By James M. Kushiner -
Years ago when I mentioned to someone I was living in Chicago, I'd often get a reply mimicking tommy guns and Al Capone. (We even had an Al Capone museum here for a few years.) But today, many ask me about the shootings taking place here daily. Over Memorial Day weekend, this year, 69 people were shot. Thankfully, I live some distance from the areas where the vast majority of such violent attacks take place, but it does make you pause and think about the future of the city. A sane man might ask why is this allowed in the United States of America, the land of free and the home of the brave.
According to Heather MacDonald (WSJ, June 16, "How Chicago's Streets Became the Wild West"),
Someone was shot in Chicago every 150 minutes during the first five months of 2016. Someone was murdered every 14 hours, and the city saw nearly 1,400 nonfatal shootings and 240 fatalities from gunfire.
Why? Because of the "Ferguson effect" and an "ill-advised deal with the ACLU."
In March 2015, the ACLU of Illinois accused the Chicago PD of engaging in racially biased stops, locally called "investigatory stops," because its stop rate did not match population ratios.
So, the City made a deal:
Despite the groundlessness of these racial-bias charges, then-Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and the city's corporation counsel signed an agreement in August 2015 giving the ACLU oversight of stop activity.
A new form must be filled out to record "investigatory stops." "The new form, called a contact card, was two pages long, with 70 fields of information to be filled out….and takes at least 30 minutes to complete. Every card goes to the ACLU for review."
Police stops dropped nearly 90% in the first quarter of 2016. Police previously had taken thousands of weapons off the street via stops.
Police have said it's not the forms, it's the ACLU. Why should a private advocacy group be given such power over public safety?
Meanwhile, amidst the gunfire, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has succeeded in getting the City Council to update a transgender bathroom ordinance so that bathrooms are open to whoever wants to use them if they self-identify as whatever sign happens to be on the bathroom door. No questions.
The secular state requires its law enforcement officers, who otherwise can't be trusted, to document for the ACLU why they stop suspicious-looking characters; but it trusts any man who wishes to invade a women's lavatory on his say-so. Of course, he need not say so. He won't be asked; any policeman called in might have to fill out a form and hand it over to the ACLU.
Wild West? Worse than that. At least the Wild West (and Al Capone) knew the difference between men and women.
Okay, I got that off my chest…What does this have to do with Christianity? In fueling shootings in the name of justice, we see moral confusion. The deliberate rejection of commonsense and an objective moral order is a sign of a doubling down on a deeper spiritual rebellion. As I've said before, I write from the precincts of Gadara, which have asked Christ to vacate the public places, as he is unsettling to the desires of some. I say, go ahead and occupy public places with the sign of his Cross, which fills the whole world with an invitation to all prodigals to return to the Father. Sometimes a return begins with the return of clarity: I'm starving and my Father has food.
Yours for Christ, Creed, and Culture,
James M. Kushiner
Executive Director, The Fellowship of St. James