Rahm Emanuel deserves support to fight violence
SW News Herald Sept. 29, 2016
By Ray Hanania
The crime wave in Chicago is so bad that people don’t feel safe walking downtown any more. This weekend, a 54 year old man was shot in his head twice while walking by Millennium Park. Every day and every weekend people are shot and killed, mainly by street gang members.
Emanuel pleaded to both the citizens of Chicago to work with Police and not give them a hard time as they investigate killings. And he pleaded to the police to not dismiss the needs of the city’s residents.
The truth is most police are good Cops who are trying to do their job in a difficult situation. And many of those suspects killed by police are actual street gang members, only a few have been victims of excessive force and even the racism of a few individual police officers.
Emanuel’s plan is simple.
The first is to increase the city’s police manpower by 1,000 additional police officers.
Chicago needs that and needs it right away.
The second is to toughen laws on the ownership of weapons.
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The third initiative is to launch an $8 million plan to bring more jobs to the economically crippled areas of Chicago where gang violence is at its height, feeding on the despair and suffering of the community.
But Mayor Emanuel can do this on his own. He needs your support. Citizens need to stop their knee-jerk response to news reports about crime and the police need to stop their knee-jerk defense of police officers who violate ethical conduct.
A police officer that wrongly shoots an innocent suspect should be punished and thrown out not only of the police department but also the police fraternity. Stop supporting bad cops!
But the community needs to do the same and they need to stop pretending that many of the victims are innocent teenagers but instead are hardened street gang thugs who bully not only their families and friends but also their neighborhoods.
Street gangs are a plague. They need to be wiped out. Government can’t do that without the help of parents who need to take control and responsibility for the actions of their children.
In several neighboring communities, residents have banded together with their governments to form “Parent Patrols” where parents walk with all the children to school.
Children suspected of street gang activity are sent to police run Juvenile Intervention Programs, not only to identify them as children who need help but to help the children understand why street gang membership is a cancer that will destroy the lives of others along with their own lives.
We need a society willing to courageously standup and call the police when they see street gang members causing trouble or bullying others.
The image of a 71 year old man being attacked, beaten and shot by a man who rode by on his bicycle is disgusting. I bet everyone who knew that suspect knew he was carrying a gun and was a troublemaker. But no one dared to standup to him before he was captured.
Mayor Emanuel’s program will only succeed if every resident in Chicago decides to make a difference. Set aside race and racism. Stop berating the Police as an institution. Recognize that individuals who do wrong are just that, individuals, not symbols of their race or their profession.
Do something to help Mayor Emanuel, Chicago. The suburbs are doing it. Why can’t you?
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)