

Human toxicity from such a high dosage includes nausea and vomiting, rash, abdominal pain, various other disorders, and hepatitis. Those vaccinations have side effects too, and micro-chips, along with turning your body into a magnet. Ivermectin does none of that.

The Mississippi Board of Health warns Bubbas and bubbettes against using Ivermectin for livestock to treat or prevent COVID-19. The FDA has not approved Ivermectin in either form for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. Do they know more than those country folk practitioners?

If the FDA is against using the drug, it must work. They are part of the foul swamp of gummint, in cheap motel beds with Big Pharma. Only drugs developed by Big Pharma are approved for prevention and cures. Ole homey type concoctions or approved veterinary pharmaceuticals must be harmful. Who trusts the gummint anyway? Why not give it a try, since most in Bubbaland are anti-mask and anti-vaccination? 

This is the same kind of “thinking” infecting many politicians representing or governing Bubbaland. Freedumb loving politicians like Ron DeSantis, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Josh Hawley, Matt Gaetz, Rand Paul, Lauren Boebert, Greg Abbot, to name a few. By Monday, one or more may demand investigative hearings to find out why the FDA and CDC refuse to approve livestock Ivermectin for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. If folks believe it works, it must work. You know, science and all that. Case closed.

It is sad when the FDA has to remind humans, they are not farm animals and do it with Southern charm, so they comprehend it. Maybe these quaint people and their politicians should watch the most educational video ever made in ‘Merica. They might learn an essential intellectual lesson.

Disclaimer: I know it is not woke to make fun of or stereotype our Southern and Southwestern country folk. But, when they and their elected officials come up with asinine solutions to serious issues, they stereotype themselves. I make no apologies. 

Let Freedumb Ring

Image: PV Bella

“Freedumb: A totally nonsensical and asinine belief (of many Americans) that freedom means you can literally do anything you want, including violating other peoples’ rights. I have the freedumb to give you a disease!”  (Urban Dictionary)

One must admire those flag-waving, freedumb loving, Nazi-hating patriots who want to visit Chicago from someplace else. They want the freedumb to refuse to wear masks, get vaccinated, or provide vaccination documents when requested.  

Today is Mask Day in Chicago, again. Due to increasing daily rates of COVID in Chicago, masking is mandated again at all indoor public places. There were warnings by various government health officials and researchers that COVID was not going away soon.

The causes for the increased spread in Chicago are attributed to people refusing to get vaccinated, especially in specific zip codes where the virus is rampant. We need to stop the spread and drive down the numbers so we can return to normal. The only way to stop the spread now is to wear masks and get vaccinated.

There is still stubborn resistance to masking and vaccinations from many people in some freedumb loving suburbs. The problem is suburbanites travel to Chicago for work, shopping, and entertainment. Chicagoans travel to the suburbs for the same reasons. Those suburban malls have Sirens that enchant and lure them in. These migrations can cause further spread of COVID.

I do not understand this freedumb resistance. What will it take to convince people that prevention and vaccination is the only way we can all stay safe?

We are not only responsible for ourselves. We are responsible for each other. Wearing a mask is only an inconvenience. Mandates are not a violation of civil rights. They do not inhibit your freedumb. They are common-sense prevention.

Stop wrapping yourself in the flag- which is unpatriotic- and start wearing the damn mask. Just think of it as Halloween every day. Make it fun, though trick or treating may not be advised. Please do not get too childish and play cops and robbers.

Freedumb has a long history. Illinois freedumb fighters fought seatbelt, motorcycle helmets, and TSA mandates, along with a host of other directives, laws, or advice to keep people safe. Look how many people refuse to heed safety advice to wear helmets while riding bicycles because of freedumb.

I do understand freedom and absolute rights. You are free and have the absolute right to get sick, suffer horribly, and die. I would never inhibit anyone’s freedumb from suffering and dying. I am a good, patriotic American. However, you do not have the absolute right to spread diseases like street hookers spread STDs. You do not have the absolute right to cause others to suffer and die. 

If you want to suffer and die, be my guest. In your case, thinning the herd is herd immunity. Just do not try to take me with you. I am reverting to my STAY THE F**K AWAY FROM ME mandate to any unmasked or persons whose vaccination status is unknown. I do not care about tender, sensitive feelings or the feelings of anyone around, including the ears of nearby children.

I choose to be free. Free from disease, ignorance, and utter stupidity. You can have your freedumb to suffer and die. Just STAY THE F**K away from me. 

We Are A Family

Here I am, Lord
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go, Lord
If You lead me
I will hold Your people in my heart
(Dan Shulte)

I watched my “granddaughter” laid to rest today. Officer Ella French was not my biological granddaughter. The Chicago Police Department is a family. Their members are our brothers and sisters from other mothers. The retirees are the parents and grandparents. I am old enough to be slain Officer Ella French’s grandfather.

I watched the clergy walk to the altar and police officers solemnly fill the chapel at St. Rita Cascia High School. The ritual played out, as it tragically has in the past.

There will be more rituals in the weeks and months to come. Officer French’s star will be retired and placed in the memorial case at Chicago Police Headquarters. Her name will be enshrined on the Chicago Police Memorial Wall.

Later today and tomorrow, the family of the Chicago Police Department will return to the streets. They will do the job no one else wants to do, see things no one else wants to see, and experience things no one else wants to experience. They will do their jobs, serving and protecting the citizens of Chicago. It is a thankless job. They never ask for gratitude.

Like their brethren on the Chicago Fire Department, they will risk life and limb to protect the people of this city and each other. When they leave their homes, families will worry until they walk back in the door. This plays out 24/7/365. Families pray they never receive the phone call and doorbell ring, with somber-faced bosses and a police chaplain telling them their loved one was injured, or worse, killed, enrolling them in a club no one wants to join.

Carlos Yanez, Officer French’s partner, is lying in a hospital bed with catastrophic injuries from being shot with her on that fateful day. His road to recovery will be long and hard. He, too, will not be forgotten. We take care of our people. That is what families do.

Officer Joshua Blas, the third officer working with French and Yanez, is rarely mentioned. He also was a hero that fateful night. He will have emotional wounds. Those may heal over time. But he will never forget.

It is the familial bonds that hold police and fire personnel together. Cops, firefighters, and paramedics only have each other to rely on. We would walk through the fiery gates of hell wearing the proverbial gasoline-soaked coats to help each other.

“We never forget.” We will remember Officer Ella French. We remember the over 500 police officers whose lives were taken. We remember the over 570 firefighters and paramedics killed in the line of duty.

We grieve and mourn, but life goes on. Our police and fire families go on. There is “the job” to do. They will do it. We will be there for them, our brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, parents, and grandchildren. They are our family, if not by blood, by bonds. Those bonds hold us together and make us face realities no one else wants to face.

Chicago’s Humanitarian Crisis

Underground Wacker near the Chicago River/Image: PV Bella

The news blew up this week with the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan. Video and photos of thousands of people rushing to the airport in hopes of getting out. People were climbing on taxiing Air Force jets, hoping against hope. Purported pictures of people falling to their deaths from planes after take-off.

Journalists consulted their assignment editor, Twitter, for the latest news or videos coming out of Afghanistan.

This is the latest media barrage of humanitarian crises from someplace else. Before this, it was the tragic earthquake in Haiti. Hurricanes, cyclones, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, wildfires that create humanitarian crises dominate the news with tragedy, death, and destruction. There is a never-ending humanitarian crisis at the Mexican border and immigrants risking their lives to get into other countries.

On and on, we are assaulted by these crises. People weep, start crowdfunding, try to find a way, any way, to help, even if it is only posting their drivel on social media- “Pray for whatever or wherever,” with images of candles, crosses, or Jesus. They forget Jesus and his Father went on vacation eons ago. They are enjoying themselves watching the lunatic asylum they created.

There is a citywide humanitarian crisis in the Chicago wasteland of blind ignorance. The homeless problem in Chicago is exponentially growing and has been for several years. There are large encampments throughout the city. One or two tents are dotting some of the smaller parks and other public spaces.

The larger encampments form their own communities. The residents make rules so they can live together in some semblance of safety and harmony. Occasionally, the city uses the police to assist Streets and Sanitation in cleaning these areas. Sometimes there are struggles as the homeless try to save what little they have before the pressure washers start their tasks.

The homeless are treated like urban blight by the politicians and citizens in this city.

Every day is a struggle. The local news media ignores them, for the most part. Their agenda is to follow the national bleeding headlines and run with them. They toss around phrases like systemic this or that, national reckoning on something or other, the root causes of God knows what, or whatever phrase they can gin up with to go viral nationwide. It is all about ratings and clickbait.

Once in a great while, they will do a story on the plight of the homeless. They will drag out their experts with no expertise to explain the situation and possible solutions. There will be photos or B-rolls of encampments. Maybe even an interview or two, edited for time and clarity.

The homeless problem is nothing new in Chicago. The enormity of the issue is. This city struggles with solutions to mitigate homelessness, as it grows, with failure after failure. The only time politicians and bureaucrats show empathy is when their mugs are in front of news cameras. They would prefer the homeless disappear, living someplace else.

Politicians love to show up at public relations stunts with hard hats and shovels, touting the latest real estate development. Some laud developers who build low-income or transit-oriented housing. None show up at homeless camps or encourage developers to create some form of accommodation, partnering with public and non-profit social service agencies.

There are many organizations and individuals trying to help, feeding, providing clothing, medical and dental care, and some social services. It is never enough. They range from major organizations like the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities to individuals who cook and distribute meals.

Winter is the worst time of year for homeless people. Chicago winters are brutal. There are not enough shelters. Most only allow overnight stays. Some city warming centers get overcrowded, especially police stations, libraries, and other facilities.

We are more concerned with crises in other places while ignoring what is before our eyes. Seeking the causes of homelessness are as elusive as seeking the causes of violent crime in Chicago. No one, even so-called experts, has answers or solutions.

We tend to blame the homeless for their situation. They are mentally ill, refusing to get help, or made bad life choices. Whatever the reasons, they are still human.

The homeless are a marginalized population. They are not public relations marginalized like other groups. There is no homeless flag to fly from government buildings proudly, no Homeless Lives Matter groups or signs, and no mass social justice protests to change their plight. Maybe someone could sell lawn signs to post all over the city, “Homelessness Has No Home Here.”

Elected officials offer no hope, some way off the streets and out of the tents, some way to transition people into a residence. We pick and choose what to care about, weep over, provide assistance, or give “aid”. It is rare for people in our city. We care more about people from some place else.

No one chooses to be homeless. We choose to ignore them.