It’s election year in Chicago, and that means politicians are going to try to convince voters that what they’re seeing isn’t really happening. Pay no attention to that alderman making off with millions in city contracts or that fire inspector getting paid off by the slumlord. This is Chicago and that’s just “The Chicago Way.”
Another thing that isn’t happening is dozens of Chicagoans being hit by gunfire every weekend. It’s hard to hide the bodies, to be sure — 10 of them over the Fourth of July weekend, and 62 wounded.
But Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot is running for re-election, so the shooting gallery that is Chicago’s streets is getting better.
Lightfoot, who took office in 2018, has seen the murder rate in Chicago increase by 18% since taking office. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, she said even with the shootings this weekend, the city is improving.
“Well look, if you consider what we experienced a year ago, this weekend I believe we were actually down in shootings,” Lightfoot said.
David Brown, Chicago police superintendent, backed up the mayor’s claim.
“We were one percent down in homicides, double digits down in shootings, but still one shooting is too many,” Brown said.
Not everyone agrees that things are getting better. Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez isn’t buying it.
Everything that the superintendent says rings hollow when he’s trying to hold parents accountable and telling them to be aware when our own judicial system fails us on a weekly, daily basis — putting criminals back out on the street no sooner than our officers arrest them. The superintendent is following in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s footsteps and deflecting responsibility for their own actions and their own policies that enable and embolden criminals in the city of Chicago. It isn’t the parents who decided to dismantle the gang unit, narcotics unit and send the tactical units and detective units to go babysit monuments in Grant Park. It wasn’t the parents who decided that we’re going to work our officers three or four weeks without a day off.
The mayor is trapped between radical “reformers,” who want to make the job of police officers more impossible than it already is, and political opponents whose constituents are crying out for protection for themselves and their kids from gangs and guns. Lightfoot needs the radicals to win, but she needs everyone else in order to govern.
The question is: govern what?
On July 3, an officer pulled into the intersection of Division Street and Elston Avenue. When the trooper approached the intersection, several people from a group of about 100 began to swarm the ISP trooper’s squad vehicle, jumping on the hood, breaking the windshield, kicking the vehicle, and throwing rocks, bricks, and fireworks, according to ISP.
Lightfoot blamed those involved in the incident.
“That says to me that the people who were acting so brazenly have no respect for themselves, but they do not have respect for the institution like the police department,” Lightfoot said.
How can anyone in that city respect police or any authority when the mayor has done so much to poison the mob against them?
In discussing the Highland Park shootings, Lightfoot bemoaned the”toxicity in our public discourse” — a week after she said in a Pride Day speech, “F**k Clarence Thomas.” She didn’t apologize for it. In fact, she fundraised off the obscenity.
“The toxicity in our public discourse is a thing that I think we should all be concerned about,” Lightfoot added. “We have got to focus on what brings us together and not what tears us apart, and we’ve got to get back to respect for each other and respect for community. That’s the thing that concerns me the most over the arc of the last two years.”
Chicago is spinning out of control and Lightfoot is circling the drain.