I live in a city with gang violence. Chicago is a lot of wonderful things: beautiful, friendly, majestic, and clean. But there is another side, an underbelly, to this sprawling, dense metropolis in the Midwest.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Police Superintendent Jody Weis, with FBI agents and federal state prosecutors had a clandestine “meet” with West Side gang leaders to try and avert the bloodbath on our city streets.
Imagine my surprise and horror to know I live right in the midst of such goings on. Gangs? Bloodbaths? Really? In Chicago? The thought made me shutter.
One high-profile individual who is not too happy about the little rendezvous is Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), a potential mayoral candidate. He highly criticized the meeting as a negotiation with terrorists. They are gun-toting killers, murdering our children on the streets.
I took a look at the stats. 70 gangs with 80,000 gang members. Could these numbers be for real? This was something I heard about on TV. Now, I actually walk along the streets where gangs thrive. Welcome to the wild, wild west.
Apparently, Police Supt. Weis’ sit-down with thugs at the Garfield Park Conservatory rubbed some the wrong way. Why not try anything to stop the violence? Maybe Weis may have said a few wrong things. Or, maybe he made matters worse. Fioretti equated the meeting with raising the white flag. Giving up. Surrendering our power.
Weis is reported to have warned the outlaws, threatening to “go after them with everything they have” if the violence does not cease.
Ald. Fioretti pointed out those words have no value, reminding the public idle threats have been thrown at the thugs for several years now, to no avail. No changes have occurred in warfare on the streets. Kids and innocent victims keep dying. People at the wrong place at the wrong time keep catching stray bullets.
Ald. Joe Moore (49th), an outspoken critic of mayor Daley, called the pow wow a desperate measure. He says it adds fuel to the fire, causing gang leaders to get bold.
Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), the mayor’s City Council floor leader, also had reservations about the tactic. He reckoned it tantamount to “legitimizing lawbreakers.”
While both Aldermen Moore and Fioretti point the finger at Weis, they add that the police department presently is not equipped to handle the gang warfare on our city streets. Ugh! That’s comforting to know. Fioretti continues to call for the hiring of 1000 police officers. My take on this–yes, please do it!
Who cares about the $70 million more dollars it will swell the city’s unprecedented $654.7 million budget in the red? That’s money worth going into debt for any day of the week, as far as I am concerned. I have to walk these streets!
About a year ago several residents who live in a neighboring building were accosted, robbed, and beat up. This is in the downtown area. Surprisingly, this happened at 3pm in the afternoon. Pretty brazen! I like big cities, but I wondered if I made a mistake making the move to Chitown…
Police Committee Chairman Anthony Beale (9th), offered some explanation for Weis’ actions, stating the superintendent was trying to calm the city. Three police officers have been gunned down in cold blood in as many months. That includes an officer who was shot for his motorcycle in a nice, residential neighborhood.
One plan the feds have used successfully against the Mafia is called RICO. Better known as the RICO statutes, it is federal racketeering, a charge frequently used to scare criminals into standing down and rethinking criminal actions.
It basically means they will come after thugs and throw the book at gang leaders if the killing continues by means of seizing their cars, homes, boats, and other assets. Heck, I wonder if it works, though I suppose they do have some success with this tactic. It seems they buy more cars and houses as fast as the feds can seize them. How about locking them up?
The mayoral election will be upon us soon. I can bet this security problem will be a major, major issue. It will be for me. In order to get my vote, a serious plan and some serious money has to come from somewhere to make this town and its citizens safe. That includes officer’s safety, as well. It’s very demoralizing to see police officers gunned down. If they will kill police, they will kill anybody. That’s the way I feel.
Let’s take action, now before the situation gets out of hand. No more talking and coddling the criminals. Put RICO into action. And, anything else to lock up the thugs. Let’s keep Chicago safe and beautiful.