Focus needs to return to crime not politics in Chicago

Focus needs to return to crime not politics in Chicago
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Focus needs to return to crime not politics in Chicago

How can you fight street gang violence that is killing hundreds of innocent people in Chicago neighborhoods if the focus remains on politics instead on finding a solution to the crime? That’s the problem Chicago faces as politics envelopes everything from the appointment to a Police Chief to national politics and President Trump. Mayor Lori Lightfoot needs to get her act together. Four years goes by fast and she will run out of time to implement the promises she made to fight crime that so far she has failed to do

By Ray Hanania

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot named former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck as the interim Police Superintendent, following the curious “retirement” of Chief Eddie Johnson.

The change came pretty quick, so I guess no one is going to waste any time investigating whether or not Johnson got preferential treatment when he was found slumped unconscious in his vehicle Oct. 17. Although Johnson refused a breathalyzer test, first responders to the scene, accompanied by other Chicago police officers (Johnson’s subordinates), said he wasn’t drinking.

Of course, we know that to be a lie because he later admitted to Mayor Lightfoot that he had “a couple of drinks.” I know a lot of cops. The stress they endure, especially in Chicago, makes the idea of only having only “a couple of drinks” pretty unbelievable.

Police car, this one from Chicago. Photo courtesy WIkipedia

Police car, this one from Chicago. Photo courtesy WIkipedia

Nobody cares about all that anymore, that maybe there was a top brass coverup to avoid a scandal and save a guy’s career. Johnson does have a big pension coming. All this coming after Johnson, not shy about injecting politics into his job when it suits his career, refused to attend the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) because President Trump was the keynote speaker.

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But the best way to take the spotlight off of all that mess – not to mention the horrible state of affairs of Chicago when it comes to crime – is to create a new controversy, I guess.

Politicians must think the public is fickle, or even worse, stupid.

A group of Black Activists championing the “Black Lives Matter” hashtag, vowed to step up protests in Chicago accusing Beck of reigning over a race-driven assault on African Americans when he was police chief in Los Angeles.

Let me pause as I type all this and ask: Does anyone care about the real priority here that innocent people, many of them Black, Hispanic and White, too, are being killed every weekend on Chicago’s streets?

Does anyone care that street gang thugs control some Chicago neighborhoods. Or that many people in those communities are afraid to speak out against the street gang leaders, who some know but just won’t help police fearing they can’t be protected, or they don’t care?

A little girl trick-or-treating in a Lady Bug costume in Little Village is only now recovering from being shot near 26th and Lawndale when men chasing another man fired at him. A stray bullet struck the seven year old girl and police later announced the arrest of a 15 year old suspect as being the shooter? The unnamed juvenile faces two counts of Attempted First Degree Murder.

This is a unique Chicago problem. The city is so large, 50 wards each the size of a typical suburb (50,000 to 60,000 residents) and they only have 10,000 police officers who are hamstrung by bullying from protestors who seem to be more concerned about the criminals than the crimes those criminals commit?

Yes, there are SOME instances when a police officer crosses the line. But who is talking about the far many more instances when a police officer is justified in shooting an armed, drug addled street gang thug? It seems like every street gang killer has a cheering squad of supporters who turn the issue into police brutality instead of street gang atrocities.

There must be some kind of invisible wall that prevents street gangs from pouring out into the suburbs that hug Chicago’s borders because street gang violence in those communities is so much lower.

What’s the problem in Chicago?

Maybe people should start talking about how to stop the street gangs instead of trying to build up their own public careers as protest leaders, and they should be supporting the Chicago Police who deserve far more support than they are being given.

If Beck was a tough cop in Los Angeles, I hope he is a tough cop in Chicago too, because that is exactly what Chicago needs. Not some wishy-washy leader who was more concerned about his pension and public image than rolling up his sleeves to take on the street gangs the way they need to be confronted.

And that hashtag “Black Lives Matter” should be changed to “All Lives Matter.”

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

Click here to listen to Ray's Political Podcast. 

Hanania's columns are archived on his personal website at RayHanania.com. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

Email Ray Hanania at rghanania@gmail.com.
Ray Hanania

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