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OPINION

Promoting Lawlessness in Chicago

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AP Photo/Paul Beaty

"As long as there exist stupid people supporting stupid governments in their countries, people living in those countries will continue fluttering badly in the cesspool created by this utter foolishness!" - Mehmet Murat ildan (Turkish playwright)

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That didn't take long. The Mayor-elect of Chicago, Brandon Johnson, responded to a group of teenagers who attacked cars and assaulted drivers in the Loop last weekend by what sounds like justification for their behavior. While saying he does not "condone the destructive activity" (there's a euphemism) and that it "has no place in Chicago" (when it increasingly does), Johnson added, "it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities."

The second part of his statement nullifies the first.

Two teens were shot during the incident. Fifteen teens were arrested.

I am betting there are other teenagers in those "starved communities" who don't behave the way some of their peers did. Besides, with Democratic mayors running Chicago for as long as anyone can remember (the last Republican mayor left office in 1931 and Illinois hasn't voted Republican in a presidential race since George W. Bush won in 1988), which party should be blamed for the lack of nourishment?

To watch the video is to see what anarchy looks like. In the chaos, reportedly organized on social media, teens can be seen jumping on top of a bus while others start a massive brawl. A Tesla, said to be worth $120,000, was vandalized. Johnson says he won't commit to hiring more cops.

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From New York City, where District Attorney Alvin Bragg won't prosecute certain crimes and reduces some felonies to misdemeanors, to San Francisco and Los Angeles where the streets resemble a flop house, America seems to be coming apart at the seams. No wonder China's leaders see us in decline. There is ample evidence to support their view, from massive debt to the abandonment of moral guardrails in favor of a "do your own thing" mentality.

The weekly shootings and murders in Chicago have become so routine that it rarely makes national news. Newsweek noted: "The number of homicides in Chicago hit a 25-year high in 2021 with more than 800, according to the Chicago Police Department. That number decreased to 695 last year but is still far higher than when (outgoing Mayor Lori) Lightfoot took office in 2019. Crimes including carjackings and robberies have also increased in recent years."

The cure to lawlessness is not to indulge the lawbreakers by justifying or seeking to explain their behavior. It is to enforce the law. Doing so serves to tell others there are consequences for illegal behavior and justice will be swift and certain. Without law enforcement there is no glue that can hold a city or a society together. Hundreds of Chicago police officers have left the force and the city is having trouble recruiting replacements. Is it any wonder with the "defund the police" movement and growing disrespect for those who feel called to protect and serve?

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What we easily tolerate we get more of and what we strongly oppose we get less of. When lawless behavior is tolerated and leaders who are supposed to keep neighborhoods safe effectively see lawbreakers as depraved because they are deprived, to quote lyrics from "West Side Story," it is a virtual guarantee that some will run wild. As the Proverb says: "Where there is no vision the people cast off restraint." (Proverbs 29:18)

Chicago voters are largely to blame for the mess in their city. They keep electing leaders like Brandon Johnson and Lori Lightfoot. Do they expect different outcomes?

In a famous song about Chicago, Frank Sinatra sings: "One town that won't let you down, it's my kind of town."

Not anymore.

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