Saturday, May 25, 2019

Can Lori Lightfoot really make Chicago a less violent place this Memorial Day?

Lori Lightfoot hasn’t even been mayor of Chicago for one full week, and she’s already promising what may be an overly ambitious goal – eliminating the urban violence that is a Chicago embarrassment every Memorial Day holiday weekend. 
New mayor hopes to put her mark on city's Memorial Day safety
Which sounds nice. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Lori Lightfoot could really make Chicago a nicer, less violent place to be. Of course, this opens her up to criticism from every single smart-aleck (many harsher than myself) who will now try to hang every single violent crime that takes place this weekend on Lightfoot herself.

SO WHAT IS it Lightfoot has in mind?

Basically, it’s a marketing campaign. “Our City, Our Safety,” it’s being called. What it means is that the mayor wants us to get off our fat behinds and DO something,

In the form of attending one of the many events being held in neighborhoods across the city. Which almost reminds me of that old English proverb that says, “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.”

Does this make Lightfoot the equivalent of Chicago’s granny, spewing out sayings that basically mean we ought to make ourselves useful for a change instead of sitting around doing nothing?
Could events such as Mole de Mayo festival play a role in reducing … 
SERIOUSLY, THE CITY has a list of hundreds of events taking place from Friday through Monday. The theory being that if we’re doing something and perhaps even enjoying ourselves, we’re less likely to get ourselves involved in something stupid that will cause tempers to flare and lead to the potential for someone to pull out a weapon and use it.
… Memorial Day violence?

Is it our civic duty, then, to attend the Mole de Mayo festival in the Pilsen neighborhood, or any one of the many other events taking place in Chicago this weekend.

Maybe you’d rather check out the Lane Tech (as in high school) Carnival, or one of the many places that are doing film screenings (Lilo and Stitch will be showing Saturday at 6800 N. Western Ave., as an example).

What it basically sounds like is that Lightfoot wants to use what I’ve always considered to be one of Chicago’s biggest pluses to her advantage (the mass of activities taking place at any given time).

ANYBODY WHO’S SERIOUSLY bored in Chicago isn’t trying hard enough to find something interesting or enlightening to do.

Now I don’t know if I feel compelled to check out the Mole de Mayo festival in Pilsen, although I’ll admit I went last year and it was an interesting experience stuffing my face with a dish I consider my personal favorite.

Although I feel compelled to try to find something new to do to occupy my time this holiday weekend. And part of that time may well be in some sort of serious contemplation of those people who served in our nation’s military and wound up losing their lives as a result.

That’s enough bloodshed to have to think about, without having to contemplate the number of people killed or wounded (it could wind up being several dozen) in incidents that usually compete with each other in terms of just how insipid they are.

ALMOST AS THOUGH some people are eager to see a life lost in the most pathetic and wasteful manner possible. My own reporter-type days saw me write many a story about someone who happened to be sitting on their porch when they got struck by stray gunfire.
Various types of police will be in force this weekend. Photos by Gregory Tejeda
To try to cope with the incidents that are inevitable this weekend, the Chicago Police say they plan to have an extra 1,200 patrol officers on duty – with some 50 of them riding the Chicago Transit Authority buses and “L” trains to try to reduce the number of moments where someone merely trying to get themselves somewhere wind up being hurt or killed.

While a summer mobile patrol of about 100 officers will be working the parks and Lake Michigan shoreline. The last thing we need is someone killed during a quarrel breaking out at a traditional holiday “cookout” gone awry.

Which may sound like quite a force being put to the streets to deal with potential violence. The reality, though, is that it will only take one child getting caught in someone’s crossfire to taint the holiday weekend – no matter how much Lightfoot tries to reduce it.


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