Looting Chicago

Someone asked the other day, “why is it different now?” An old criminal defense lawyer replied, “Because I can talk to six thousand people instantly with a device in my pocket.” Most of the time, those six thousand won’t care, but when the call goes out over social media that it happened again, the cops killed another black person, this time a 15-year-old, it goes viral.

No, no evidence is needed. Few ask the obvious question, “What happened? Why?” Oddly, it’s almost been trained out of people, to learn of an outcome and not ask anything, not wonder why, the outcome occurred. Dead black guy? Good enough. Black lives matter. Except this time, it was mostly wrong.

Around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, officers were called to investigate reports of a man with a gun, the department said. Officers confronted a 20-year-old man in an alley; he fled and then opened fire, the department said in a statement. “Officers then discharged their firearms, striking the offender,” the statement said.

The man was expected to survive, and no officers were hurt. The department said it had opened an investigation into the shooting, and on Monday evening announced that it was charging the man, Latrell Allen, with two counts of attempted murder and unlawful possession of a weapon.

At another time, this would have been so banal a bit of local news as to be lucky to find space in the newspaper at all. Chicago’s got a lot of guns lately, and those guns have been busier than they’ve been in a while. This is neither to “catastrophize” the murder and shooting rate nor pretend it’s not happening. When bullets fly, they have to land somewhere, and you pray it’s not your child. For all the passionate pleas for justice, compounded by explanations of how systemic racism started the Butterfly Theory that ended with your child dead, human nature never goes away.

Then the police learned of a social media post about potential looting downtown, miles from where the shooting had taken place. Hundreds of officers were sent to Michigan Avenue and the surrounding area, where they encountered people entering upscale shops, vandalizing storefronts and smashing windows.

Thirteen cops were injured. A security guard and another person, described by the NYT as a “civilian” suggesting they need an editor who is familiar with the meaning of words. And to make the story work, the Times shows a fairly bucolic picture of some cops standing around, pondering their retirement, while a cyclist enjoys a ride. Somehow, no image of massive looting of the Magnificent Mile that followed made it into the Record.

And looting followed.

But looting isn’t “violence,” it’s argued, which only applies to harm done to the person, not to property, such that a wrong word is violence but not massive destruction of property by people who steal Omega Speedmasters for justice. And given their systemic oppression, can anyone blame them? Well, yeah, people can blame them, and no, looting isn’t justified by empty social justice rhetoric.

Alderman Raymond Lopez, whose ward is on the South Side, said he saw no connection between anger over police shootings and the widespread looting downtown.

“There is no social justice component to the criminal activity that we saw last night,” Mr. Lopez said. “This is simply about criminal actions by individuals who are hellbent to cause anarchy and chaos in the city of Chicago.”

But that didn’t blunt the call for “no justice, no peace.”

At least one organization promised that it had planned a demonstration in Chicago on Monday evening, in part to protest the police shooting in Englewood on Sunday.

Aislinn Pulley, a founder of Black Lives Matter Chicago, condemned the shooting and pushed Ms. Lightfoot to allow more civilian control of the police department. “We will remain in the streets until our demands are met,” she said in a statement.

The connection between a guy who shot at cops and “more civilian control” over the police department might be hard to spot, but this is bigger than reality and no shooter’s actions, no looting, overcomes the violence of poverty and discrimination. The nasty details of this particular incident and its aftermath are inconsequential in the grand view of social justice.

As for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, this presented a conundrum. She rejected a call to bring in the National Guard, but she also condemned the looting.

The events instantly played into the broader political dynamics of this season, in which President Trump has regularly portrayed Chicago as a poorly governed hotbed of violent crime. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, expressed fury over the violence and ordered limited access to downtown starting Monday evening.

How can a mayor simultaneously be a progressive Democrat while her city is being looted? If she does nothing, Chicago burns. If she does something, she’s just another authoritarian who oppresses black people. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that Lightfood is both black and a woman, and we’ve been told that if black women were in charge, that would fix everything. Seattle’s police chief, for the moment, Carmen Best, might beg to differ, as white college-educated radicals have forced her, a black female police chief, from office.

How does this stop, or does it? Is there any turning back the spiral of groups, sometimes protesters, sometimes mobs, sometimes looters in a “mostly peaceful protest,” that doesn’t involve force? If not, then what are the cops to do when someone shoots at them? Take the bullet, like one of the many dead children of Chicago, rather than return fire and watch the Magnificent Mile burn?

The situation is untenable, as it was always going to be. No progressive mayor can address it and not become reviled by her tribe. Arguing about it on social media solves nothing. But then, one mistaken twit about cops shooting a 15-year-old is all it takes to light the fuse and make Chicago burn.

28 thoughts on “Looting Chicago

  1. Skink

    This is Math Week in the Hotel. Math is logic, but you don’t have no logic. Chicago deserves fires and thievings because it’s the picture of everything wrong:

    It’s racist–the hot dogs have tomatoes on them. Tomatoes are picked by undocumented aliens who can do nothing else and they don’t get paid;

    Chicago is misogynistic–the city is named after a band that sang dopey love songs and the leader was named “Peter;”

    It’s anti-indigenous–Chicago hoards Lake Michigan, so the tribes up north can’t make a living the traditional way: growing corn next to the casino parking lot; and

    Chicago is ageist–only old people get credit to buy the fabulous big screens that now lie in the street.

    All those businesses support those bad things, so it’s right to burn, loot and rob. It’s the American Way to take matters to the streets. It’s Justice!

    Now, what city did the bullets come from?

      1. Richard Kopf

        Unfortunately not! Sounds fun though.

        As you know, I have a love affair with White Russians and I am guessing that Howl would surely be a good drinking companion. I know you are.

          1. Richard Kopf

            OK, I’ll go back to gin and bacon which is served in a swampy yet swanky place that you introduced to me, my friend. Be well. All the best.

            Rich

  2. B. McLeod

    No need to be accurate. It is easier to stir people to violence if you don’t need facts. Notwithstanding the proclamations from certain quarters that the riots have no social justice purpose, our local BLM folks are endorsing the rioters and looters on their social media page.

      1. B. McLeod

        The notion of an entitlement to loot as “reparations” is unlikely to fit well with notions of law or ordered society. What is happening now is what has befallen “BLM” every time: it slides into batshit craziness and everyone without an active case of rabies starts looking for the exits.

  3. Chris

    Progressives are missing the perfect opportunity! They keep saying you don’t need cops to keep things under control, all they have to do is get things under control without cops and they will have proved their point!

    1. SHG Post author

      Forfeited? I hear Seattle is looking for a new police chief, Jake. You should take the job and run a non-forfeited police department. Show ’em how to do it right, brother.

      1. Jake

        Would ‘squandered’ be a better word? You’ve spent ~10 years educating the public on the visibly evidenced wrongdoings of individual LEOs and you’re only scratching the surface. Do you think all this evidence is going unnoticed? Do you think there are no reprecussions in the court of public opinion, where mobs take root?

        1. SHG Post author

          Maintain perspective. There are millions of interactions daily. A few hundred (maybe) go very bad. They need to be addressed, as do some more pervasive problems. But grandiose cries like “forfeited” or “squandered” illuminate anything.

          1. Jake

            But dear sir, I am…The perspective of the unwashed masses. The galaxy brain doesn’t process nuance effectively, as is so often demonstrated. Moving pictures of cops murdering innocent, unarmed citizens and then more images of them responding to the ensuing public outcry with billy clubs may be a simulacrum but it still has consequences. My question is: Who is responsible for those consequences?

            1. SHG Post author

              I don’t mind your asking a different question. There are prosecutors, other police agencies, that exist to serve that function. Then there are elected officials as well. Nonetheless, bad things will happen, just like people looting when others want to pretend it’s a mostly peaceful demonstration.

  4. Joseph Masters

    Might be advised to reserve judgment on this one until the investigation is completed, and to read first what the local Chicago media is writing. The suspect was shot five times, and ran all the way home, according to CBS 2 Chicago. The COPA, the agency tasked with investigating this shooting, might have backtracked on declaring this a justified shooting, “COPA released another statement saying anyone who may have witnessed the shooting is urged to contact them. COPA also said the officers involved in the shooting were in a special safety team that was not wearing body cameras. But Savini canvassed the neighborhood and found several homes that had cameras that would have been pointed right at the scene.”

    If the COPA investigation corroborates the CPD’s version of events, then the questions raised are apt, but that seems far from assured until all the evidence comes to light. It might also be useful to mention that the Chicago Police have a history of their cruisers’ dashcams contradicting their spokeperson’s initial version of events, and not just in the case of Jason Van Dyke. This case occurred less than 48 hours ago. If it turns out that video and/or audio evidence do not corroborate the CPD’s version of events, then Chicago has a serious problem on its hands, doesn’t it?

    1. DupageCountyResident

      I’m not sure which is funnier, that you believe anything See BS would put on the airwaves or that you believe that COPA has any ability to investigate anything. Interesting side note, the current mayor of Chicago was the head of the predecessor to COPA, unfortunately that insight doesn’t seem to be helping her.

      “The problem is exacerbated by the fact that Lightfood is both black and a woman, and we’ve been told that if black women were in charge, that would fix everything.” The issue here is that the other black women was supposed to win, kind of like Hillary was supposed to win. So now the losing black women is pulling the stings of the States Attorney and Sheriff to make her look bad.

  5. John Barleycorn

    What are you gonna do when a liberating a new pair of Air Jordan’s and a MacBook seems like a better idea than heading over to the Fields Museum and borrowing that pterosaurs, for a flight up to South LaSalle Street, to do a little “full employment” lobbying at the Federal Reserve Bank?

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