This past week, Chicago police superintendent Jody Weis held a "secret meeting" with the leaders of some of the Windy City's more prominent street gangs. Hustlers and Kings and Disciples and a number of other youth organizations were invited for a summit with our top cop, federal prosecutors, as well as the family members of other youths who couldn't be at the meeting on account of their being dead.
The gangster leaders called themselves the representatives of "The Movement."
Weis has taken a lot of heat this week because of the meeting, from both sides.
Chicagoans were pretty vocal in condemning the meeting at first; we heard complaints about dealing with criminals and granting credibility to thugs by sending our #1 cop to the summit. We can't send our best person to this thing, send some flunky and pass along a message that we don't negotiate with terrorists.
I wasn't quite so quick to pass judgment on Jody Weis, at least not on this matter. He's had his moments where I wondered what the hell this guy is doing in that job, and the rank and file coppers don't think much of Weis at all. He's seen as an outsider who doesn't relate well to the beat cop.
They think even less of Mayor Daley, as we will all see when the Chicago police hold a march on September 15th. As John Kass pointed out today, it will come as no surprise if Richie moves his trip to China up a few days so he can avoid the embarrassment that waits for him Wednesday after next.
Something weird happened yesterday. The Movement held a press conference. According to Kass, there were 3 men in suits and bow ties behind the stage, silently listening to the comments made by the gangsters. Anyone who's spent any time around this city knows the suit and bow tie as the uniform of the Nation of Islam, and these three suits obviously were reporters for the Louis Farrakhan Daily D-Bag.
The speakers at the gangster pep rally spoke of political corruption in Chicago, as well as lack of access to jobs. The reason we're killing each other is because we're drug dealers, and we wouldn't be drug dealers if Chicago would just find a way to arrange for full employment for gangsters, presumably including Blue Cross and full dental.
Political corruption? Unemployment? That's Farrakhan talking, and he wasn't even in the house.
It's a power struggle here, and this is a defining moment. The gangsters are pissed off at Jody Weis. They think he's trying to strong-arm them. At least that's what they're saying.
The big gangster/cop/fed/victim wasn't about "negotiations" it appears. Seems as though Jody Weis informed the youth leaders that he intends to do something about the rampant violence on the south and west sides of Chicago. Weis told the gangsters that it's up to them to stop shooting each other, but if they don't....we're going to go all RICO on their asses. Thus, the feds at the summit.
Shoot somebody, and we'll take your mom and dad's house. Sell crack at 31st and State, and we'll seize the property of anybody even remotely related to you as it must have been criminally obtained.
Back in the late 60s, Richie Daley's old man, The Boss, scoffed at the notion of needing federal or state help in dealing with rioters in the wake of Martin Luther King's assassination. We can deal with our own problems, in-house.
A few months ago, we had 54 people shot in one weekend here, more Americans ate hot lead in Chicago, Illinois that month than we did in Afghanistan ind Iraq combined. In the aftermath of that bloody weekend, someone suggested calling up the Illinois National Guard, a notion quickly dismissed by Richie Daley. We can deal with this ourselves, in-house.
Well, apparently we can't. And so, the gangsters have been put on notice. RICO is coming to town, and he's pissed off. Early indications are pointing to a quick drop in gun crimes since the summit, although you'd be hard pressed to believe that if you watch our local news. (4 people duct tape muzzled, and shot dead last night in a garage down by Midway.)
But if the gangsters are pissed off, I'm encouraged.
I'm encouraged, just like I am about the handgun ban being shot down by the Supreme Court. The other way hasn't been working here. Time to try something else. I've read about other cities taking a similar approach to gang problems, and from what I can gather reactions are mixed.That's okay with me too. Mixed reactions to trying something somewhat radical are expected, but the reality here is that it's worth a try, because simply put, there's no way on earth the gangster situation in Chicago could get worse.