Very late last night (or early this morning depending how you define time) I was listening to the radio reports of total goonish behavior underway as rioters rampaged in the heart of Chicago. Hundreds of people swept through the Magnificent Mile and other parts of downtown Chicago smashing windows, looting stores, and confronting police.
This area of the city is one that has long drawn my attention and love. James and I often would take the bus to Ohio Street and its Best Western where we would spend a weekend doing nothing more than walking the entire area and eating. From what was then Tribune Tower on to Navy Pier and way off to LaSalle Street we would walk and thoroughly enjoy one of this nation’s grand cities.
Having been a listener to Chicago radio since an early teenager has created deep regard for the city. Being a history buff I have loved to find out more of the famed city. I am sure not a single one of the rioters last night was aware that 101 years ago the nation’s first aviation disaster–a blimp that catches fire, buckles and crashes into a bank located next to the Board of Trade Building near La Salle Street—had occurred. That was not so far from where the current madness was underway.
I am most certain that the rioters were not privy to the colorful tales of then-Mayor ‘Big’ Bill Thompson, the stunning elections, racial tensions, bombings, union strife, and so much more that took place in the Windy City that July. What lessons were gained from that time is of no concern to the ones loading up cars with stolen merchandise.
So the news today from the ‘Mag Mile’ is just awful to hear—-and then later when I saw the results of the depraved activity–it just makes me most angry. And what started the insanity was the inability for some to grasp the actual facts about an earlier shooting.
Sunday afternoon in the Englewood neighborhood there was a 20-year-old man who shot at police while they were pursuing him. The criminal was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive. No word on why he thought he should be shooting at the police. But some on social media purported the shooter was a young teenager. Social media did not explain how a teenager shooting at police made the situation more swallowable.
What resulted in the rioting is simply maddening. The looting and vandalism are caught on a bevy of cameras showing people streaming in and out of high-end stores, and throwing merchandise into rental trucks and other large vehicles before driving away. Yes, this is all about social justice!
Reports mounted as the hours continued with people seen breaking large business windows and darting through broken store windows and doors along Michigan Avenue carrying shopping bags full of merchandise. Cars dropped off more people, the videos show, as the crowd grew.
I would be calling out the Illinois National Guard today with orders to stop the chaos. This must not be allowed to start again tonight in Chicago.
Here is Walgreens on the iconic street.
And Lamborghini store.
And on and on.
Jessie Jackson is correct to blast those who took the criminal actions last night in Chicago. “This act of pillaging, robbing & looting in Chicago was humiliating, embarrassing &morally wrong. It must not be associated with our quest for social justice and equality.”
There is a difference between those who truly seek remedies through the political process, and that can and does include peaceful marches, from those who trash businesses that make profits and generate tax dollars so to help fund government programs. Therefore, it is incumbent upon respectable folks who desire to see justice to now call out the ones who created the shameful spectacle on the Magnificent Mile.