Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bouncer Rahm

Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, said in an interview on the CBS evening news that gang members shouldn't shoot children on the streets. He said they should take their disputes into the alleys. It was the kind of thing you might expect a bouncer to say as he threw unruly patrons out of a bar.

Rahm doesn't seem to realize that there are already plenty of shootings in Chicago's alleys, and in the parks, parking lots, and pretty much everywhere else – at least in certain neighborhoods. In those neighborhoods, people aren't just afraid to walk on the sidewalks at night. They are afraid during the day. They are afraid in their cars. They are afraid in stores. They are even afraid in their own homes, because the bullets come right through their windows.

Rahm doesn't seem to understand that what is going on isn't like a fistfight among drunks, where the only people who get hurt are the combatants. The shooting in Chicago is a danger to everyone, including children and adults who are innocently minding their own business.

If Rahm is suggesting that we would all be safe if the gangbangers would just take his advice and shoot each other in the alleys, he doesn't understand that gangbangers aren't just interested in just shooting each other. They are shooting to make everyone around them afraid. They want to control their turf and establish their reputations. They want the public to notice them.

What would make Rahm think that the people who are doing the shooting care what he wants? Is he going to get them jobs? Is he going to provide them with the same level of city services that people in his neighborhood get? Is he going to give them private school educations like he gives his own kids? He has been in office more than a year already. Are the gangbangers' lives better than before he came?

Rahm pointed out to the news interviewer that the shootings aren't happening all over the city – just in a few areas. The shooters know this. They live in those areas, where jobs are scarce, police protection is inadequate, schools are substandard, and there are so few stores that people have trouble buying groceries. Does Rahm fail to see the connection between the conditions in those neighborhoods and the violence?

Rahm may think that he sounds righteous and tough when he tells the gangbangers to move their shooting from the streets to the alleys, but I doubt many of the gangbangers were impressed or were even watching the evening news. Maybe Rahm could get them to pay attention if he would stand on a sidewalk on the south or west side, without his bodyguards, and tell the gangbangers to go away, like a real tough guy. But he hasn't done that, and he won't. Because it's dangerous out there on the streets, and he knows it.

1 comment:

  1. Superb writing. Powerful point of view.

    You are the logical replacement for Royko.

    Send your resume.