Who Feels Safe in Chicago?

By John Kass

September 16, 2022

Do you feel safe in Chicago?

The great city by the lake was once famed for its toughness and unbreakable will. But now it curls up into the fetal position as uncontrolled violent crime and legitimate concerns over the Democrat Safe-T Act–which will do away with cash bail on Jan. 1–bleed the city dry.

Democratic political leaders are on the defensive before the mid-term elections. Some like Gov. J.B. Pritzker have been reduced to babbling. Others like Mayor Lori Lightfoot go into hiding. More than a dozen city council members have resigned. They look to the chaos from the mayor’s office and begin turning away.

The bleeding continued Thursday with news that seven children had been shot in the street gang wars in separate incidents, including a 3-year-old shot at home while sleeping. Oh, and anti-violence activists were listed among the wounded at yet another Chicago mass shooting.

CWB Chicago reported that police warned about yet a third armed robbery crew working the city from the West Loop to Edgewater.

But don’t fret, Lightfoot has made sure that no repeat criminals—including violent muggers, robbers, shooters or murderers–will have to risk being hurt in a police chase.

And there had been no arrests in that infamous Sunday afternoon street mugging in the leafy Lakeview neighborhood, where a woman walking alone was attacked, pulled to the ground by thugs and robbed. The poor woman’s piercing screams were caught on a doorbell security camera. And those screams have cut deeply into Illinois politics and focused the people on the Democrat criminal justice centerpiece—the Safe-T Act signed and applauded by Gov. Pritzker.

And to all this comes Chris Kempczinski, the CEO of McDonald’s Corp. who spoke at the Economic Club of Chicago luncheon and calmly delivered a series of body blows to Mayor Lightfoot’s reelection campaign:

The issue? Crime and her inability to handle it. Crime is up almost 40 percent in Chicago, though murder numbers have dropped slightly. Kempeczinski told his audience that violent crime makes it difficult to attract employees to Chicago.

“Everywhere I go, I’m confronted by the same question. ‘What’s going on in Chicago?” Kempczinski said. “There is a general sense out there that our city is in crisis.”

A spokesman for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot had no immediate comment when contacted by the Wall Street Journal.

No immediate comment Lori? What? Are you ill? That’s the Wall Street Journal calling, Madame Phallus Maximus. Business types read the Journal. For them to see Lightfoot in hiding invites negative judgement on her ability to handle the truth.

But most still in Chicago have already made that judgement about her. We made it years ago, when she turned the city over twice to Black Lives Matter rioters and looters, and then endorsed the Soros prosecutor, Kim Foxx for re-election as Cook County State’s Attorney which was seen as an olive branch to BLM and other hard-left political actors.

After Lightfoot endorsed Foxx and Foxx was re-elected–after the Jussie Smollett fiasco, after having gutted her office of hard minded prosecutors, I asked a longtime Democrat about it. He was a contemporary of the real original Mayor Daley, and I asked: By re-electing Foxx, what was the message the Cook County Democratic Party was sending?.

“The message?” he said. “The message is get the (bleep) out.”

Several large companies, including Citadel have left Chicago citing crime as a reason.

Foxx is the protégé of Lightfoot’s rival, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party. Boss Toni is credited with shrinking the size of the Cook County Jail and protecting Foxx.

Lightfoot had been going around town whispering that she regrets endorsing Foxx, but it was another example of her inability to lead. Yes, it was bad policy, since the mayor was still pretending she wanted a working relationship with her police rank-and-file that loathes Foxx.

But it was also bad politics, the mark of an amateur who put her city’s safety at risk. The rookie mayor sent an unmistakable signal to her allies that she was willing to bend the knee to Boss Toni. The public picked up on it. And now she has few if any allies left.

Pritzker is also on the defensive on crime. He pushed the controversial Safe-T Act that does away with cash bail at the behest of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus and other leftists. Final debate in the Illinois House took place in the wee hours of the morning and legislators still hadn’t read the bill–I suppose not all have read it–though many knew police and prosecutors were adamantly opposed.

The Safe-T Act was seen as Pritzker’s political gift from Illinois Democrats to the BLM rioters and other anti-law-enforcement political groups. A peace offering. His miscalculation? Of the 102 state’s attorneys in Illinois each representing a county, only two prosecutors support the Safe-T Act.

One hundred Illinois county prosecutors consider Pritzker’s Safe-T Act to be dangerous to the public.

And, before you allow partisan politics to get in the way of your analysis, remember that most victims of violent crime are black and Latino.

The other day  Pritzker babbled on defensively as he often does in defending his Safe-T Act. He clumsily plays the race card to portray critics of the act as racists. The other day he tried a new cringeworthy tactic, this time trying to compare no cash bail for violent offenders with the plight of some poor woman jailed because she was in desperate need of diapers for her child.

Pritzker said he and others are ““making sure that we’re also addressing the problem of a single mother who shoplifted diapers for her baby, who is put in jail and kept there for six months because she doesn’t have a couple of hundred dollars to pay for bail,” Pritzker said. “So that’s what the Safe-T Act is about. Are there changes, adjustments that need to be? Of course, and there have been adjustments made and there will continue to be. Laws are not immutable.”

Diapers? Diapers, Gov. Commodius Maximus? Jean Valjean was said to have stolen a loaf of bread to feed his family. But the French didn’t have welfare or other government assistance. And welfare forms the bond between the Democrat Party and its minority partisans..

Reporters just went along with him as they usually do, just like they go along with Lightfoot when she shrieks like the red queen of hearts from Alice-in-Wonderland.

No one apparently bothered to ask Pritzker to produce the mother in his fantasy, the one who’d been kept in jail “for six months” for a $200 diaper “bill,” especially since Soros prosecutor Kim Foxx won’t prosecute shoplifting under a thousand dollars.

And I don’t think anyone asked him to explain, in detail, about the changes that must be made to the no-bail provision he eagerly, and excitedly, signed into law.

Pritzker and Lightfoot don’t really do much to address crime because the media already has their backs. They make pleasant urgent sounds about wanting to combat the rise in violent crime, but doing so would involve pushing for more arrests of violent criminals. And that would cost their politics since most violent offenders are black and brown, committing violence against black and brown, and it’s much easier to blame it all on “systemic racism.”

So they make their urgent sounds, and they’re excused by rapidly fading left leaning corporate media, which has little if any credibility. Especially the newspapers. When media is in concert carrying your political water and defending your policies, the pressure is off.

I know. I spent decades in the corporate media in Chicago that pretends it speaks truth to power, as long as the power isn’t of the left. Some are nice people who try to do a fair job,  but many are weak and afraid of others who may be more radical than they.

It’s much easier for them to be political operatives masquerading as journalists. These are one-eyed jacks, and I’ve seen the other side of their face.

But who wants to ask impolite questions about elected officials actually doing something to deal with violent crime? Who wants to demand they do something? Demanding that something get done is risky, like asking voters to listen to that woman scream from Lakeview. People might get upset. Their Twitter followers might call your editor or executive producer

And many Democrats did become upset, demanding that some TV stations stop airing that TV spot known as “the scream” that vexes them so.

In Chicago and the rest of Illinois, the political formula has worked for decades. As long as they’re backed by media,  And no one gets upset, except perhaps those victims of violent crime who are ignored, and those who are are concerned that they or their loved ones may become victims. They are dismissed and/or marginalized as racists.

The political class hasn’t been compelled to care about these victims. And as long as the politicians are not held to account on the Safe-T Act and other broken policy nothing really changes.

Have you ever heard this saying?  The beatings will continue until morale improves. No one seems to know who said this.

But whoever it was, they understood Illinois and that city by the lake.


(Copyright 2022 John Kass)

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