On Monday morning, Aug. 10, 2020, I had a rude, startling awakening. As I tuned in one of the local TV channels for an update of the morning news, a notice flashed on the screen of a developing news story. The news was that Chicago’s Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue had suffered extensive looting on Sunday night.
The news coverage showed an organized attack on businesses on Michigan Avenue just north of the river. It was similar to the attack one month earlier on State Street which coincided with the protest demonstrations of the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. The news coverage also revealed that the attack was coordinated using online social communications media.
This time, however, there were no “Black Lives Matter” demonstrators in the background, and there was no arson. There was a large presence of police, outnumbered, overwhelmed, and outmaneuvered by the commando-like tactics of the looters. The element of surprise served the attackers well. Fortunately, the looting did not spread to suburbs and shopping malls.
The looting attack, presumably, was sparked by a police shooting of a black man on the South Side of Chicago who had engaged the police in a gun fight earlier on Sunday. The short time lapse between the police shooting and the onset of the piracy leads me to speculate that the gun fight was a planned provocation. It was the initiation of a planned mission. The sophistication of the current-day criminal element leaves me outraged, awestruck, and unnerved.
On Sunday, Chicago police arrested more than a hundred looters. Hundreds of high resolution security camera recordings have been viewed and examined for additional evidence and identification of perpetrators. More arrests are pending. To date, some 40 offenders have charges brought against them. To lighten her case load, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx likely will drop charges in many cases as she did with Jussie Smollett, and so turn many robbers loose.
Demonstrators against police brutality seek to defund the police. The two vicious looting attacks upon Chicago’s businesses must serve as a warning that weakened or disbanded law enforcement will leave our communities vulnerable to the looters’ opportunism.
In the aftermath of the looting, numerous community activists stepped up to explain and provide a rationale for the violent attack.
The consensus of their opinions is that it was a catharsis of deep anger in the community. It was a protest of the stifling oppression of communities by systemic racism. Such rationale, however, infers that the violence was racially motivated. Therefore it was a hate crime.
Attempting to downplay or minimize the crime, the community spokesmen suggest that it’s OK to engage in racially biased piracy and looting. They reveal themselves to be just as racist as the racism they pretend to fight. Are they saying that rioting, smashing, looting and burning is an acceptable alternate means to convey that Black lives matter?
America is in a crisis with the insidious toxicity of racism. Defunding the police does not confront racism and it would embolden, enable, and virtually invite the organized criminals to riot, loot, plunder and destroy.