Monday, November 30, 2015

Political apathy? Or will they commit a late rally and do something stupid!

I’m not complaining; but it does amaze me how calm – relatively speaking – the reaction has been in Chicago to the death of the teenaged boy who now has a police officer facing criminal charges as a result.

Note the lack of bloodshed ...
I know, I know. Some people are reading that sentence and saying, “Are you freakin’ nuts!”

ALL WE’VE BEEN getting are the tales of protest after protest – particularly those timed for Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, where it seems they went out of their way to disrupt all of that “Beginning of Christmas holiday shopping” season.

But when you think about it, what we have had are some rallies and protests that showed us people shouting and screaming and expressing their contempt. Yes, there have been some individuals who wound up getting arrested and now face minor criminal charges themselves.

But there were those who feared the release of video tapes taken by police that depicted the homicide of Laquan McDonald would cause violent outbursts along the line of what occurred in places like Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore (remember the White Sox playing a game against the Orioles in an empty ballpark because police said they couldn’t ensure the safety of fans attending a ballgame).

There were those who wondered if South Side neighborhoods would wind up being the scene of violence and acts that would rival anything that happened in those cities.

... on these newspaper front pages
IF ANYTHING, THE speculation was also on whether such outbursts would spread into the downtown area and into the parts of Chicago where the crime rates are so low – would the activists “take” their outrage to the people who often act as though urban violence isn’t a problem that affects their lives.

Yes, there have been actions. Many of the reports from Friday indicate that people merely wishing to shop for Christmas presents were forced to give thought to what happened – even though most came to the conclusion that the protests were an inconvenience, and something they’d prefer to ignore.

But by Saturday, those crowds died down.

Still front page in central Illinois
The Chicago Tribune reported Saturday about the several protests that occurred throughout the city. Yet they also noted the declining crowds, even at a rally outside of City Hall where protesters brought the physical image of a casket meant to symbolize the body of Laquan – who himself was planted into the ground more than a year ago.

WE ALSO HAVEN’T had the violent outbursts; the additional bloodshed caused by people who think someone should give their live up as payback for Laquan.

We’ve heard a lot of cheap rhetoric from some activist types (and black aldermen in the City Council) about how some people deserve either to be fired (such as the police chief) or lose an election (the state’s attorney, perhaps the mayor himself).

Nobody has got his head cracked open, at least not as of when I write this particular commentary during the weekend.

Of course, that’s the tricky part. All it would take is one stupid incident that results in bloodshed for all the restraint of past days to get flushed down the political toilet.

AS MUCH AS I want to believe Chicagoans are capable of showing restraint, I’m actually aware that we’re just as capable of displaying our stupidity and shortsightedness as anyone else on Planet Earth.

Just a corner tease in Springfield
So while we’ve gotten off to a good start, I’ll be watching closely in continuing days to see how well our city continues to behave.

Even though we’re in the dead of winter, I can’t help but feel a baseball analogy is appropriate in saying we haven’t won the game of avoiding violence in the name of political rhetoric.

I feel like this particular “game” is in the sixth inning, and some fans like to talk about how the team that takes an early lead usually winds up winning. But any fan of Chicago baseball knows how capable our local teams are of blowing a lead in the ninth inning.


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