The [Wednesday] Papers
The imperfect victims are the most heartbreaking, because they never really had a chance.
They are also, by far, the most common. Scores of lives lost; we will never know the contributions they might have made.
I understand the instinct to assign a greater value to victims like Hadiya Pendleton, but it's sort of heinous to declare her life more worthy than even the gangbangers who were given up on a long time ago. That doesn't mean her death isn't heartbreaking. It is. It's hard to even think about. But that's because she didn't die in anonymity, like so many. And, of course, because she had just been to the presidential inauguration and was an innocent victim. I get it. But, as John Kass writes in the column I link to above, even "guilty" victims have loved ones. Those who don't should be mourned even more, for their lives were even greater wastes.
See also: Tragic Dimensions, a column I wrote in 2003 expanding on the point. (And note my observation then about the meager coverage of the city's first-in-the-nation murder rate - 601 would be recorded, compared to 506 last year - and how easily Richard M. Daley seemed to skate on it. Later, of course, when the murder rate came down, Daley was showered in media glory.)
(I also compared the way victims were characterized in the coverage of the Lincoln Park porch collapse to the way they were characterized in the E2 nightclub tragedy, but I can't find it. The conclusion: E2 victims were essentially blamed for their own deaths, unlike the Lincoln Parkers on a crowded porch.)
See also: Chicago Homicides By Year.
See also: "Six years after a catastrophic porch collapse in Lincoln Park killed 13 people and forced a Chicago-wide crackdown on dangerous porches, the city has returned to a more passive vigilance of their hazards," the Tribune reported in 2009.
Business is bad, so let's make service worse!
"When the item came up Jan. 14, the council approved it unanimously and without any discussion. Members didn't even wait to hear from the rocker, who said after the meeting that he was prepared to defend the oversized neon 'ZUZU's' sign that fills the window at Madame ZuZu's Tea Shop, 582 Roger Williams Ave.
"Nor did the council members wait to hear a staff presentation on the subject, which would have outlined how neon signs, other than small ones saying a business is open, are restricted by city code. The glowing ZuZu's sign - measuring nearly 4 feet tall and more than 13 feet wide - also covers more than 50 percent of the store's external windows; code allows up to 10 percent."
In Illinois, of course, most of the discussion has centered on how the state has reduced spending on mental health programs.
At least some relief may be on the way, though. AP reports:
The Illinois House has approved a measure that authorizes new road building funds and transfers money saved from prison closures to child-welfare and mental-health services. The proposal passed by a 63-52 vote Monday, after a heated discussion.
So there's that.
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Posted on February 6, 2013
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