Tuesday, April 28, 2015

EXTRA: Will ‘Baltimore’ come to Chi?

A part of me is starting to wonder if the Chicago White Sox are a bad omen.

I still recall the team’s whereabouts on Sept. 11, 2001 – they were the professional baseball team in New York City on that day when two jets crashed into the World Trade Center, triggering many bad memories for our nation.

NOW, IT WAS the White Sox who were in Baltimore this week when rioting motivated by people pissed off by the death of a young black man while in police custody is giving the nation many violent images on our televisions.

The rioting was considered so out-of-control that Monday’s White Sox/Baltimore Orioles game was cancelled. Some of the violent outbursts were a mere three miles from the Orioles’ ballpark, and many of the roads leading to the stadium had restricted access.

The last thing anybody wanted to see happen was some sports fan get yanked out of their car by the violent protesters while trying to get to Camden Yards! As of this writing, it is not clear when, or where, those ballgames will be made up.

Yes, my bringing the White Sox’ presence into this circumstance is an attempt to inject a touch of humor to what is an overly-serious situation. Although the serious part of all this is perhaps how fortunate we in Chicago ought to feel that we haven’t had similar incidents occur here.

BECAUSE THE UNEASY sentiments that exist between law enforcement types and black people are not confined to Baltimore. Nor Ferguson, Mo., or New York or any other one city.

You know it’s just a matter of time before the tensions heat up enough that we get an incident that causes certain people to react in ways similar to what is taking place now in Baltimore.

Let’s be honest! We should feel fortunate that the death of Rekia Boyd did not create such an outburst.

She is the woman who was shot to death by a Chicago police officer – one who recently was acquitted of the criminal charges he faced, and now has police Superintendent Garry McCarthy going about on Monday saying that officer should never have faced a criminal indictment.

EVEN THOUGH SOME people are interpreting the comments made by the judge who tossed out the criminal charges as saying they were the wrong charges and perhaps should have been even harsher.

As though this particular cop got off on a technicality and NOT some claim of innocence, as I’m sure the police would want to believe. Just an officer doing his job – one that is tough enough that I’m sure many in our society would be incapable of handling it.

Just a couple of people handling things a little less rationally in Chicago, and it could be our city with the images of a gas mask-clad man slashing the hose of a firefighting crew that was trying to keep a CVS pharmacy from burning to the ground.

It could be the death of Freddie Gray (who suffered a spinal cord injury while in police custody and whose funeral seems to be the motivation for Monday’s violent outbursts) isn’t all that different in spirit than that of Boyd – or many of the others whose ill treatment at the hands of police has caused public outrage.

AND YES, I realize in writing that sentence there are some people who are determined to believe the police some noble creature who are dealing with people who hardly deserve to be called human.

Although I find their thought process to be as ridiculous as the face-covered boy in Baltimore who told CNN how people aren’t going to calm down until some sort of “justice!!!” is handed down.

We have a serious problem in our society that way too many people don’t want to have to acknowledge. That, ultimately, is the real problem.


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