Monday, July 19, 2010

Police Killings

In the past two months, three off-duty Chicago police officers have been shot and killed. Even if I wasn't married to a Chicago police officer, I would be outraged.

Two were in uniform, and one was even in a police parking lot. What the Hell is going on here? Doesn't anyone respect the badge anymore? These aren't situations where criminals are exchanging fire to evade arrest. These are cases where they are targeting off-duty officers (I'm not suggesting that shooting a cop in either scenario is justifiable, of course, just that the motives are very different). There was a time not long ago when this would have been unimaginable. Criminals feared the police or at least avoided them. Now they just don't care.

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Chicago's gun control law, their opinion referred to crime being out of control here (it mentioned politicians calling for the Illinois National Guard to be assigned to Chicago streets). It sounded a bit harsh to me then, but clearly they are correct. When the bad guys no longer fear the good guys, the streets really are up for grabs.

Among myriad reasons, this one stands out: The police department is short by two or three thousand officers. How many more officers and regular citizens have to die before the City decides to do something about that?

There's more on this from John Kass, although he predictably blames it on political corruption (Kass is the journalistic embodiment of "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"). Kass' biggest logical error is assuming that money lost to corruption would have gone to fight crime. Knowing Mayor Daley's skewed priorities, that money probably would have funded additional wrought iron fences and median planters.

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