Unbalanced Response

Tribune photo/Terrence Antonio James
Tribune photo/Terrence Antonio James

A fatal shooting took place today not far from where I work, where police shot and killed what they’re calling ‘an aggressive panhandler’ who threatened a passerby with a large knife. An officer was accidentally shot in the chest but his body armor absorbed the shot and he was not seriously injured.

Police turnout in the city was extremely impressive yielding many squad cars and ambulances. Even Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis turned out to give a speech. Between forty to fifty officers of the law where present after the shooting, although for what purpose, one can only assume. The only civil servants that seemed to be assisting were paramedics tending to shocked witnesses.

How many police turn out for shootings that take place on the Southside of the city, as one example of districts practically under seige from violent crimes in the city of Chicago? When does any gun violence receive such attention anywhere in the slums, or the poor neighborhoods? While gangs run loose, shooting people in front of churches, hitting mothers whilst they push their children home, commuters in downtown areas can enjoy more police officers per block than any other area of the city.

Walking into the Richard J. Daley Center as I do on a daily basis, I can see no less than six cops attending one metal detector. Downstairs in the basement where I was sent to turn in my camera, a device not permitted in the building, (puzzlingly no such precautions are taken against cellphone cameras) I find three cops performing what can only be described as attentive functions in the line of duty, that is, handing out slips of paper so one can claim confiscated items at a later time. And with no disrespect to the ‘differently weighted’ amongst us but I would be surprised if more than a few of those cops would be able to extricate themselves out of their chairs without help, let alone attend to a crime of any serious description.

I feel that the over-abundance of police officers at today’s event is indicative of the general attitude towards crime in this city. Affluent denizens of the business world – we will indeed protect and serve you. Lower income areas – you’re on your own.

1 thought on “Unbalanced Response”

  1. I’ve often wondered from where changes emanates; how does it start and gather momentum; how does society change, actually, not superficially. I’ve been following a fascination with the Jonestown event recently from back in the lates 1970’s (Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple etc). This whole issue of being tied into something, cult-like, and being unable (or unwilling?) to extricate oneself no matter how lunatic or socially and individually destructive the behaviour of the group becomes. It’s like that collectively there comes upon the individuals within the group a sort of mass insanity or perhaps ‘inertia’ to be more generous.

    What you say is obviously true but how slow things change, really change… what does it take? Who does it take? Is it action that begins the process of change or, a cummulative inaction that forces it upon us?


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