Body count from Chicago’s gang wars impacts all of Illinois

A Look at Today's Chicago Gangs and How They've Changed ...

At one time, federal agents worked the streets of Lake County. Shocking, but true, in this age of government officials afraid of federal help to quell increasing violence.

The feds were FBI agents. The five-person office was at County and Madison streets, across from the Lake County Building in downtown Waukegan.

One of the special agents in charge of the county office, Robert McQueen, became a county judge after he retired from a distinguished FBI career. The city was headquarters for the office because the state line is a few miles north, and Lake County is home to a number of federal installations. Or so I was told.

The agents roamed the county, probing bank robberies with local police, until budget cutbacks consolidated the county office into a Des Plaines regional site in the 1980s. The FBI still maintains a firearms range by Foss Park near North Chicago’s Lake Michigan shoreline, while U.S. marshals are welcomed in Lake County when they come searching for wanted criminals.

When the FBI was active in the county, no one griped about investigative help from the “fibs.” Just like nobody carped about President Eisenhower federalizing the Arkansas National Guard in 1957 to ensure integration of schools in Little Rock. Or, when federal forces were used to quell widespread riots in 1968. Or when G-man Eliot Ness and his famous “Untouchables” battled Chicago crime lords and bootleggers in the 1930s.

Chicagoans didn’t complain when FBI agents gunned down bank robber John Dillinger outside the Biograph Theater on the city’s North Side on July 22, 1934. There might have been some grumbling in the city when President Cleveland sent in federal troops to quell the Pullman Strike of 1894.

The city’s new police superintendent, David Brown, reported at a news conference last week that Chicago has 117,000 street gang members in at least 55 major gangs, along with 747 factions with 2,500 further subsets. That’s a lot of math to come up with determining city police are outnumbered and outgunned.

Most gang members brandish illegal weapons. They haven’t signed up for their FOID cards as shooting deaths have doubled -- to 414 -- over the July 2019 body count.

Chicago Police Target and Arrest 100, from 15 Gang Factions across ...

It’s easy for one who was forcefully brought to Lake County decades ago as a toddler to sit in the suburbs and question policing strategies in Chicago. Yet, the violence in the Windy City impacts all of us in the Land of Lincoln, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

From economic development to tourism to state funding, perception becomes reality. Indeed, Illinois tax dollars earned in Lake County help police Chicago streets.

Because of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington’s shrewd move in the mid-1980s, Illinois state troopers patrol city expressways, leaving CPD to police neighborhoods. In a good trade for Chicago, Washington allowed Illinois State Lottery tickets to be sold at O’Hare International Airport in exchange for State Police duty.

Rising gun crimes are not only happening in Chicago. President Trump has sent other federal agents to Kansas City, Mo., Albuquerque, N.M., and Portland, Ore., where there have been mixed results in the City of Roses, as Portland was touted as a once-friendly tourist

Trump Wants to Starve States Into Opening Before It's Safe

All this comes amid calls to dismantle police departments across the nation. Even as Trump appears building up to a “law-and-order” re-election campaign, overall crime rates have dropped across the nation this year compared to past years. Except for spikes in gang violence.

In 1968, Richard Nixon kicked off his Republican presidential bid with a rally in downtown Chicago, the site of running battles between demonstrators and police only weeks before during the riotous Democratic National Convention. It was in the Windy City he first announced his own “law-and-order” strategy in the election against Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

That message resounded with “silent majority” voters then, as Humphrey, a long-time U.S. senator from Minnesota before joining President Johnson’s team, was defeated. Stay tuned as we’re less than 100 days to the 2020 presidential finish.

Body count from Chicago’s gang wars impacts all of Illinois Body count from Chicago’s gang wars impacts all of Illinois Reviewed by Anson Moore on July 27, 2020 Rating: 5

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