Friday, August 02, 2002

Rising Above Lawlessness

I'm going to blog more on the repsonses I've had to my posts about Fr. DeVita later today, but first I'd like to share this with you:

No doubt by now most of you have heard about the senseless and primitive outbreak of mob violence in Chicago that led to two men being beaten to death after a traffic accident Tuesday. Two men whose van ran off the road into a house, injuring three girls, were, within moments, set upon by a mob of angry onlookers and beaten to death with stones and bricks. According to witnesses, the perpetrators were egged on by the crowd with shouts of "kill them" and "bash their heads in" and the like. Though more than 80 people witnessed the beating, police have been stymied by a wall of silence in the neighborhood, as people, either fearful or mistrustful of police, have refused to come forward and provide evidence.

I'm from Chicago: I was born there, grew up in the suburbs, and lived there for a couple of years after college. The parish I'm assigned to is almost directly across Lake Michigan from Chicago: we get Chicago TV and radio stations here, and culturally we're very much in Chicago's orbit. The city (when locals here refer to "The City", they mean Chicago) is only an hour and 15 minute drive away. So this story hits home, it hurts to see something like this happen in the city I love and still consider my home.

But there are still people determined to rise above the lawlessness demonstrated by that mob on Tuesday. In a story in today's Chicago Tribune, community leaders are trying to mobilize local residents to fight back against mob violence:

"It will be devastating if the community does not rise to the challenge and address this," [Najee] Ali said as he slipped fliers under the windshields of cars calling for cooperation with police."

Another resident said "This community is trying to get better but there are people who just don't care. You have to get rid of these bad apples."

I for one am glad to see people are still trying to make things better: to rise above lawlessness and vigilantism to promote a more human city. I want the city I love to be a city I can feel proud of loving.