Chicago - May. 22, 2018
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The [Thursday] Papers

Programming note: The Papers will next appear on Tuesday.

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McCarthy Madness
"In one startling interview, potential Chicago mayoral candidate Garry McCarthy likely lost not only the black vote in Chicago, but also the vote of those in the sighted community," Eric Zorn writes for the Tribune.

That, my friends, is a great line. It has the added benefit of being true.

Go read the rest of Zorn's evisceration of McCarthy's recent, mind-boggling statements about the Laquan McDonald case. They deserve more attention. Wow.

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Kass's Pain
"City Hall will tell you that downtown Chicago is safe and that yes, things happen, but if you think of it in terms of statistics, it's safe," John Kass writes for the Tribune.

"But what happened downtown Tuesday, at the Thompson Center - just across the street from Chicago's City Hall - is just the kind of thing that shakes people's sense of safety.

"Chicago police commanders aren't supposed to be shot to death, not there, not at the heart of city business and politics."

As with so many John Kass columns in this stage of his career, I can only wonder: Where to start?

1. Ignore the stats. Go by feel - perhaps the feel you get from Fox News.

2. People's sense of safety is shaken by what happened Tuesday because it was downtown. What people? Downtown people, the only people who are actually people, in Kass's construction, because a lot of other people have had their sense of safety shaken - if it ever existed - long ago.

Perhaps what Kass means is that his sense of safety has been shaken, because the killing of a cop happened so close to the office he has commuted to for decades from the suburbs.

3. Police commanders aren't supposed to be shot to death. Who is? Thugs. They're supposed to be shot to death.

It's so predictable. Since, well, forever, the media expresses shock over terrible events that happen in places where they aren't supposed to. The accretion of those events doesn't seem to teach us that they actually happen everywhere, to all kinds of people. Certainly not with the same regularity, but then, that's an equation the media ought to continue to examine with renewed vigor and compassion.

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"Now comes the politics, the finger-pointing, and the political angles taken to benefit one side or another, none of them benefiting the police. Included on this list will be the suspect's criminal record, whether he was treated leniently, how he got the gun. All of it will come out."

This is Classic Kass, always rueing in the aftermath of a tragedy that politics will rush in - as if he's "above" such things. For Kass, politics is a dirty enterprise he's been forced to taint himself with by devoting his (lucrative) career to it. Another view is that politics, as horribly as it is usually practiced, is the way a democracy works out its problems and decides how to organize its society. Politics is exactly what we need right now - just not the kind of politics drenched in cynicism by bad actors. Like Kass's buddies. But then, this is Kass's variation of the conservative call to not talk about, oh, say, guns just yet. There will be time for that later. They'll let us know when.

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"But right now I'm thinking of the cops, like one I talked to just as the news about Bauer was breaking. I'll call him Joe.

"Retired now, he spent his life as the real police - meaning he wasn't a politician or some house cat or a climber connected to an alderman. He put his hands on people, making arrests in Chicago."

Unlike all the cynics, Kass is thinking about cops. And not just any cops, but real cops. Cops with names like Joe. The rest of us aren't thinking about cops at all!

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"The rest of us who don't know the life, we look at police as men and women who make arrests, the people who put muscle behind the laws, or as human actors leveraged in political dramas about excessive police force. But it wouldn't hurt us to think of them as somebody's son or daughter, because they are that too."

Who is us? I will only speak for myself, informed in part by covering the police in several states: I don't look at the police in any way resembling what Kass describes, and I doubt many others do either. I view police officers as a collection of individuals, both simple and complex, who are highly socialized into highly problematic organizational cultures. I certainly don't view them as "the people who put muscle behind the laws" because policing isn't about muscle in a democracy even if force must sometimes be used. I think about the role of the police in maintaining order, resolving conflict and solving crimes. Note, though, that when it comes to "muscle," Kass dismisses excessive police force as invalid political dramas, despite reams of reporting showing otherwise.

And yet, I never forget, and I don't think anyone else does either, that police officers are humans with families, relatives, friends and so on. The dominant media narrative of cop-as-hero remains intact, despite everything we've learned about how broken policing in America is over the years.

This is in no way meant to disrespect the memory of Paul Bauer. I grieve for him and his family too. I cannot stop thinking about his wife and daughter. I also grieve for the city's other victims, who also had families. We can - and should - grieve for them all without disrespecting any.

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"Another thing Chicago might want to remember on this day of pain was the police radio chatter, reported in the papers, when the suspect was being chased downtown.

"'Don't anybody get hurt,' warned an officer chasing the suspect. 'We just wanted to do a street stop on him and he took off on me.'

"Don't anybody get hurt.

"That was downtown. That wasn't on the West Side or South Side."

I keep thinking about this. Police were making a "street stop" based on someone apparently acting suspiciously. We later learned that individual - the suspect - had a gun and was wearing body armor. At the time, though, the suspect apparently seemed like an ordinary mope. "Don't anybody get hurt." Not worth it. Not for this guy.

What I don't get is Kass's geographic formulation. Don't risk hurting yourself because we're downtown? You'd think maybe cops would be more vigilant downtown. Or is the idea that a suspicious person downtown isn't as likely to be as dangerous as the vast areas of the city known as the South and West Sides?

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Finally:

"In order to live our lives, we choose to become numb to almost everything. We become numb to Chicago's river of violence that for years has been claiming so many lives in the gang wars. We're become numb to the bleating of politicians with no answers. We've become numb to all of it. That's what happens in a city of pain. You grow numb."

Again, who is we? I'm sure some have grown numb, but if most of us who live in the city have grown numb, why is there still so much outrage and grief now and nearly every day when another person's life is taken by violence? Oh yeah, Kass is of the Fox News where-is-the-outrage school. As I've said before, the outrage is right in your face, John. Maybe you're the one who is looking away.

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New on today's Beachwood . . .

Quid Pro Pai?
"The FCC inspector general's office is investigating the appearance of quid pro quo behind agency rulings that have helped pave the way for Sinclair Broadcast Group's proposed takeover of Tribune Media."

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Are These Poems Worth $100?
(I wrote the death poem before the events of this week. I'm not trying to be exploitive.)

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Chicken Salad Alert
Don't eat the Fareway.

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Paradise Papers Stop In Chicago
"Bell came to the United States as a teen and worked his way through college and graduate school. He attended the University of Chicago's business school, graduating near the top of his MBA class . . . He started cooperating with prosecutors soon after his arrest at his Chicago-area home in the summer of 2009."

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A Long History Of Protest For Black Athletes
And they've all been right.

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The Chicago Flamenco Festival
Best flamenco outside of Spain!

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On This Day In . . .

2017: Fact or Crap.

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2015: The 99-cent coin.

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2015: The Beachwood Radio Hour #44: David Carr, Brian Williams And Journalism's Discontents/

The case against this generation's greatest media reporter and his pals - and what it says about the way we think about journalism. Plus: Adults continue to behave badly in the wake of the Jackie Robinson West scandal - including Rahm, Sneed, Kass, Jesse and Pfleger. And: Why J schools are important.

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2015: Mmmm, Artificial Flavorings . . .

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2012: Pat Quinn Wanted To Study Up More On Gay Marriage; Rahm Denied Coordinating Group That Knew What To Do.

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2011: Saint Obama's Budget Cut Low-Income Heating Program.

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Who We Are
I know others have it far, far worse than I do - though my life is no picnic, believe me, people don't even know - but the price of my must-have prescription meds just mysteriously went up $70 a month. I don't have an extra $70 a month. We are one sick fucking country.

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Again, I realize some are grieving lost children today (and lost parents), and others are running up life-saving cancer surgery bills with no ability to pay. I have context. Don't let them ration our compassion and pit us against each other, though; it shouldn't be a race to the bottom, or pretty soon we'll all be there.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Hipster Hotel.

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BeachBook

Adam Rippon On Quiet Starvation In Men's Figure Skating.

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Bank Of Whose America?

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Art Institute Acquires A Modern Duchamp.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Journalists have been circulating this figure, too, without verifying it.

I even heard Matt Spiegel and Danny Parkins repeating this figure on The Score this morning. It's everywhere.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Soonest.



Permalink

Posted on February 15, 2018


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - New Television's New Families.
POLITICS - It's Not Schools That Are Dangerous.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Much Ado About Machado.

BOOKS - Chicago Zine Fest Recap.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Charles White Retrospective.


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