Thugs Terrorize Their Neighbors in the Windy City
By Heather Mac Donald
August 7, 2018
An explosion of drive-by shootings erupted on Chicago’s South and West sides this weekend. At least 74 people were shot, and 11 killed, between 3 p.m. on Friday and 6 a.m. on Monday. In one seven-hour stretch, starting around midnight on Saturday, at least 40 people were shot, four fatally, as gunmen targeted a block party, the aftermath of a funeral, and a front porch, reports the Chicago Tribune. Over two and a half hours that morning, 25 people were shot in five multiple-injury shootings, including a 17-year-old who died after being shot in the face. An 11-year-old boy, a 13-year-old boy, and a 14-year-old girl were also hit over the course of the weekend’s bloodbath. Mt. Sinai’s emergency room shut down for several hours due to the overload of bodies; in May, the entire hospital went into lockdown following a virtual riot in its lobby among gangbangers, reported Tribune columnist John Kass.
Meantime, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan recently celebrated the issuance of a 232-page draft consent decree for the Chicago Police Department, possibly the longest police consent decree ever written. Among numerous other red-tape-generating provisions, it requires the CPD to revise its protocols regarding “transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming individuals,” to make sure that the CPD policies properly define these terms and that officers address intersex, transgender, and the gender non-conforming with the “names, pronouns and titles of respect appropriate to that individual’s gender.” Last Thursday, a so-called anti-violence march shut down Lake Shore Drive to demand that the CPD hire more black officers and that City Hall spend more on social programs in the black community. Few voices, in other words, are tackling the actual cause of Chicago’s violence: the breakdown of the black family structure and a demoralized police department.
If the mayor signs the consent decree, the police department will have to divert further resources from on-the-ground enforcement toward collection of racial data and training in the phony theory of implicit bias. A court granted the ACLU of Illinois and Black Lives Matter Chicago permission to intervene in the consent decree negotiations. This is the same ACLU that muscled the CPD into introducing a new three-page stop, question, and frisk form in January 2016 that contributed to Chicago’s shooting spike, already accelerating due to Black Lives Matter-driven anti-cop hatred. The ACLU and BLM Chicago will also be able to enforce the new consent decree in court, spelling further trouble for professional policing.
To be sure, shootings are down this year, compared with the high-water marks of 2016 and 2017, but that’s cold comfort for the 1,700 people—more than eight daily—shot through the end of July. But while shootings have crested at least temporarily, other indications of chaos and disorder are up. Carjackings have nearly tripled since 2015, with an increasing share committed by juveniles, thanks to a law exempting young carjackers from adult penalties. In downtown Chicago, youth mobs have been running riot. Large groups of teens regularly swarm across major intersections, jumping on the tops of cars caught in the stampede. Over the 2018 Memorial Day weekend, teens ran down Michigan Avenue, punching people and vandalizing stores; a group of eight to ten boys knocked a fifteen-year-old boy to the ground, then stomped on his head and kicked his ribs, back, and face, before emptying his pockets and taking his shoes. The police made almost no arrests during the melee, preferring to avoid confrontation. In March, gunfire erupted during a fight between two groups of youths in the Water Tower Place mall.
“The city is lost,” a federal prosecutor tells me. “We have never had crimes like this downtown—people getting shoved and robbed at 3 p.m. It’s just brazen.” This prosecutor has started avoiding the Magnificent Mile on Saturday afternoons. “I’m scared to be downtown,” she says. A Chicago police detective with 24 years on the job observes: “The kids who are mobbing downtown are the same ones doing the carjackings. This generation of kids has grown up with no one daring to touch them.”
Chicago’s mayoral contenders seized on this weekend’s violence to further their campaigns. Sadly for Chicago, a leader in Black Lives Matter, Ja’Mal Green, is one of those mayoral candidates. If Green has ever seen a police officer whom he supports, he is not letting on. Black Lives Matter was front and center during the protests against the CPD following an officer shooting of an armed man last month. Predictably, Green called for more government “investment” in inner-city neighborhoods.
Garry McCarthy, who headed the CPD when Laquan McDonald was infamously shot in 2014, blasted Emanuel for ignoring the violence in favor of downtown development. (The McDonald shooting triggered the consent-decree process, initially prosecuted by the Obama Justice Department but thankfully halted by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, only to be resurrected by Madigan and Emanuel.) But McCarthy engaged in some fake news, suggesting that the public should not buy the fact that the murder rate is actually down, in light of this weekend’s violence. McCarthy ran Compstat (the revolutionary police-accountability system) for the New York Police Department; he of all people should know that both facts can be true: murder and shootings can be down from the 2016 and 2017 rates and still be unacceptably high.
McCarthy should be talking about two things on the campaign trail: getting out of the street-stop agreement that he himself signed with the ACLU, and halting the impending consent decree. Until the shooting of McDonald, the academic Left had celebrated the CPD as a model of progressive policing. It still is. What it needs is support from the public and Chicago’s political class and the confidence to go back to proactive enforcement.
But policing is only a second-best solution to the anarchy in inner-city communities. The best solution is a culture of marriage that expects boys to take responsibility for the children they conceive. As long as more than three-quarters of Chicago’s inner-city children are raised without their fathers, black-on-black violence will continue. And the national press will take notice only when the numbers are too egregious to ignore.
Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and the author of The War on Cops and the forthcoming The Diversity Delusion.