Yesterday, we drove back from Minnesota. As I pulled down Wabash an unmarked police car raced down the street in front of me. A policeman got out, left the door to his car open, and drew his gun. He started running.
We wheeled our way into our garage. There were police cars all over Michigan Avenue. That’s where the shooting was.
Turns out, a person on a bicycle shot a person walking on the sidewalk at Millennium Park. You hear a lot of stories about the violence in Chicago. Most of it is contained in one area of the city, not close to where you and your family would be if they were here.
This looks to be a random act of violence, not a gang crime or terrorism. No law in the world would have stopped it.
My neighborhood has the usual city crime. It has a lot of it-but it’s crimes of opportunity. Shoplifting. Stealing personal items from people. Small time robbery. Never shootings. There are bums on every street corner panhandling and many of them have gotten very belligerent. I saw that they are having similar problems in New York City. I have seen the same people panhandling in the same spots for years and years and years. Here is an Instagram of where the shooting was.
We spoke with some news people and some policemen. They got the guy who they thought did it.
The other day, Mayor Emanuel made a speech in front of city council. He’s got some big problems he inherited, and some big ones he hasn’t done anything about. He said he will add a lot of personnel to the police force. Here is the rub.
Of the policemen he is adding, 400-500 are already in the police force. They are getting a promotion. The other bunch won’t cover the normal level of attrition the police force has. The reality is if you do the math, it’s all show but the police force isn’t going to get bigger.
Chicago can’t afford it. Read Wirepoints daily and you will see the plain unvarnished truth.
The biggest crisis Mayor Emanuel inherited is the public pension crisis. 95 cents of every $1 increase in our taxes goes to pay pensions-not for what the tax is designed to fix or improve. No government entity has done anything on public pensions in Illinois. Governor Bruce Rauner has tried, but has been stymied by the Democratic Machine. Anything government has done in Illinois is kick the can down the road. Or, they have rejiggered duration on their bond portfolio’s to have accounting gains-or they have utilized kept auditors or actuaries to make sure the publicly reported numbers aren’t what they really should be because those people make poor assumptions.
The police force in Chicago is overtaxed. They are under assault from independent groups, and from politicians. Certainly, there are some bad apples and they can be taken care of. But, it feels like it’s a part of a much broader organized top down movement. Many of the arrests in Charlotte, NC were not local people. They were imported from out of state. No doubt, it’s because North Carolina is a state in political play. I noticed there were no protests in Oklahoma.
The shootings that go on in other neighborhoods are part of a broader gang war. If the US would change drug policy, the violence would decrease. Milton Friedman was right about the War on Drugs. There is only so much a city government can do to stop that kind of violence, although very liberal gun laws might help. Changing educational policy to allow for school choice would help. Lowering minimum wage and mandatory union laws so people could have better opportunities to find work would help.
Politicians say they want to do something-but their solutions are always the same. More laws, more regulations, higher taxes. At the same time, the gang leaders help them get out the vote, so there is little incentive to change when politicians are just interested in power and not helping the electorate.
If you lose the lakefront and the Loop, you will lose Chicago. My wife and I have always said, upper middle class and wealthy people will put up with a lot to live in a city. They’ll pay taxes to a point and absorb the increased cost, to a point. It is convenient and all the things that come with city living are great. But, as soon as they don’t feel secure, they are out.
We haven’t reached that tipping point, but that’s the way momentum is going right now.
thanks for the link Glenn Reynolds.