News & Politics

What's Happening in Chicago Isn't a Riot. It's a Reckoning.

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

What’s happening in Chicago is not a riot, but a reckoning. An old-fashioned Old Testament wrath-of-God kind of reckoning. It’s a settling of accounts after some city residents belonging to Black Lives Matter decided the bill had come due.

“When protesters attack high-end retail stores that are owned by the wealthy and service the wealthy, that is not ‘our’ city and has never been meant for us,” the group said in a statement.

Some police sources — and Mayor Lori Lightfoot herself — are claiming there are “organized teams of looters” on the loose. That makes the Black Lives Matter statement even more of a threat.

Chicago Sun-Times:

“The mayor clearly has not learned anything since May, and she would be wise to understand that the people will keep rising up until the [Chicago Police Department] is abolished and our Black communities are fully invested in,” the group said in a statement.

Lightfoot spoke of “organized crime” being responsible for the looting. Now, who do you suppose in all of Chicagoland could be behind an organized ring of looters?

“Over the past few months, too many people — disproportionately Black and Brown — have lost their jobs, lost their income, lost their homes, and lost their lives as the city has done nothing and the Chicago elite have profited,” the group’s statement reads.

At the BLM demonstration on Monday night, one protester held a big sign that read, “Our futures have been looted from us … loot back.”

“It’s not opportunistic and spontaneous when you already have U-Haul vans and cargo vans and you come equipped with precision tools to break into stores, to break into safes, to haul off cash registers and when you are coming with arms to fight off the police. … While there absolutely was a layer of opportunistic individuals, this was also organized crime. And we are going to break these crews and these rings and we are gonna bring them to justice. That is what we owe the residents of this city. Period.”

The looters targeted stores on the “Magnificent Mile” — a glittering playground for the wealthiest citizens. But it’s how this latest round of riots began that should raise questions.

A young black criminal took a couple of shots at Chicago police on Sunday, resulting in police shooting back and wounding him. The police review board said the evidence so far points to a righteous shoot. The prosecutor says they recovered a gun from the kid that looks just like a gun the young man was holding in a Facebook photo. Cut and dried, right?

All of a sudden on social media, the narrative changed. Now the poor kid was an unarmed 15-year-old and couldn’t have shot at the cops. The police just opened fire on some random black man.

Allen’s family denied that he had a gun, and CPD said no bodycam footage captured the shooting. But the Civilian Office of PolAccountability, the agency that investigates uses of force by CPD officers, said its investigation so far confirms that Allen fired at officers before he was shot.

After the shooting around 2:30 p.m. Sunday, a crowd gathered in the area. “Tempers flared, fueled by misinformation,” Brown said. Lightfoot said the shooter was “not an unarmed juvenile” as was “propagated on social media.”

Rumors about the shooting continued to swirl on social media Sunday night, feeding still-high tensions between police and Englewood residents.

After the gangs looted the poor black neighborhood of Englewood, they headed downtown. And the looters brought cover this time as officers exchanged several shots with “protesters.”

The mayor is pretending not to make the connection. Nor is she admitting that her policies earlier in the summer, where she emptied the jails of rioters and looters, had anything to do with the current unrest.

Mayor Lightfoot is at sea. She’s trying to reassure residents and businesses that she wants to protect them.

The way to do that, the mayor said, is to build the strongest possible cases against the looters and offer “concrete solutions” to protect residents and business owners who are concerned about the city’s ability to protect them if and when it happens again, as Black Lives Matter has warned that it will.

“People are fearful. They are afraid. And it’s up to us as leaders to offer concrete solutions and a path forward. And that’s what we’re gonna continue to do,” the mayor said.

“Us as leaders” haven’t a clue and if they do, they don’t want to admit the truth to themselves. Black Lives Matter has control of an organized mob of looters, rioters, and arsonists. And if that doesn’t open the eyes of Lightfoot and her crew, nothing will.