By John Kass
May 18, 2022
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal the other day explained what is happening to the once-great city of Chicago:
“The shooting in Buffalo on Saturday has horrified Americans, but it was massacre as usual in Chicago this weekend and few outside the Windy City noticed.”
There were more than 30 shot and several killed in all the city’s neighborhoods. It was violent last weekend and the weekend before.
But the violence wasn’t confined to the South and West Sides where it had been kept for years. Now it spreads into Chicago’s downtown, the commercial heart of the city, and the North Side, where tourists and people with money used to play.
One recent murder took place at the sculpture Chicago calls “the Bean.” It was once place where tourists, families, friends and dates would meet, downtown on magnificent Michigan Avenue. “The Bean” is now a staging ground for the street gangs.
“The Bean” is the place where they fire guns into crowds, where people are shot down. It was once a source of civic pride. No longer. No one with sense goes near “The Bean” at night.
Is this how a great city begins to die?
Why didn’t those outside Chicago want to pay much attention to another weekend of massacres in the city by the lake?
Because the politics just aren’t right. The Democrats and their media allies don’t see an advantage in re-examining the furies they helped unleash just two years ago in Chicago with the George Floyd riots, and once unleashed to fuel their own politics, the lawlessness really hasn’t stopped.
Now the national media is busy elsewhere, riveted on Buffalo, because a white madman with a gun has killed innocent black people there. President Joe Biden swooped into Buffalo on Wednesday to leverage the dead, to forge them as weapons against Republicans.
Much of corporate media and Biden and his Democrats weren’t all that interested in the Waukesha Christmas Massacre, when a black madman drove an SUV into a Christmas parade and killed whites there. But those deaths weren’t as easily folded into Democratic Party politics. And there is no advantage for Democrats to remind voters of left wing local prosecutors. Chicago is ground zero for these Soros backed prosecutors.
Chicago understands this game. The people of the city are realistic. They’ve seen the cynicism played out for years. Race is the baby formula of Chicago politicians when they’re born unto this city of tribes.
The other day on The Chicago Way podcast, the writer Heather Mac Donald, author of “The War on Cops” was our guest. I’ve linked to the podcast. I do hope hope you’ll listen to her entire interview. She’s clear headed about crime and the politics of crime policy, and the costs.
Mac Donald is fearlessly brilliant.
“People don’t want to put up with the violence,” Mac Donald said. “People who can move, will, because you don’t have to put up with this anarchy,” she said.
But she does offer a solution to Chicago and other towns.
“We know how to fix this,” she says. “You enforce the law. It will work.”
But that poses a problem for the Democrats. They don’t really want to enforce the law, because they don’t want to arrest minorities. Black and brown young men are disproportionately the victims of murder, and Mac Donald rightly points this out as a civil rights issue. And minorities are subject to the worst of government (public) schools, and this too is a civil rights issue.
But they also disproportionally commit most of the violent crime. And that’s a political problem for a party that seeks votes by demonizing the police to distract from what Democrats have done on the ground.
“You say you’re not going to enforce the law?” Mac Donald asks. “You let the furies out of hell, and they take over. They know they can engage in violence and anarchy, they have the thrill of destruction, of predation, of sadism and get away with it. When you declare that it’s racist to enforce the law, what happens? You’re going to have more crime.”
Unleashing the furies is not a growth strategy for Chicago. You’ve seen the videos. So has she.
If the Journal is correct and few outside Chicago bothered to notice the weekend violence here, the people of Chicago certainly noticed.
The downtown merchants and restauranteurs who watched the backs of the tourists running away forever noticed. Tourists won’t rush back any time soon to spend money. National Convention bookers noticed as cops lined up downtown to protect downtown theater patrons from the mobs.
The people of the near north side noticed when other mobs took over North Avenue Beach and surrounding neighborhoods. Mayor Lori Lightfoot had ample warning and time enough to deal with the flash mob descending on North Avenue, but as I reported days ago, the mayor was preoccupied with telling her police commanders to push out tweets of “positive community interactions.” Mention PCIs to a cop and they’ll snicker.
And certainly, Chicago’s political class of donors and oily insiders noticed, locked up as they were indoors along the Gold Coast, in other wealthy neighborhoods with their private security guards outside. All they want is a mayor they can buy, a mayor who can’t read budgets, a mayor who can’t manage a city. What they want above all is control.
And if they can’t buy a compliant mayor, they’ll just let the city go to hell under Lightfoot, and her successors. They might return later and buy what’s left of the city on the cheap, by the pound.
What of the people? Those members of the middle class, and of low-income groups who abide the law and who can’t afford to isolate and insulate? They’ll be gone.
Lightfoot noticed the massacre in Chicago, though she spent her time in Texas, fundraising and tweeting up a storm before returning to issue a curfew. How will she enforce her curfew? The Chicago Police Department is down at least 2,000 cops, and recruiting new officers is all but impossible. There aren’t enough police to man the squad cars in the districts.
They know City Hall doesn’t have their backs. And the Democrat Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, endorsed for re-election by Lightfoot is fixated upon the myth of “mass incarceration.” It is a lie, a news narrative written by the woke, but what does she care? What’s the incentive for Foxx to help carve out order from chaos?
There is none.
Chicago began unravelling, quickly, two years ago when Democrats first unleashed the furies upon the city. They wanted to get rid of former President Donald Trump and excite the Democratic vote, and when George Floyd, a black man was killed by a white cop in Minneapolis, they had their political weapon:
With Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Washington wearing Kente cloth and kneeling for photographs, the Democrats formalized their partnership with Black Lives Matter. Corporations dug deep, to funnel their shareholders’ money into BLM affiliates.
The BLM protests became the BLM riots, with looting and burning, loss of property and businesses. Lightfoot, who had already demonized her police department and had lost the rank-and-file, lost command control during the riots and lost downtown. Early on, she didn’t want the National Guard called in. And Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker wasn’t all that enthused about the guard, either.
So the Chicago Democrats used the rage of the BLM riots to leverage their politics. They unleashed the furies upon Chicago to serve their own power interests.
The Democratic left that runs Chicago now has formed a new machine. The old Democratic machine was of the center right and relied on patronage muscle in the precincts. The new Democratic machine is of the hard progressive left and relies on some public worker unions for muscle–the Chicago Teacher’s Union and Service Employees International Union–and the woke corporate media to carry their discredited myths about “mass incarceration” and “racist police.”
The cops don’t do much proactive policing anymore. They know that if they make a mistake, Chicago politicians, including the mayor, will throw them under the bus. Now Chicago police have had their vacations cancelled. They’re demoralized, exhausted, running on fumes, and mental fatigue and stress leads to more mistakes.
The people feel they can’t say much about the mobs downtown, with most of the mob being black youths, for fear of being branded as racists. So they keep their mouths shut and avoid downtown. The newspaper editorial boards wring their hands.
Ultimately, the people vote with their feet, whether or not the national media pays much attention to the constant violence of Chicago.
The people, black, white and brown, won’t hold news conferences to say they’ve given up.
And one day, they’re just gone.
(Copyright 2022 John Kass)