Saturday, December 27, 2014

REVIEWING THE WEEK: Handling ourselves respectably in cop attack

Around about the time many of us were clearing the table and doing the dishes following the Christmas Day holiday meal, the Chicago police used deadly force on a man.

The incident occurred Thursday night in the Woodlawn neighborhood when police responded to a call of a man who was threatening to kill himself.

IT WOULD APPEAR the man was less than mentally stable, because the presence of police aggravated the situation to the point where the man took his knife and lunged at police.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that one officer had his body armor struck twice by the knife. And for the record, the answer is “no,” bullet-proof vests can't protect you from the blade of a knife.

Which is what caused police to fire shots at the man, who died late Thursday at Stroger Hospital. The police officer who was attacked was in “good” condition at a different hospital. The Chicago Tribune reported that police have recovered the knife in question.

Assuming that no as-of-yet unknown facts come forward and that we know the “whole truth,” this is not likely to turn into an incident. Regardless of his mental state, lunging at an officer with a device that can be a weapon gives the officers the legal justification for use of force.

BUT WITH THE number of incidents occurring nationally, we’re sort of on a heightened sense of alert about such things. Just about any incident involving a police officer has potential to rise to an unpleasant and embarrassing level. There are bound to be some people who will want to believe the worst.

Which is why it was wise for the Chicago police chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police this week to advise local officers to be careful in the way they handle potential situations to avoid escalating them to violence.

Although hearing those same officials complain that they’re the ones being singled out for abuse was a little sickening. It seems some people don’t comprehend the fact that not everyone feels relief when they see the police coming down their neighborhood streets, and that it ought to be the police trying to build trust within the community for the real problems to be resolved.

What else of the happenings this week in Chicago is worthy of further note?

WILLIE WILSON CAN STAY: Perhaps it is evidence that Mayor Rahm Emanuel does not feel threatened any longer by the millions of dollars that Dr. Willie Wilson could potentially spend on his campaign for mayor.

For the people aligned with Emanuel who had challenged the nominating petitions for Wilson to try to get him kicked off the Feb. 24 mayoral ballot withdrew their objections.

Which means voters will be able to choose Wilson from amongst the many Emanuel challengers, if they so wish. No official explanation was given for the withdrawal, although Wilson backers claimed it was Emanuel backing off what was a racist ballot challenge.

Personally, I’m inclined to think it is the fact that 2nd Ward Alderman Robert Fioretti and Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Chicago, have become the major challengers, and that Wilson’s millions (he took a few McDonald’s franchises on the South Side and turned them into a fortune) weren’t likely to get him more than 2 percent of the vote.

I DON’T THINK I REALLY MISSED ANYTHING: “The Interview” wound up being shown on Christmas Day at select theaters across the country, including assorted theaters in the suburbs of Chicago. Buffalo Grove, Woodridge, Naperville and Griffith, Ind. – to be exact.

Meaning anybody who wanted to see the film on its Opening Day had to make a trip. Although anyone willing to wait until the weekend can see it at Chicago theaters such as Ford City on the Southwest Side, Regal City North 14 and the AMC River East theater near downtown.

Supposedly, Thursday’s showings grossed about $1 million nationwide, and I saw some news coverage of people who said they felt they were making a patriotic statement by going to see the film.

Personally, I wonder how many of them would have bothered to see it at all if not for the North Korea controversy that has taken an otherwise ignorable film and turned it into a political cause.

UGH!!!: Leave it to the Chicago Bears whose attempt at a statement concerning their high-priced quarterback wound up turning into a bigger fiasco.

For Jay Cutler got his starting job back for the Bears’ finale Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, even though everybody still thinks he stinks and that the Bears would be better off without him.

Yet the backup quarterback whom the Bears promoted to the top spot to try to humiliate Cutler wound up suffering a concussion. “Jimmy Clausen” is now the answer to the trivia question that goes “Who replaced Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler for one game in 2014?” It probably will be the only thing Clausen is remembered for in his NFL career.

This likely to become a 5-11 season for the Bears can’t end soon enough. Only two more months until we get to see Jose Abreu hit home runs for the Chicago White Sox and we get to see whether the presence of Joe Maddon as manager makes one bit of difference for the Chicago Cubs.


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