This week U.S. Senator Dick Durbin spoke about a driving experience on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive. We will come back to “Lake Shore Drive” in our analysis. Durbin was traveling with his wife and another couple, as the four were returning home following dinner downtown. Quoting the Senator: “It was stunning. I heard the popping sounds and I wasn’t sure what happened.” As reported by FOX32, the incident happened around 10 p.m. on Saturday, 25 September 2021. Durbin described seeing gunfire from the car next to them. “A driver was leaning out the window and shooting a gun in the air! He could’ve just as easily been shooting the gun at us. Sadly, that’s what happens way too often … my wife and I and the other couple, we were lucky.” Such is yet one more story in Chicago’s “Groundhog Day in Hadleyville” saga.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Video Clip of Senator Durbin’s Driving Downtown Experience
Life and death in a lawless city. Expressway shootings in the Chicago area are way up. Similar shootings occur elsewhere in the city as well. In the following video clip from the 1 October 2021 FOX32 news broadcast, Senator Durbin speaks about his experience last week while leaving downtown. The report also provides analysis from long-time political operative David Axelrod. He has advised Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to declare a “public safety emergency” in the city. Take note as well of the commentary from Mike Flannery from FOX32.
Two key observations should be evident from the above video clip.
Observation One: Still Confused
First, in the report, Senator Durbin, political operative David Axelrod, and FOX32‘s Mike Flannery remain confused. This is the case even though all three expressed concern, two called for spending more money, and one openly described being disgusted with the lawless city. In his online article, Flannery notes: “in 2020, killings in Chicago increased by 56% — and they’re even higher still so far in 2021.” However, neither in the on-air broadcast, nor the online article is there any mention of accountability. Not for the man shooting from the car next to the Durbin foursome. Not for any of Chicago’s murderers in 2020 or 2021. No mention of how prosecutors working for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx routinely drop many felony firearms cases. Not helpful in a lawless city.
In 2020, the Chicago Tribune found that the state’s attorney’s office under Ms. Foxx dropped nearly one-third of all such cases. Foxx has a substantially higher dropped-gun-case percentage than her predecessor. When a “justice system” does not provide a sufficient level of accountability in the courthouse, lawlessness reigns in the streets outside. Even Shakespeare observed “violent delights have violent ends.” In the Hadleyville of “High Noon,” violent gunman felt at ease roaming the town’s streets. They looked with delight on engaging in violence. In Hadleyville, a town without justice in the courtroom, violent ends played out in the streets. Sound familiar Senator?
Observation Two: Money and Political Grand Gestures
Second, politicians are better at spending money, and participating in grand gestures than actually fostering accountability. Durbin made his gunfire comments while at READI Chicago, a violence prevention program. He brought more money, $2 million in federal grant funds. Secure 1776 concurs that violence prevention programs are a key component of a comprehensive public safety program. However, such programs cannot be successful within an atmosphere of lawlessness.
Apparently, Durbin and Flannery forgot the grand gesture earlier this year from Chicago’s City Council. At a time with violence and lawlessness raging, the council wrestled with the issue of names. Chicagoans were most concerned about violence. Chicago’s elected leaders prioritized iconic street names. Such is the problem with political grand gestures. They typically provide no actual relief to the actual problem. Often they cost other people money. Unsurprisingly, people often have a hard time remembering what the gesture was about. The new official name on the iconic roadway along Lake Michigan connecting to Chicago’s down town is, “Jean Baptiste Point du Sable Lake Shore Drive.” If only Senator Durbin, Mike Flannery, and the gunman shooting from a car on “JBPDSLSD” had remembered the street name change, all would have been well in Chicago.
Perhaps not. READI was the violence prevention program at which Senator Durbin spoke about his brush with Chicago’s lawlessness. Regarding READI, Flannery wrote in his online article: “An analysis of participants in READI, another local anti-violence initiative, found 35% of the men involved had been shot, making them 45 times more likely to be gunned down than the average Chicagoan. Although READI participants are typically just 24-years-old, they’ve been arrested an average of 17 times each.” More than grand gestures will be needed. Lawlessness cannot be resolved without accountability.
The Core Question
The question Chicagoans need to ask remains the same: Who benefits from lawlessness?
Not Familiar with the Hadleyville Reference?
As an introduction to our discussion on “Hadleyvilles,” Secure 1776 continues to recommend reading the article entitled, “It’s High Noon for American Policing,” by Thomas Lemmer. We also recommend two other articles from Lemmer. First, “The Importance of “Us:” The Failure of Being Cast as Them.” Second,“Tragedy-Free Policing or Else: The Need for Critical Thinking.” Finally, we recommend reading our other “in the news” posts with the Hadleyville tag.
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