Whose Kind of Town is Chicago Now?


“This is my kind of town,” Frank Sinatra crooned in a joyous tribute that became an unofficial anthem for the Windy City. “My kind of people too, people who smile at you…”

That depends on where you live. In some parts of town, you could change “smile” to “shoot.”

“All told, at least 23 people were shot, two fatally, in Chicago between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, including three people shot at a peace event at a park on the Near North Side,” a recent Chicago Tribune article reported. “2 dead, 18 wounded in Chicago-area gun violence,” an NBC Chicago headline tallied for the prior weekend. “74 people shot, 12 fatally, in Chicago over the weekend,” the Chicago Tribune noted from the week before that.

Headlines like “Sharp drop in weekend violence in Chicago: Nearly 40 shot” sound like a sick joke. And we can expect such stories and such numbers will repeat themselves next week, and the week after that.

The gun-grabbers think the solution is to gather up thousands of protestors and block off a section of the Dan Ryan Expressway, essentially punishing everyone who is not responsible for the sorry state of the city. What they’re demanding are “common sense gun laws” that the criminals won’t obey but the “law-abiding” will. What they’re after is the evisceration of the right to keep and bear arms.

The freeway mob was incited by Fr. Michael Pfleger, the radical priest who had a few years earlier called on his followers to “snuff out” a suburban gun store owner, adding “you’re going to hide, but like a rat we’re going to catch you and pull you out.” Unsurprisingly, Pfleger was not as vocal about a supporter arrested recently on illegal gun charges who has been identified as part of his “security” apparatus.

Also appearing were Marx… uh… March For Our Lives rock stars Emma Gonzales and David Hogg, along with “stay at home mom” and PR executive turned “activist” Shannon Watts. Not wanting to be left out and not willing to let a crisis go to waste, former Obama apparatchik and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel ignored police public safety concerns, threw his support behind the protest, and dissed the state’s Republican governor in the process.

Another guy who ignored Chicago PD’s plea to not block off the freeway was its Superintendent Eddie Johnson. The city’s top cop decided the photo op of marching arm-in-arm with Pfleger down the inbound lanes would be politically advantageous. If that meant pulling hundreds of officers away from the war zones to make sure “public safety” resources were diverted to the media event, so be it. It’s not like mandating overtime to deploy 1,500 extra cops over the 4th of July weekend actually changed outcomes anyway.

What would?

Emanuel weighed in and quickly found he’d lit a match near a powder keg.

“This may not be politically correct, but I know the power of what faith and family can do,” the mayor advocated. “I am asking … that we also don’t shy away from a full discussion about the importance of family and faith helping to develop and nurture character, self-respect, a value system and a moral compass that allows kids to know good from bad and right from wrong.”

That’s sounds like a “Thank you, Captain Obvious” moment to people not out there shooting up neighborhoods. Apologists for bad behavior intent on redirecting the blame and making demands reacted differently. They’re calling for the mayor’s head.

“I cannot see the victims of racist policies and bigoted practices shamed by anyone who says they need to do better or be better in their circumstance,” former Chicago Urban League President and CEO Shari Runner declared. “I won’t accept it.”

So much for having a full discussion. Asking people to look at contributing factors of personal conduct that measurably result in dependency, fatherless homes, abuse, crime, violence and the like is evidently something only a hater would presume to bring up. The problem is, those very conditions hardly encourage the investors and employers the angry voices are demanding deliver them prosperity.

As for another of their complaints, “underfunded schools,” district financing reports by the Illinois State Board of Education show per-student spending for the City of Chicago SD 299 significantly exceeds state expenditures for both instructional and operational spending. Meanwhile, the CPS Office of Inspector General produced a 2014 report characterizing corruption (theft, kickbacks, bribes, fraudulent grades, etc.) as a major problem. In 2015, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools pleaded guilty to a $23 million kickback scheme. (At least she’s now a “prohibited person” and won’t be able to buy a gun when she gets out.)

Whose Kind Of Town Is It?

The line at the end of the neo-noir classic movie “Chinatown” comes to mind, one that sums up the futility of trying to get justice from a system that is irredeemably corrupt. I’ve adapted it for my blog, The War on Guns, and use it regularly when I come across stories about senseless Chicago violence being exploited to demand we give up our guns:

Forget it Jake. It’s Chi-Town.