Who’s to blame for loot­ing? Every­one, some­one and some­body else

Chicago Sun-Times - - OPINION - PHIL KADNER philkad­ner@gmail.com | @scoop2u

This is aw­ful. It has to stop. Loot­ing by gangs, shoot­ing in the streets of Chicago, drug deal­ing, and a com­plete lack of re­spect for those in author­ity by gosh. Who is re­spon­si­ble? Some­one else. It is al­ways some­one else. Every­one else.

Dur­ing a Mon­day morn­ing news con­fer­ence, im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the out­break of loot­ing, Mayor Light­foot and her po­lice chief seemed to point their fin­ger di­rectly at the Cook County State’s At­tor­ney Kim Foxx and the Cook County court sys­tem.

The loot­ing hap­pened, the po­lice su­per­in­ten­dent said, be­cause the last time it hap­pened there were no con­se­quences for those re­spon­si­ble.

Those ar­rested were al­lowed back onto the streets with­out pun­ish­ment.

The mayor said pretty much the same thing.

But when a re­porter fol­lowed up ask­ing the two lead­ers to name the peo­ple in author­ity who were re­spon­si­ble, the mayor sud­denly be­came an­gry and elu­sive.

The news me­dia wasn’t go­ing to get her to pit one po­lit­i­cal leader against an­other at this crit­i­cal time, she said in ob­vi­ous anger. She wasn’t go­ing to be tricked into that sort of thing.

OK. So why men­tion that stuff about go­ing soft on crim­i­nals? What’s the point?

Every­one must join in to stop this sort of be­hav­ior, the mayor said.

Well, when every­one is re­spon­si­ble, that means no one is re­spon­si­ble. “Every­one” is never go­ing to stand up and say they’re at fault.

If the com­mu­nity was step­ping up, 18-month-old chil­dren in car seats, 8-year-olds on front porches, and 12-year-olds on play­grounds would not be get­ting shot on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

It’s the guns, claims the po­lice su­per­in­ten­dent.

No doubt about it. But why is it that the peo­ple who live in Chicago have so lit­tle re­gard for hu­man life? And if they have so lit­tle re­gard for hu­man life, why in the world would loot­ers have any re­spect for the prop­erty of other peo­ple?

Lead­ers need to come to­gether. Church lead­ers, civic lead­ers, busi­ness lead­ers and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers. That’s what “Every­one” says ev­ery time the out­laws take over the streets of the city.

And then it hap­pens again. And peo­ple die.

The courts need to get tougher, peo­ple say.

But they also say that cash bail sys­tems don’t work. We need to let the poor crim­i­nals back out on the streets pend­ing trial.

Kim Foxx, the state’s at­tor­ney, says it’s not her fault. Every­one needs to pitch in to make things bet­ter. Don’t go blam­ing her. Re­mem­ber the bad old days when po­lice beat false con­fes­sions out of peo­ple and the city paid mil­lions of dol­lars out in law­suits, she said.

Of course, some­where com­mu­nity pro­test­ers are chant­ing to de­fund the po­lice depart­ment, what­ever that means.

We need to spend more to cre­ate jobs and op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­ner-city peo­ple.

But in­ner-city peo­ple lose their jobs when stores are boarded up be­cause of loot­ing. In­ner-city peo­ple are the ones be­ing preyed upon by street gangs and drug deal­ers.

Or­ga­nized gangs us­ing so­cial me­dia were be­hind the loot­ing, say the peo­ple in charge of Chicago, and po­lice couldn’t stop them even when no­ti­fied in ad­vance.

Wow! All right. That’s some sort of state­ment right there.

Lead­er­ship is what’s needed. That means some­one say­ing, “I am your mayor and I’ve got this.”

Or, I am po­lice chief and I will pro­tect you and your chil­dren and your prop­erty from harm.

Or, I am the pros­e­cu­tor and I will send the bad folks to prison.

We all saw the peo­ple haul­ing their loot out of store­fronts, leisurely walk­ing away, or jump­ing into wait­ing car­a­vans of cars, leav­ing be­hind a trail of de­struc­tion.

It’s scary. It’s sad. Chicago is a great city, we were re­peat­edly told by “Every­one.”

You don’t have to keep say­ing it if it’s true.

SCOTT OL­SON/GETTY IMAGES

A win­dow is shat­tered at a Tim­ber­land store on Michi­gan Av­enue, the scene of wide­spread loot­ing late Sun­day and early Mon­day.

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