Saturday, March 23, 2013

When Enough is Enough

Some things require serious reflection.

I'm a lover of history - all kinds of history. Let's just say that when I become fascinated by a particular subject, I become deeply fascinated by it. Not only do I like to know what famous figures accomplished, for instance, I like to know what they had for dinner on particular occasions (you can learn a lot about a person through his or her eating habits).

Lately I've been reading about Chicago's notorious Prohibition Wars of the 1920s. It was a wild time, to put it mildly. During Al Capone's reign as the city's top criminal there were shootings, shootings and more shootings. Gang violence truly was out of control. Don't believe me? Wrap your mind around this: in September of 1928, a procession of ten cars (that's ten cars) slowly drove past the Hawthorne Inn, where Capone was eating, and proceeded to shoot the entire place to pieces. In broad daylight.

Capone's arch rivals, the North Side Gang, wanted him dead, you see. Who cared if over fifty people were inside the restaurant at the time? The competition had to be eliminated. The fact that no one was actually killed as a result of that day's chaos is nothing short of miraculous (people were hurt, however - innocent people).

As insane as things were back then, however, they pale in comparison to the violence wracking Chicago today. Over 500 (think about it - 500) people were gunned down in Chicago last year. Gang violence has literally turned sections of the city into war zones. And, unlike the notorious Hawthorne Inn drive by, innocents are now being killed, some of whom are no more than children.

Yet society seems to accept it. Sure, there's lots of hand wringing, but not much else. People talk about stricter gun laws. Yet Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. People talk about "educating" the criminals. Those who buy this nonsense should think about how Capone himself would have reacted to being "educated." No one seems to understand the fact that bad people will continue doing bad things until society says enough is enough.

After the notorious Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, where Capone's trigger men lined five North Side Gang members up against a garage wall (along with two non-gang members)  and mowed them down, America was finally fed up . Capone was eventually locked away (North Side Gang leader Bugs Moran ultimately found himself behind bars, as well) and, although crime continued in Chicago, a sense of law and order was finally restored.

The question is, when is that sense of law and order going to return to the Chicago of today? When are people finally going to stop shaking their heads at the madness and actually find the will and the way to put an end to it through legal means?

Here's something to think about: the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre occurred in 1929. According to Chicago's ABC NEWS affiliate, WLS, there were 26 murders in Chicago during January of that year. This past January, there were 42.

Oh, and less people live in Chicago now than did in 1929 - a lot less.

We should take note.

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