Chi Trib's common sense about the attack on mayor's house . . .

Stand-down of police a bad idea

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By Jim Bowman


Chi Trib editors ask,

What's it going to take for reasonable people to reject, openly and just as loudly, the criminal behavior and destructive tactics of radicals in their midst?

And turns to the Oak Park attack on the mayor's house:

Look at what happened Aug. 25 in Oak Park, a village known for its progressive leanings, for embracing diversity and kindness, for prioritizing racial equity in its institutions. Not good enough, apparently. Protesters seeking to defund the Police Department, along with a laundry list of largely unworkable demands, descended on Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb's home during a virtual Village Board meeting. . . .

According to multiple news reports, the Oak Park protesters chalked and spray-painted vulgarities on the sidewalk. They sat and stood on the mayor's porch and confronted his wife, in her face and not wearing masks, when she returned home. They walked into his backyard and threw eggs at the house, toppled and broke flower pots and furniture, and tore up his garden. They also banged on his windows and doors as he frantically contacted his kids to warn them to stay away that night, he told reporters.

Bad as that was,

The mayor said he asked police who responded to the scene to stand down. But he would have been justified in allowing officers to make arrests and write tickets. In Chicago what we've learned from declining to take action against illegal activity is that you get repeat performances. No consequences leads to more illegal activity.

The stand-down position of police, as they were instructed, during looting throughout Chicago this summer led to more and more theft, destruction and confrontation. See how this works? Ignore crime and it escalates.

The Trib advises:

Back to Oak Park: The protesters at the mayor's house were part of a group called Revolutionary Oak Park Youth Action League. They are younger residents who feel the mayor and trustees haven't listened to them or taken them seriously. So extreme measures were warranted, their defenders argue.

No. That's not how democracy works. You don't get permission to destroy property and harass an elected official and his family because you feel ignored.

You vote. You help elect like-minded people. You run for office yourself. You make change the constitutional way, not through force.

Or so we were taught in school and at home.

But what those young protesters learned on Aug. 25 was that they can engage in the same behavior the next time they disagree with someone. They will be protected by people with a twisted sense of what is an appropriate response. Some Oak Park residents came to their defense, including a village trustee. Arti Walker-Peddakotla, who was elected in 2019 and whose term doesn't end until 2023, refused to sign a letter with her colleagues condemning the destruction.

. . . what happened in Oak Park should serve as yet another example of a minority faction of radicals trying to intimidate a majority of levelheaded residents and taxpayers . . . . Peaceful protests should be just that. When they turn destructive, there should be no defenders in their corner.

Don't know when I heard such common sense from a daily newspaper.

Email: Twitter: @BlitheSp

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