Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ready for your close-up, Chicago?

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By Ray Hanania

I remember watching TV when protesters threw metal barrels through the windows of the Conrad Hilton Hotel and other buildings along Michigan Avenue during the 1968 Democratic Convention.

The convention resulted in clashes between anti-war protesters and an army of police driven by then Mayor Richard J. Daley’s anger at how his city was being disparaged.

That was when things were actually better.

Imagine today. Convention delegates driving through Chicago’s streets and getting carjacked. Delegates trying to enjoy a nice walk down the Magnificent Mile only to be accosted, brutalized and robbed by today’s empowered thugs.

RayHanania 1

Ray Hanania

It’s funny how Gov. JB “Daddy Warbucks” Pritzker and outgoing Mayor Lori “I never met a criminal I couldn’t forgive” Lightfoot are promising a strong police presence to protect outsiders who will come here from 49 states and the nation’s capital.

They can’t even protect the people who live here or in the neighboring suburbs, where crime continues to spill over and test the resolve of tougher suburban mayors who are more intolerant of criminal behavior that either Pritzker or Lightfoot, or Lightfoot’s successor, Mayor-elect Brandon “Defund the Police and Save the Looters” Johnson.

You think I am being unfair or “too mean” in my comments? Maybe you should go ask the relatives of victims like the wife of murdered Chicago Police Officer Andrés Vásquez Lasso, who was killed by a former gun-toting hoodlum who was arrested for gun violence and assault but then released on “community service” by Pritzker and Lightfoot’s buddy, Kim Foxx, the Cook County State’s Attorney who never met a gun-toting criminal she didn’t feel sorry for and release.

Why would anyone think the criminals, who have walked through Walmarts looting retail items in plastic garbage bags undaunted by our impotent criminal code, would be concerned about grabbing the purse, car or life of a delegate from any of the visiting states?

These politicians care more about themselves than they do about the people.

Yes, it is amazing that they managed to get the Democratic National Committee to bring the Democratic Convention to Chicago. Yet they can’t manage to find a solution to rising crime that is worsening not only in incident but in substance.

The boldness of the criminals continues to set new records.

How will Pritzker and Johnson explain wilding? Just a bunch of kids letting out steam, despite the violence and damage and brutality that seems to be played down.

Poor kids. They just need something to do. We need to address the “root causes of crime.” We need to understand the poor little 14-year-olds who wander the streets at 2 in the morning holding loaded guns for their older street gang mentors. Don’t “demonize” the criminal demons.

Most criminals carry around photos of their graduations in cap and gowns, just in case they get nailed, to help their inattentive parent or parents. Or their gangbanger relatives play the Chicago crime lottery and hire an activist and lawyer to file a multi-million lawsuit against the city. Which, by the way, the politicians would rather simply pay than have anyone dig deep into why the crimes took place and the criminals ended up dying.

In today’s bizarro world, a criminal who tries to kill you ends up dying—yet you become the criminal: punished, drummed out of the police department or society. Police kill the criminals and the police go to jail. The criminals kill police and we learn they have been cut so many breaks by our failed criminal justice system that they have been taught the odds are in their favor.

No. What we need to understand are the causes of political stupidity, this ignorant ideology and excuse that criminals steal, beat and kill people because, well, they were not loved enough. They had a single parent. They are poor with no sense of self-respect. What else could they do?

I can tell you right now that if the criminals band together and assault the convention, the police will be blamed for excessive violence if they respond forcefully, as they should. So why should they?

I don’t go downtown anymore. I stay away. I value my life. And I am on guard in the suburbs, too, where crime spillover continues to accelerate and worsen.

At least there are some suburbs that won’t tolerate criminal behavior and condemn the lax attitude of our governor, Chicago’s mayor and the Cook County State’s Attorney who is “living the dream” apparently, retiring to a cushy big-bucks pension rivaled only by the settlements being paid to the families of criminals whose crime sprees came to abrupt end.

Maybe we need a national spotlight on Chicago’s raging crime.

(Ray Hanania is a former Chicago City Hall reporter and award-winning columnist. Visit Hanania.com for more commentary.)

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