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Question of the day

Wednesday, Oct 13, 2021

* Block Club Chicago

Johneece Cobb was at the gravesite of her nephew, shot to death in 2015, when she got a horrifying call: Her 14-year-old granddaughter had just been shot outside Wendell Phillips Career Academy in Bronzeville.

Police said the shooter laid in wait outside the Bronzeville school as classes were letting out, and “immediately starts shooting” when the security guard opened the door for students leaving the building.

Cobb’s granddaughter, a freshman, was shot twice when bullets pieced the door. The 45-year-old security guard was shot multiple times, police said. He was taken to University of Chicago Hospital in fair condition. […]

Pastor Michael Pfleger, frustrated by the lack of response from City Hall, is calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to declare a “state of emergency” as gun violence continues to plague the city. An online petition created by Brave Youth Leaders — the church’s violence prevention program — has been circulating on social media.

* From that online petition

With this state of emergency we are asking that additional emergency funds be allotted via state grant opportunities to community grassroots organizations/programs for:

    1.Youth Mentoring and After School Violence Prevention Programs, Organizations and Services

    2.Organizations Servicing At-Risk and Criminal Involved Youth under 25 years and younger.

    3.Initiating a Taskforce with the ATF (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) assigned with the IL State Police to gun/drug trafficking and shooting/homicide cases.

    4.Full time mental health/trauma specialists staffing in to public schools and community organizations along with a combination of trade and vocational classes and certification opportunities with college readiness resources for youth.

    5.Incorporating of a Statewide Violence Prevention Office With Grassroot Organizations as Liaisons

* Sun-Times

Pfleger also called on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to declare a state of emergency and come up with a plan on “how we’re going to stop this. It just keeps getting worse.” […]

“How many children, how many lives before we say it’s a state of emergency? We are at a state of emergency now,” Pfleger said. “And I believe that the governor is cautious, doesn’t want to embarrass the city or, you know, overstep the city. I don’t care about feelings anymore.

“I don’t care who’s embarrassed, I don’t care who’s hurt,” he said.

* The Question: What do you think the governor should do about this? Make sure to explain your answer.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - ;) - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 2:39 pm:

    Should have called a state of emergency a year ago. Time to start treating and viewing the violence with the same seriousness they’re giving COVID. They let the city get pillaged and lawlessness take hold, they’ve let more children become victims to violence than all of COVID, and they continue to bury their heads in the sand. Weak.

  2. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 2:40 pm:

    ===Should have called a state of emergency a year ago===

    In order to do what? Answer the question.

  3. - Mason born - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 2:46 pm:

    I’m not sure of the feasibility but I wonder if we could deploy more ISP resources to Chicago. If we could get the County sheriff’s to do extra traffic patrols downstate those officers seem needed more to fight this problem. Again not sure of feasibility.

  4. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 2:48 pm:

    Mason born, Chicago has one of the highest per capita police forces of any big city.

  5. - NotRich - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 2:50 pm:

    Not much the Gov can do.. this is a City issue, the Mayor and her not from here Police Chief, need to do a better job of policing. Haven’t heard jack from Lori or Kim Foxx about targeting gang leaders and making their life miserable..attack the problem..

  6. - Mason born - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 2:56 pm:

    Fair Rich

    I was just trying to put a finger on what the Gov himself could do. I honestly don’t know what could be done that would have a quick result. Even if all ISP did was take over traffic duties to free up cpd officers.

    In short I don’t know.

  7. - Back to the Future - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 2:57 pm:

    Thinking the Governor could come up with programs to improve education and work on ideas to creat jobs. The old standby ideas that make sense.
    Being a rubber stamp for the teachers Union is not helping improve the education of our school children.
    Instead of working against the Mayor, he should work with her.
    It seems Pritzker sole purpose as Governor is to either sit around snd do nothing or support spending programs that put additional stress on the City Budget.

  8. - Mason born - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 2:59 pm:

    I will say that having half the FOP out over a mandate temper tantrum wouldn’t exactly help.

  9. - 2nd floor denizen - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:00 pm:

    The governor should do all of this and more, but what’s really needed is an acceptance that immediate investment in underserved communities is essential, but it won’t solve these problems overnight. It took many years of neglect to create these conditions, and it will take many years of full commitment to reverse that damage. Create incentives for job creation in under served communities. Provide access to child care so parents can go to work. Provide activities for kids to play in recreational sports leagues, which means investing in parks and playground equipment. Better schools (CTU, please help here). Create early connections between high schools and colleges to provide mentorship opportunities and hope. Invest heavily in training non-college bound students in the trades. Incentivize unions to invest in recruiting and training programs for at risk youth. Provide access to health care so people can leave a job for a better job without endangering their health. Protect neighborhoods. Put people who commit crimes with handguns in jail. All of these initiatives take investment, collaboration, private sector buy in, and they take time and patience. There may be no measurable short term impact, but it must be done because it’s the right thing to do.

  10. - In the Know - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:01 pm:

    I question the Governor’s options in this situation. Merely calling for a “State of emergency” (and, what, marshal law?) doesn’t solve the systemic problems that are the root cause here (poverty, disinvestment, lack of government services, schools and municipal investment). My biggest frustration with Lightfoot (as a longtime City resident) is her myopic approach to fighting the problem of violence endemic to Chicago neighborhoods. Knowing full well that she is a former federal prosecutor, I was not surprised when she tried to police her way out of this situation. However, when positive results were not forthcoming, I was dismayed by her inability to be creative, think outside the box and propose new solutions to this age old problem. One solution that immediately came to mind were the dozens of vacant schools (closed by her predecessor) located in the very neighborhoods where the violence flares. Given the quantity of federal dollars that are currently available to the City (assuming they have not been earmarked for police overtime), they could be used to create community centers - where children and adults alike could get the vocational, education and safe alternatives which the online petition seeks. Again, I question what the Governor CAN do - other than advise on how to invest the billion plus in federal dollars the City has received. Rather, I bemoan the City’s elected leadership’s failure to step up to the challenge.

  11. - FormerParatrooper - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:01 pm:

    The bullet points from the petition are a good start. I would add that more community involvement is needed. Neighborhood watch associations of people who are tired of this should organize and the Gov should direct the Mayor and Alderman to get resources and support so people can organize. Not vigilante style, but more of just being a presence to deter bad actors.

    Nothing will work without the effort of the community involved. No amount of money, no amount of arrests or no amount of prison time will get things under control until people make it clear by their actions they are tired of this and are willing to confront them.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:05 pm:

    === Being a rubber stamp for the teachers Union is not helping improve the education of our school children.===

    Huh? So it’s the teachers union’s fault?

    ===Instead of working against the Mayor, he should work with her.===

    Lightfoot is not a victim to Pritzker not giving help. If I’ve learned anything during the Lightfoot term is that gaslighting, bullying, and being a victim is how Lightfoot sees her role in problem solving.

    To the post and the question,

    If the governor wanted to wade into this, going at the ward level, the statehouse level and trying to promote programs and aiding in community involvement, not a “blue ribbon discussion” in these communities but programs that allow a greater presence in community not as much policing and let the “city” and the “mayor” focus on law enforcement.

  13. - Pundent - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:05 pm:

    =Chicago has one of the highest per capita police forces of any big city.=

    We often lose cite of this. The idea of sending in more cops (or the National Guard) will not solve this problem. And it wouldn’t have prevented the death of Johneece Cobb.

    Instead of reflectively saying we should go after the gang leaders maybe we should stop and consider why they’re in gangs in the first place? These neighborhoods have been neglected for decades while other parts of the city have flourished. Hopelessness breeds crime. That’s the problem. And it’s one that we haven’t put enough resources behind. While we’ve had despair in our communities we’ve had mayors more focused on planter boxes in the loop and cows on parade.

    If we aren’t willing to invest in these communities and provide better alternatives to gang life we can’t act surprised when crime becomes pervasive. Pfleger, who I often disagree with hits on part of it. We have to start earlier by targeting kids that are at risk. But beyond that we have to give them some reason to be hopeful. Good paying jobs in and around their communities would be a start. Otherwise you’ll continue to see two scenarios; those lucky enough to get out, and those who succumb to the circumstances and plight that many before them have suffered.

  14. - Back to the Future - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:06 pm:

    Good suggestions, but on creating jobs the Governor created a process for the issuance of marijuana licenses that excluded all Blacks, Latinos and Women.
    He needs to realize that Chicago and it’s diverse population are also part of Illinois.

  15. - Cool Papa Bell - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:12 pm:

    Why are there other “big” cities in the nation that don’t have the crime problem Chicago does and what can be replicated here to help?

    It used to be we need jobs in those communities, now we have good paying jobs everywhere and that doesn’t seem to be fixing it.

    There isn’t much more that can be done to crack down on guns, Illinois already tries and does more than most.

    I think all the Governor can do is try to funnel more money and resources to violence prevention programs (they work) and try to get local leaders to act locally.

    Its a massive problem, and to think this is any one persons fault or created problem won’t help. The state has resources, the city has local know how as to where the worst of the crime is. And community leaders should have the respect and voice of area to help stop violence being the end result of a dispute.

    Everyone needs to do something, including a personal decision by someone to not carjack somebody or point a gun and pull the trigger.

  16. - Phineas Gurley - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:20 pm:

    He should invite the Mayor and SA Foxx to join him for services at St. Sabina with Father Mike. Heh.

  17. - Yup - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:22 pm:

    Gun violence is an epidemic. There are always witnesses, and the perps usually don’t keep quiet about their actions. Yet arrests and convictions for shooting crimes remain dismally few. Too many in the community are not coming forward with information to arrest and convict these mopes. Funding bounties on shooters is one thing the Governor could do. And, he could fund witness protection. However, until public trust in CPD is restored, there is little any Governor can do to curb this epidemic.

  18. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:23 pm:

    If the governor wanted to wade into this, going at the ward level, the statehouse level and trying to promote programs and aiding in community involvement, not a “blue ribbon discussion” in these communities but programs that allow a greater presence in community not as much policing and let the “city” and the “mayor” focus on law enforcement.=

    I like that a lotr, very nice.

    Community policing has proven to be very successful. And communities may need to take a leap of faith and jump in with the city. I understand that may be hard since they have been underserved or felt betrayed in the past.

  19. - ChicagoBars - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:31 pm:

    Cops I talk to keep saying more license plate readers and helicopter support would help with both carjackings and retaliatory gang shootings in Chicago.

    Per last City budget hearing somebody is donating a new helicopter to CPD but won’t be ready to spring, and per local CPD neighborhood meeting each plate reader is an unfathomable $30k to install.

    Loaning CPD some ISP helicopter resources, if they even exist would help, few million more for more local plate readers, not just expressways, seems to be what CPD says will help.

    Also helpful but not Governor’s toolbox - US Attorney dropping indictments like today’s Federal racketeering indictment tied to a gang hit last summer in the Gold Coast.

  20. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:41 pm:

    Isn’t it obvious? He should bring in the National Guard (banned punctuation).

  21. - Blue Dog - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:44 pm:

    Send 50% of ISP into the problem area. Lobby for stop and frisk. Work with the fedss on mukriome gang task forces. Send the guard for traffic ticket duty

  22. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:45 pm:

    === Isn’t it obvious?===

    If it’s obvious, what exactly is the mission for the soldiers? Occupation?

    Be specific how you’d approach using the NG, no snark.

  23. - Blue Dog - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:46 pm:


  24. - Downstate - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:46 pm:

    1. More cameras.
    2. More dead end streets.
    3. Enforced curfews between 11pm and 5am in certain sections of the city. If you have to be out, you have to travel through a check-point. I know it’s rather draconian, but the current “community programs” aren’t touching the problem.
    4. Use some community dollars as rewards for identifying gang activity, hangouts and crimes.

  25. - Northside Barber - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:49 pm:

    What is to be done? First off, the teachers unions are zero to do with this problem. It’s a multiple cause problem. Arne Duncan is right there needs to be more wrap around services for these troubled youth. Many schools need to be turned into quasi-orphanages . You have kids who’s parents can’t afford to provide 3 meals in the summer. That’s all you need to know. They can’t afford to be parents. If you can’t afford to take care of your children it’s time to consider other options.

  26. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:50 pm:

    ==I will say that having half the FOP out over a mandate temper tantrum wouldn’t exactly help.===

    Color me cynical, but I’m not sure it will hurt and I don’t think anywhere near half are going to say buh bye to a paycheck, but I digress…

    To the question - this isn’t a problem that a ’state of emergency’ and any other quick action can solve. This is a problem decades in the making and will take years minimum to reign in.

    I don’t have solutions, but I suspect it starts with things like community anti-violence programs, increased funding for and better *public* mental health services, job assistance and affordable housing.

  27. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:51 pm:

    adding…all of which are things the Governor could do but would likely not see the benefit of while he was still in office

  28. - Bob Meter - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:57 pm:

    The Illinois State Police haven’t exactly done a bang up job of curtailing expressway shootings and murders in the City. I sure don’t think they are part of the answer here.

  29. - Exhausted in Chicago - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:58 pm:

    Use ISP for border checks to stem the flow of guns from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan

  30. - Perrid - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 3:59 pm:

    Creating a bunch of programs by executive order or the like doesn’t seem workable. If we want to find the programs, cool, but I think it needs legislation

  31. - Amalia - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 4:11 pm:

    #3 is a good thought. the rest is just funding small groups that may or may not succeed. the main problem is in the City of Chicago, but with multiple jurisdictions of arrest and prosecute and try, the only person who can pull everyone together is the Governor. I believe many of these entities sit on the ICJIA which is mostly a think tank and fund group, but there’s a table, use it. have everyone come to that table with what they are doing, use it as a forum to push for cooperation and change and ask for further solutions. it’s not a task force, it already exists and they meet, if they function as in previous years. we might also recognize the difference between NYC and LA and Chicago and it involves racial makeup. Racism has put us in the hole we are in. But that should not be an excuse for so many Black people dying.

  32. - Homebody - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 4:13 pm:

    This is a problem that took decades to create, and likely will take decades to solve. The constant focus on quick-fix solutions is to the detriment of long term systemic improvements to the city, particularly for the benefit for those communities which are the largest sources and largest victims of this behavior.

  33. - DuPage - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 4:18 pm:

    Get the state AG to take over violent crime cases, get the feds to take over felons with guns cases. Bypass Kim “let them go” Foxx altogether.

  34. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 4:27 pm:

    It’s an impossible ask, but Pritzker maybe should propose legislation that ends incarceration for lower-level drug offenses. It’s a waste of resources to keep going after and locking up certain nonviolent offenders. From the law enforcement/criminal justice side, we should be smarter about who we arrest and lock up. We should use more resources to arrest and lock up the violent. Why are we paying to incarcerate so many for victimless crimes, like adults selling small amounts of drugs to other adults?

  35. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 4:27 pm:

    ===Get the state AG to take over violent crime cases===

    You’d need to change state law for that. You’d also need a massive appropriation and a huge hiring binge, which would probably take years.

  36. - anon - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 4:39 pm:

    Maybe look at what New York City and LA have done and mimic it. The dont have near the problem.

  37. - Cable Line Beer Gardener - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 5:07 pm:

    Use the field houses and schools for nutrition education.
    Get rid of the lead water pipes.
    Start teaching some sort of life skills in the schools
    Invest in safe shooting ranges-
    Arrange for public subsidized transportation to and from jobs
    Enlist retried folks who can mentor the younger kids.
    Don’t hire more cops hire more social workers and pay them a living salary

  38. - Tall one - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 6:03 pm:

    1) call for a review of laws to open more opportunities for prosecutors.
    2) investigate supplements to police like violence interrupters.
    3) lavish rewards for information on illegal guns.
    4) push on the door cause, some analog of the CCC to give street kids a differ t view of life.

  39. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 6:11 pm:

    Comparing Chicago to LA and NYC is wrong. LA is 5 hours away (no accidents or traffic jams) from easy access to firearms (Las Vegas). NYC is about the same distance from easy access to firearms (Virginia). Chicago’s easy access to firearms … is across State Line Road.

  40. - BCOSEC - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 6:49 pm:

    Is the gun violence in Cook and other urban/suburban areas rooted in substance abuse issues?

    Here on the frontlines rural Downstate almost all serious crime has meth as a component.

    Drug courts have been about the only successful criminal justice initiative to combat meth. Much more and permanent funding is needed.

  41. - charles in charge - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 6:50 pm:

    == Enforced curfews between 11pm and 5am in certain sections of the city. If you have to be out, you have to travel through a check-point. I know it’s rather draconian, but the current “community programs” aren’t touching the problem.==

    Yeah, that is really draconian. And I suppose that by “certain sections of the city” you mean “neighborhoods where poor black people live”? Am I understanding you correctly, Downstate?

  42. - levivotedforjudy - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 7:12 pm:

    The social equity ideas are good long-term, but what about next weekend? The approach has to be an “all of the above” approach to me. The “interrupter” programs do seem to work. Not perfect, but has impact. The State could designate funding ASAP. The crimes are occurring everywhere, so more State troopers for expressway shootings. Chicago is not the crime or gun violence capitol of the U.S. I think St. Louis, Detroit are worse. The State has a partial role in this, but JB is not Batman.

  43. - AD - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 9:18 pm:

    Fund for all of Chicago (and other areas in Illinois with high crime) to have video surveillance. Went to London a few years ago and was amazed with how many cameras they had and read that it’s as many as 500k throughout the city. With technology now, I think you could do something similar. Didn’t really feel like my privacy was violated either, you just know that when in public, you’re probably on camera.

  44. - granville - Wednesday, Oct 13, 21 @ 9:51 pm:

    This is a tough one, because the resources and personnel needed are probably not available at the state but the federal level. (Which is maybe what Rich was getting at here.)

    If I had to come up with a proposal:

    1. Chicago’s gangs are entrenched as firmly if not more so than the Five Families in New York were in the 1970s. This is going to take Bureau and federal prosecution resources and most importantly TIME on the same scale.

    2. I am not a sociologist but what I’ve read about the epidemic model of violence and the public health model seemed sensible. (I’ve also seen some very bad interpretations of that. I think the main point is the people who are driving violence is a very small group, mostly already known to law enforcement.) This is a place where state funds and programs could help. Running CeaseFire, which was a program based on this, for exactly one year and then shutting it down was absurd.

    3. Is there a role for the state in attempting to remedy the mental health crisis? There is really no doubt that some of the most awful, random acts of violence are being committed by the mentally ill. We all know the story by heart now: we closed the (bestial) state institutions, and a medical issue became a law enforcement issue. What can we do about it? This is something that absolutely can be done locally, even in targeted trial programs - it’s not like a narcotics or benefits program where critics will claim you’ll start attracting junkies from out of state. I imagine the cost of repeated incarceration of just a small number of mentally ill homeless people is astronomical.

    As I mentioned, I see a role for the state government in the latter two, though not the first, which is arguably the most important for swinging public morale to tackle the latter two.

  45. - Brown Bear - Thursday, Oct 14, 21 @ 6:01 am:

    1. New leadership in the City
    2. New leadership in the County
    3. New leadership at the Cook County States Attorney
    4. Witnesses and family members coming forward
    5. Honest Collaboration
    6. Reinstatement of the death penalty

  46. - Harriett - Thursday, Oct 14, 21 @ 6:53 am:

    A wealth tax would go a long way in funding the social programs needed to provide permanent opportunities to lower the crime rate, restore economic fairness and address social inequities resulting from racism and poverty not only in Chicago but across the nation. JB is the perfect Governor to embrace the wealth tax.

  47. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 14, 21 @ 8:05 am:

    ===A wealth tax would go a long way===

    Personal property taxes were abolished in the new constitution.

  48. - Former SB Member - Thursday, Oct 14, 21 @ 8:07 am:

    -easy access to firearms-

    Has nothing to do with it. Federal background checks are required in every state. Straw purchasing is also already a federal offense. These guns are stolen then sold on the street, not purchased at Walmart in Indiana.

  49. - charles in charge - Thursday, Oct 14, 21 @ 8:18 am:

    == Chicago’s gangs are entrenched as firmly if not more so than the Five Families in New York were in the 1970s.==

    That is just not true. Gangs are still around and they play a role in some of the violence that’s happening, but this comparison to 1970’s NYC organized crime is WAY off base.

  50. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 14, 21 @ 8:21 am:

    === -easy access to firearms-

    Has nothing to do with it.===

    So it’s the uneasy access to firearms that’s adding to the violence?

    That doesn’t sound logical.

  51. - Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 14, 21 @ 8:22 am:

    Violence is often “viral”, exposure to violence without help to address the trauma resulting from it often leads to maladaptive behaviors and more violence/trauma. There was a proposal years ago (Wallace- Harper) supported by mental health care providers that inexplicably stalled. Perhaps there’s political will now to move it forward; it’s just one piece of the puzzle but it’s an important one.

  52. - granville - Thursday, Oct 14, 21 @ 10:55 pm:

    ==Gangs are still around and they play a role in some of the violence that’s happening, but this comparison to 1970’s NYC organized crime is WAY off base.==

    From the article:

    ==The motive and cause for 75 percent of nonfatal shootings and a quarter of fatal ones is either left blank or marked as “undetermined.”==

    While I’m glad you acknowledge that “gangs are still around” I don’t think these numbers aremaking any kind of a credible case.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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