By Steve Huntley
November 2, 2022
How does crime maim a great city like Chicago? Let us count the ways.
For starters, regular visits to the excellent news website cwbchicago.com reveal a comprehensive, if depressing, chronicle of murders, robberies, assaults, carjackings, drag races on city streets and other crimes exacting a terrible toll on the city that used to work. And all too frequently, accounts of children cut down by stray bullets sprayed by punk gunslingers.
Or track the numbers, as the Sun-Times does with murders. It counts 578 people killed in Chicago so far in 2022. That rate is down a bit from the last two years but still way ahead of the toll before the Antifa/Black Lives Matter riots blighted American city centers with looting, arson, assault, an explosion of crime and the defund the police movement crippling law enforcement across the land.
Or there’s the regular Monday adding up of the previous weekend’s mayhem and havoc. The most recent weekend tally — 35 people shot, five of them fatally, according to ABC-Chicago.
Or there’s the outbreak of fear-inducing crime in neighborhoods once deemed safe, like Chicago’s affluent Lakeview neighborhood in the shadow of world-famous Wrigley Field
There were five separate armed robber/abduction/kidnappings reported there recently over a couple of days.
Or there’s the soon-to-be unleashed wave of criminals returning to the streets under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s bill to eliminate cash bail, a measure opposed by virtually every state’s attorney in Illinois — except of course the criminal-coddling Cook County alleged prosecutor Kim Foxx.
Or, speaking of far-left extremist George Soros’ favorite Chicagoan, a CWB Chicago analysis shows that on Foxx’s watch, the average sentence for carjackings is 9.4 years, down from 12.4 years in the seven years before she became Cook County state’s attorney.
On and on it goes, the ways to count Chicago’s misery from crime.
It is a portrait of a city gone mad in its acceptance of crime.
More difficult to count in numbers is the anti-cop attitude of the ruling culture.
An example: The city’s civilian police oversight board wants to fire a police officer who killed a gun-carrying 13-year-old youth last year. The cop’s offense was that he was chasing the teenager and the shooting came as the youth dropped his gun — the kind of tragedy that can come from the high-pressure, ultra-stressful confrontations that force split-second decisions on police officers.
Think of that for a minute. The problem is not a teenager running around in the middle of the night with a dangerous weapon. Nothing bad could come from that, right? No, the problem is the cop trying to do something about it by pursuing him.
In a previous column I wrote about the anti-cop, criminal-coddling left-wing culture using Orwellian manipulation of language to undermine the rule of law.
In his classic novel “1984”, George Orwell described the use of “Newspeak” to twist language and the meaning of words so that the story’s dictatorship could control the way the population thinks about their society.
Now we see 1984 in 2022. Law-breaking vagrants are rebranded as the homeless, an innocent sounding word. But it masks the wave of the mentally ill and drug addicts turning city streets into open air drug dens and markets, tent slums, bathrooms without walls and lawless zones.
Or illegal aliens, foreigners whose first encounter with our country is to break the law, are relabeled migrants or the undocumented. These innocuous sounding terms are meant to avert our gaze from the lawlessness of our open borders.
Most perversely, arresting and jailing criminals was demonized as “mass incarceration.”
Since then, the Orwellian redefinition of crimes has reached a new level with the imprisoning of criminals redefined as slavery.
The complaint is that prisoners, people who’ve committed crimes so serious that society deems they should be locked up, are forced to work for little or no pay.
According to the New York Times, “Voters in five U.S. states (mostly in the South) where slavery or involuntary servitude remains legal as a punishment for people who are convicted of crimes will vote next month on whether to ban the practices outright.”
The Times cites a former prisoner in Louisiana complaining about working “long, hot days doing farm work” for 2 cents an hour. The article doesn’t say why this individual was in prison, though it says he served 26 years. Hmmm, I’m guessing he wasn’t one of those poor souls liberated recently by President Biden from prison for marijuana possession.
Also chiming in on this was CNN. It claimed that the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery included one exception. That amendment reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
To anyone with at least fifth grade reading skills, that amendment clearly refers to involuntary servitude as acceptable punishment for criminals, it doesn’t not in any way authorize a return to slavery.
The inhabitants of the big house aren’t enslaved, they are in prison and forced to do the work required there because of their own crimes.
Actually, I’ll outrage liberals by saying they in effect volunteered for hard labor at little or no pay when they broke the law.
This is where we are today. Orwellian language perverts society’s thinking about crime. Jailing violent criminals is mass incarceration and slavery. The problem is not crime but the police response to it. Prosecutors who see their job as not putting criminals in jail but putting them back out on the streets to menace law-abiding citizens.
So long as these attitudes prevail among our cultural and governing elites, the hopes and prayers of average Chicagoans for an end to the crime wave will fall on deaf ears.
The only answer is throwing the crime-coddling bums out.
What are the chances of that?
It’s not an encouraging record that Foxx already has been reelected once.
The prospects for change in November don’t look good with the Democrat Party’s iron-grip on Illinois thanks to the tribal-identity of so many voters in metropolitan Chicago to the political party responsible for the city’s misery.
It doesn’t help that Pritzker funneled millions in advertising in the Republican primary to help nominate the candidate he deemed easiest to beat as he runs for reelection. That’s something Democrats also did in four other states.
Let’s see, Pritzker and other Democrats do a Russian inference-like attack on GOP primaries in five states but claim it’s Republicans who are a threat to democracy. Only someone with Joe Biden’s mental capabilities could buy that.
The best hope for crime-weary Chicagoans comes in a mayoral primary in February. Lori Lightfoot has presided over Chicago’s descent into hell, sang karaoke as the city burned, and failed utterly in not standing up for the men and women of the Chicago Police Department who work for her on the front lines against the worst of our society. And oh, she’s just demanded a pay raise for her hard work in bringing the city to its knees. Or maybe it’s a karaoke bonus.
The field of candidates who want to end her reign as Chicago’s worst mayor is crowded and still growing. But she has identified the principal threat to her reelection — former Chicago schools chief executive officer Paul Vallas.
His campaign chest is approaching $2 million but more important than cash is his record of commitment to the city, his can-do spirit and his comprehensive plan to rebuild the city’s police force and tame the crime pandemic.
Lightfoot can’t confront him on the issues of crime and the city’s failing schools. So, she has resorted to the tried and true appeal to tribal politics.
She attacks Vallas as a closet Republican. Her message to voters: Don’t pay attention to your lying eyes about the mayhem and anarchy all around you, remember you are a Democrat and that fellow Vallas is a you-know-what.
It will be up to the voters of Chicago to decide what’s more important to them and their families — their tribal political allegiance or an end to the madness menacing their city and their lives.
About the author:
Steve Huntley, a retired Chicago journalist now living in Austin, Texas.
For almost three decades Huntley his long and distinguished journalism career in Chicago journalism at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he was a feature writer, metro reporter, night city editor, metropolitan editor, editorial page editor and a columnist for the opinion pages and editor of the Sun- Times Editorial Page.
He has contributed several fine pieces to johnkassnews.com, from his examination of Chicago’s secret political jail housing Christopher Columbus and other politically problematic statues, to Americans suffering from Joe Biden Gas Pain, and “Orwellian Warning: Newspeak, Public Safety and Chicago’s Rising Violent Crime.”
Previous to his work at the Sun-Times, Huntley was a reporter and editor with United Press International (UPI) in the South and Chicago, and Chicago bureau chief, and a senior editor in Washington with U.S. News & World Report.
Huntley is also author of an award-winning book, “Knocking Down Barriers: My Fight for Black America, by Truman K. Gibson Jr. with Steve Huntley, a memoir of a Chicagoan who was a member of President Roosevelt’s World War II Black Cabinet working to desegregate the military.
It is an honor and privilege to have Mr. Huntley, who spent decades in the news business in Chicago, writing here.