Chicagoland:: Chicago Land: Gangs, Guns, Drugs and Schools; What Are We Missing?

GANG TURF OR CHICAGO LAND? WHAT DO WE LIVE IN AND ON?

According to the news media in Chicago, it is gang turf that sees these violent incidents. But IS IT REALLY? A closer look at how the mass media and media blitz and spin campaigns affect us and our moods, our society, and our lives is in order. And there is more to it as well.

Wrapped up in the Chicago local scene issues revolving around public schools (the so -called neighborhood schools) is this wording in the news reports that students would have to cross “gang territory” to go to other schools if some schools close. GANG territory? Come on now, folks.

All the news people are doing is sensationalizing and making light of the real problem of lack of community service and involvement on all levels of society and within every ethnic and racial group and organization within a certain area that sees the worst violence.

We can learn a great lesson from reading the excellent book Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson. The book details the effects on our environment caused by highly toxic chemicals such as DDT, dieldrin, and other chemicals and sprays used to control insects and diseases. Instead of having the effect of eradication in many cases, the insects became resistant to many of the chemicals and people started to develop diseases such as the cancers that now plague our nation. The natural world has its own checks and balances in which humans have interfered to our blight and detriment and ruin. Carson’s book details all aspects of that issue and concern, from the big talk of the chemical producers to the straight talk of researchers and doctors about the nature and results of the use of these chemicals.

As we can learn from reading Silent Spring, there are ways to solve problems but we need to do more than rush headling into whatever the media says and reason that just because it is “on TV” or “on the radio” or “on the Web” that it must be right, proper, perfect, good and best. WRONG. All it is… mass produced and played and re -played until we are tired of hearing what the corporate news networks have to say. We act or we do not. We listen or we do not; we press mute or we do not. It is the will to or the will not to that is the foundation of any behavior, and the media people could easily make changes to their styles of writing and reporting if they so desired.

Well, if the “media corporate people” do not want to make the changes, the rest of us must make the changes so the journalists will TAKE NOTICE and REPORT on the changes we are making and not on what they want us to see, do, hear, or act on. We know what our problems or issues or concerns or challenges are. We see them in our communities every day without some hotshot anchor reporter coming on at a set time every day and spinning the tired threads of “news” and “breaking stories” from their viewpoints.

So some news station talks about the “gang turf” thing in regards to the schools; well, what else is there to do but be rid of the gangs and the reasons why there is “gang turf” in the first place! Same applied in Silent Spring; get rid of the cancer -causing chemicals instead of trying to keep on finding cures for the cancers. Unless we are rid of what or who causes the problems we will keep having the problems! How to be rid of the gangs or the drugs or whatever is causing the attraction to a certain area and catching people in these incidents that claim lives in Chicago every weekend now, is what we need to focus on. The police cannot do it alone, so we need more help. If order needs to be restored then SWAT and the National Guard ought to be called in to patrol these areas and watch out so that the good citizens can go about their business and not be worried off the sidewalks and playgrounds by some nasty gang banger or idiot out for revenge who gets a case of mistaken identity.

Gangs are like a cancer on the face of society; and all that is related to the gangs is the same. We do not need them or want them and must do all in our power to act now, same as for the “gun control” issue. ACT NOW, as Giffords said to Congress. America is counting on you to act now and not waste time. Lives are being lost every day to people who are angry, who are out for revenge, who are greedy and arrogant and bent on having their way with certain areas to get their drug and gun businesses going and keep people terrorized.

That is how some people think they get and keep power. These people are nothing but cowards… dangerous cowards though because somehow they get the guns and the drugs and the open ranges to sell them, use them, and get them from the cartels that pump these guns and drugs into American towns and cities and homes and schools.

What is the problem or what are the problems, then?

It was someone else’s land before it became “gang turf”. It was and is CHICAGO LAND, it is the land of good citizens and law -abiding citizens, that’s whose land it is. It is the land of children, workers, bus drivers for the CTA and PACE, the land of first responders who put their lives on the line every shift. It is the land of the free and home of the brave, of families with young kids in school, families trying to make it in tough times, people working hard to keep a home and a yard and live decently and in peace. It is not gang land, and never will be. The media makes it “gang turf” but the citizens of Chicago can reverse that trend.

We must then be what the slogan says: free and brave, so we can keep this the land of the free and the home of the brave, and have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

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Guns in the Media: My Round’s For Superintendent McCarthy

IN (SELF) DEFENSE OF CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT McCARTHY’S “FIVE POINTS”

Gun control has taken a different turn here in Chicago with our CPD superintendent coming out with the following points regarding how to promote more gun control. Now each is perfectly good, but it is the way Mr. McCarthy put his views into words that needs a little clearing up.

Gun reasonability and gun accountability are the words I believe he used in the article aired on News Radio WBBM in Chicago. Now on the surface these sound right, but let us consider some basic grammar and writing pointers. Guns are inanimate objects meant for one purpose, being to inflict quick and serious, violent harm and injury upon a person, animal, or other object, and one shot is all that is needed. The old saying is “guns do not kill people; people kill people”. A gun cannot be accountable or reasonable. It should be stated that only the person in possession of that firearm is both ACCOUNTABLE and REASONABLE. The gun has no mind of its own, and only the person with the gun has the mind and the will of how to use that gun.

As stated in an online article from the Chicago Tribune:

“McCarthy also outlined five steps that he said would cut down on gun violence and prevent felons and gang members from acquiring guns: banning assault weapons; banning high-capacity magazines; requiring background checks for anyone who buys a gun; mandatory reporting of the sale, transfer, loss or theft of a gun; and mandatory minimum prison sentences for people convicted of illegally possessing a gun.”

The first two steps he speaks to, the banning of assault weapons and high -capacity magazines, suit me just fine. Though I might need a firearm for home defense I certainly have no need for something high -powered, high -round, with magazines of dozens of rounds and the power to mow down dozens of people in a few seconds. Military -style weapons belong in the hands of only those IN the military, active duty people with honorable records, as the type of veteran Wal -Mart wants to hire in a few months. Only in rare instances should anybody even need something as power driven as a machine gun or assault -style weapon, and then only in a war zone. Somewhere around the world where our troops are engaged we might need them, but certainly not on our streets or in our communities or for hunting or recreation.

Want to take your stresses out? Don’t need to take them out that way. Best try a vacation, a meditation sesssion at a temple or church or a spa day, or some exercise, or even getting out your cooking supplies and making a fresh, wholesome meal, or even going out, anything to get your mind away from taking your mind out for a rolling jaunt with an assault rifle. Using guns is a coward’s way out of situations, and using a machine gun only makes things worse. Children could be in harm’s way, innocent people could be in harm’s way, families could be in harm’s way. Why would you want such chaos and trouble to rain down on someone else? Suppose it was YOUR kid or parents or grandparents in the line of fire- would you want that? One thing is sure, around Chicago if you go after someone with the intent to murder, you might just draw the ire of someone down on you and your household or school. Guns used improperly bring nothing but trouble.

The lessons of West Webster, New York and Newtown, Connecticut, should teach us that much: the same weapon was used in both incidents, and innocent people were targeted. In Webster firefighters on a response to a residential blaze were gunned down and two died, and others were seriously injured. And we all know what happened in little Newtown, with the massacre of children and adults at the elementary school. Our firefighters and police officers put their lives on the line every single day they are on the job, and they are here to protect and serve and educate us; the children are the future of this nation and world. These are some of the most humble and innocent and loving people we have in our country, people we can learn so much from.

Point three of McCarthy’s Five take in these points: requiring background checks for anyone who buys a gun; mandatory reporting of the sale, transfer, loss or theft of a gun. It is so common sense that everyone who wants the privilege and honor of having any kind of firearm should be checked out with as detailed a background check as is possible. Check for anything unusual, signs of severe menal illness, suicide tendencies or talk of wanting to harm or kill another person for any reason at all, felonies, jail time, arrests, records of abuse of people or animals, anything that might raise a caution flag in the eyes of a doctor or of a law enforcement official.

Reporting the sale, transfer, loss or theft of a firearm is also essential, in order to keep track of these dangerous implements floating around in our society. Other things should be reported from a theft, such as jewelry, cars, and the like, so all the more vital that firearm theft, transfer, or sale or loss is immediately reported. It is up to the owners of guns to make as detailed records as possible, including photographs from many angles, serial numbers, and any unusual details about the weapon, such as wear patterns, decorations, engravings, etc. We must be able to know where weapons are or what they might be used for; if there has been an armed robbery in an area or guns have been stolen from a home or business, the moment it is known that these weapons are out of sight of their owners or not under proper lock and key, law enforcement and the community need to be informed in order to watch for the weapons or for suspicious activity in the area.

The next point is imposing a minimum prison sentences for people convicted of illegally possessing a gun. I think that anyone who goes so boldly into breaking the law and intending murderous or harmful purposes needs to be taught a lesson and be made fit to be in society again. They need to be put to labor appropriate for their strength and health and mental state in order to learn patience, something useful to get them back into society, and supervision- they need to know in every way possible that they will be watched, that breaking the law is not a good idea, and that they will now have a record that will possibly taint their re -entry into the workplace. They need to feel that booking process, the jail suit, hear the doors closing, see the bars and the heavy doors on the cells, and the misery that accompanies a stay in a prison.

Perhaps if prison is made heinous enough to be in right at the outset many people would most likely want to do everything they could to stay out of such a place. Prison is not a place any sane person, anyone who knows the awful conditions that can be there, the feelings surely of loneliness, of hearing odd noises and getting odd smells, no privacy, unusual food, a cold bed and a cold small window, and odd company. Just ask any preacher who has done prison ministry; I think they could tell you it is one of the worst places someone could find that they have ended up.

The points Mr. McCarthy puts forward make sense, and I will support him in any way possible.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

RESOURCES

1. Chicago’s Top Cop again calls for more gun laws. Article found at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-01-12/news/chi-chicagos-top-cop-again-calls-for-more-gun-laws-20130112_1_gun-laws-gun-violence-debate-over-gun-control. Accessed 15 January 2013.

Mayor Minimalizes Marijuana? What Will This Cause?

Minimalize the small to focus on the large… think again. The consequences could be worse than the possession of the minimal amount of marijuana, such as 15 grams.

English: Four ounces of low-grade marijuana, u...

English: Four ounces of low-grade marijuana, usually referred to as a quarter-pound or QP. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is said that one does not build the roof before building the rest of the house first. You do not start with the windows; you begin with laying out the land and constructing the foundation. Starting with the small and the basic is the essence of learning anything. In the case of troubles plaguing communities in and near Chicago, where do we begin to solve issues such as poverty, the presence of powerful and invasive narcotics, guns and gangs and litter and graffiti, run-down structures that are very dangerous, and streets that need potholes repaired? Where to begin? With more police presence? With grass roots efforts, with marches, with family talks and stable households?

In the Bible, remember, Joseph did not get his start in Egypt right in the royal court of the Pharaoh. He began by doing small household tasks, by concentrating on the basics of the daily doings of the home of an official. He did not get his first offering being second-in-command in the country; he began work as a servant. Only after extreme difficulty, only after much testing and trial, did he get the calling to come to the royal court and end up preparing Egypt to endure years of famine. He did not start out wearing the fine linen and the golden chains of power and authority; he had to work, endure, and patiently wait for his calling, his chance.

What message, the news media and concerned citizens have every right to ask, will this minimalizing of possessing certain amounts of marijuana, will this statute send to those who have it? Sure you can fine them and use the money for community programs and drug or gang reduction, and leave the police to pursue those who are committing larger or more violent crimes, but the message you send is the same. You can do something small and essentially get away with it.

What happens then when you have to do something big, or get into a situation greater than those you have met with in the past? What happens when you neglect the small and the basic in favor of looking just at the larger situation or the big picture? You will find the obvious- that there are pieces missing from your tapestry, that characters are missing from your painting, that something is not in the photograph… that an important feature is not in your story or your view. You will find that you have been concentrating on the completion of the big project without looking at the smaller threads… the building blocks, the basics of what makes the project work and what will make it a success.

Simply put, you have put the wall before the bricks that make up the wall. That’s not the proper approach to making a plan work.

Having marijuana is a crime, no matter the amount, and that is how it should be. Possession is possession- of one gram or a thousand grams, of a few dollars’ worth or a few million $$$ worth. A crime is a crime- murder is still murder no matter what ‘degree’ the legal system places on it. A life is taken; a life is destroyed by violence or drug addiction or the use of drugs.

The possession of narcotics must not be made a trivial matter. When something is trivial, you can look at it literally in three ways (tri + via= three ways). Any way you look at the problem of strong drugs and illegal narcotics and the abuse of these drugs, it is drugs+ gangs+ guns and taxes+ death+ troubles. Serious troubles all around for everybody, whether directly involved by seeing the situations, knowing someone on drugs or dealing them and not saying anything to the proper authority, or indirectly involved by having to pay taxes for first responder overtime, downgrades in revenue for productive purposes, and lagging community development.  Trivializing so hot and potent and troublesome an issue is sure to lead to more difficulties for everyone. Besides, if you need to get the police involved, go the distance- arrest, read the rights, take to prison and give the offenders a taste of that side of the life of crime. Otherwise you get a few hundred dollars out of someone and they can continue to use and abuse.

Minimalize the crime and punishment, you minimalize the sense of harm, danger, trouble-rousing, and community service and personal responsibility.

The 15 grams or less of marijuana the police find on someone could still be used later in an act that results in someone being shot, killed, injured in a wreck, or otherwise violently harmed in body or spirit. A fine of $100 to $500 is not likely to be missed by a dealer or a heavy user- if they want the drugs or money badly enough they will find ways to get it and replace what was confiscated. The point must then again be emphasized:

Minimalize the crime and punishment, you minimalize the sense of harm, danger, trouble-rousing, and community service and personal responsibility.

Marijuana Seed on Fingertip

Marijuana Seed on Fingertip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Divi Logan for ®EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.

Chicago Clergy Denied Entrance to Morgue: What a Travesty!

 

Wide angle shot of hospital morgue

Image via Wikipedia

CLERGY DENIED ACCESS TO CHICAGO MORGUE

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. And said, “Where have ye laid him?”  They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, “Behold how he loved him!” And some of them said, “Could not this man which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?” Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, “Take ye away the stone.”

Marth, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.” Jesus saith unto her, “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid.

Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I know that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.”

And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” (John 11: 33 – 43, King James Version. Words of Christ in red and for emphasis.)

___________________________________________________________

Says plenty, does it not? The last thing the medical examiner’s office should ever have done was deny the clergy the right to enter and see to the dead as best they could. The news story on WBBM News Radio 780 spoke volumes about the poor conditions of the morgue, yes, but also to the shame of the officials running the facility.

The one clergyman said it right when he told the reporter that the minsters are there for the dead and the living. And people who want to see a body are subjected to such dreadful conditions as are being noticed in the morgue. Just awful, terrible, and such an arrogant thing for the officials to bar the clergy and deal with the situation with dignity and integrity. At least the clergy were allowed to say a prayer for the dead at the facility, and it is good they were left in peace to perform that service.

All right, if the present ME is such a fine doctor as our esteemed County Board President says, let her leave the ME post, a position she plainly cannot handle with proper dignity, and go back to a private practice. Let someone be found to handle the morgue with respect to the living and the dead, someone who understands how important it is to maintain that facility with care and discipline and integrity. And if it is not a crossing of lines between church and state, let there be the clergy element installed in the morgue, if nothing then for the counsel and assistance of the employees.

It is plain we need a new ME right away yesterday, not next week as things continue to worsen and the story is not set straight. President Preckwinkle, with all your vested authority, get that office set to rights and treat both the living employees who must deal with those conditions of stench and death every day, and the dead, with dignity. Let the clergy in; let them do their duties, give them room to at least bring some peace to the place. Let them be there to counsel the employees.

Otherwise you are doing a “grave” (excuse the pun) dis-service to your country, to God and all decent believers, and to the employees of the morgue and all who have to deal with that situation.

Divi Logan and ®EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, ©2004 – 2012. Please use the e-mail address d308gtb289@aol.com to correspond with the author and for use permission. Courtesy counts. Thanks for cooperating.

Medical Examiner Mess at the Morgue: Cook County’s Body Politics

DIGNITY AND INTEGRITY MISSING AT THE MORGUE? COOK COUNTY AND THE BODY POLITIC ENCOUNTER PROBLEMS AT THE MEDICAL EXAMINER‘S OFFICE.

On the evening news this week were articles about the situation at the Cook County Medical Examiner office. I could only look at a couple of seconds of the video before turning it off. The pictures are disturbing, the images graphic and troubling (and the reporter does warn the viewer of this fact), very hard to look at indeed.

It is plain that conditions at the Cook County Morgue are very bad, and issues regarding the Medical Examiner require immediate resolution. Certainly in the light of the problems, Cook County needs a new M.E., and President Preckwinckle should do her best to locate one at once.

Conflicting evidence given by the M.E. and the employees of the M.E. office regarding the number of bodies in the morgue is one bothersome fact. But it is this author’s opinion that the employees would have the most accurate data, not the bosses or managers all the time. I think we focus too much and too often on the person who has the title of boss or manager or doctor because it looks good and sounds prestigious in a newscast. But I believe the employees would have the most accurate information, as they are around the area the most and should have no reason to lie.

In fact, if the employees do have a reason to lie (or not state the facts completely which is just as bad), then it should be found out why that is. Are they being coerced by the chief, being threatened with firing or pay cuts? The morgue employees, from the oldest or longest-serving, to the newest should be given fair hearing before the county board so that the facts can be known and the truth found out. It is fine for the county board to place an official in the M.E. office to check on things there, but something practical and active has to take place as a result of what is found out.

The travesty is that it is a pity that a decent burial is not a Constitutional privilege, just as are freedom of speech and the press and the right to bear arms and the like. People are all unique and special; we have been put on this planet to do something, to be someone, to achieve something, and everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, living or deceased.

It is in poor judgment to leave people in the conditions seen in the morgue, as pictured on many local news broadcasts. Very hard to see and surely most difficult to be around for the reporters, the employees, and those who have to bear the conditions found. It does not matter if no one loved them enough to claim a body or come forward to see if someone missing is there and thus close a book on a case, perhaps.

Every body deserves a decent burial, not just to be left to settle into a drawer in a cold room, or to be dumped in a mass grave like a pauper. A decent burial does not have to be fancy or cost tens of thousands of dollars; it just has to be conducted with dignity, esteem for the deceased, and some kind words about the special nature of the human race. You do not know the situation of the person and must not judge whether or not they had this or that personality. Committal should be with quiet propriety, in a proper container nicely made and appropriate and protective, and the rest of the ceremony carried out with honor. A chaplain from any department or hospital could be called on to perform the ceremony, adding that extra level of dignity.

There could also be agreement to let some of the bodies be used for medical science. As each person is different, there surely is something to learn from the condition of each person. Care must be taken in this very touchy issue, but perhaps it is a good idea in order to lessen the load in the morgue. Scientific advancement does not always take a smooth road, but there are times when it seems right to allow the use of bodies for the betterment of society and medical technology. Of course, as with any process involving the handling of the dead, there must be dignity exercised if the bodies are given to the use of medical science. There should be some kind of special blessing given for the hope that the cure for diseases will be found, so that the person will not have come on this earth in vain. Then let the body be placed in the hands of the capable and the honorable in the medical community, who will then make the best use of the gift to further the interests of health and science.

Divi Logan and ®EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, ©2004 – 2012. Please correspond for permission-to-use data to the author at e-mail address d308gtb289@aol.com. Courtesy counts. Thank you for cooperating.