Thursday, August 30, 2018

One bit of truth to Van Dyke’s talk?

VAN DYKE: His life's on trial
Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer who will go on trial beginning next week for a 2014 shooting incident that left a teenager dead, is telling a selective story to the Chicago Tribune – trying to get out some sense of the perspective that he’s not a thug in need of being locked away from society for life.

He gave the one-time World’s Greatest Newspaper an interview, and the competition Chicago Sun-Times felt compelled to do a quickie rewrite. Many broadcast outlets also are feeling compelled to acknowledge Van Dyke’s thoughts.

SO WHAT SHOULD we think of the officer who admits he shot and killed Laquan McDonald back in October of 2014? It certainly isn’t his claim that he faces the possibility of life imprisonment for doing his sworn duties as a Chicago police officer.

What caught my attention was Van Dyke’s statement, during a 40-minute interview with the newspaper where his attorneys often interceded and kept him from more thoroughly answering questions, that he acknowledges the potential consequences to the city at-large.

Could there wind up being some sort of riot by people who are offended by whatever verdict of his so-called peers that a jury winds up arriving at?

“I’m very scared for it. It obviously weighs heavily upon my mind,” Van Dyke said.

SOME, I’M SURE, will think back to the days of 1968 – where the Democratic National Convention protesters were not the only ones who experienced violence that year.

It was also the year that Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was killed by a racist-motivated assassin – and many black neighborhoods across the nation wound up in flames. Including in Chicago, where there are parts of the city’s West Side that for years remained in rubble and where they never recovered from the damage.

Does Van Dyke think he could be the cause of a similar reaction if he winds up being acquitted of the criminal charges? I don’t doubt some people would be grossly offended – and I have heard some activist types speculate how they fear this trial is headed for acquittal.
Van Dyke makes Page One in worst way possible

As though they expect “the establishment” will be prepared to protect a police officer because his “victim” was just a young, black male – particularly one whom prosecutors seem eager to label as a violent troublemaker who brought his fate upon himself.

TO TELL YOU the truth, I’m inclined to think it’s the other side that could get ugly – although I’d like to think that all could wind up showing some sense of self-restraint.

For in this Age of Trump that our society is now in, there are people who will be eager to defend Van Dyke as a cop doing his duty. They’ll want to think any kind of punishment is improper – and evidence that our society is all awry and out-of-whack with common sense.

People often talk about how there are “two Chicagos,” one upscale and thriving while the other is a dumping ground for those individuals whom the elite don’t want near them.

Could it be that Van Dyke and one’s attitude towards his actions will merely wind up being yet another bit of evidence as to which Chicago faction one falls into?

EVEN VAN DYKE himself realizes he’s going to be remembered in our city’s history for reasons he likely would never have dreamed possible and probably wishes he could avoid at all costs.

There is, of course, the ironic part of Van Dyke feeling compelled to submit to a newspaper interview. Prosecutors and his defense attorneys will be looking to pick a jury from those individuals who paid absolutely no attention to what was said or written about the case.

Meaning his words technically won’t influence them when they decide his fate of “guilt” or “innocence.”

They’re more meant to influence the way the rest of us think when we make our snap judgments after the trial is over about just how stupid that jury could possibly be for the verdict they ultimately reach.


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