No relief for Chicago

Illinois governor Bruce Rauner rules out sending the National Guard to restore order in the nation’s most notorious open-air shooting gallery:

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he will not dispatch the Illinois National Guard to Chicago to stem gun violence.

The Republican said Wednesday that “the National Guard is not for neighborhood policing.”

He dismissed suggestions that he call up the Guard after more than 70 people were shot in the city last weekend. At least 11 were killed.

Chicago police have said 600 additional officers will be patrolling the affected neighborhoods.

Rauner told reporters in Peoria that “the violence in Chicago is heartbreaking, it’s got to end.”

But he says state troops would only be appropriate for “a riot or some issue like that.”

Rauner says improving economic opportunities will help end the violence.

Economic opportunities! That’s the ticket.

In the meantime, a Chicago pastor asks Trump to mobilize (federalize) the National Guard to relieve the Second City. Here’s a Chicago Tribune op-ed from last year demanding intervention by the Illinois National Guard:

What in the world is wrong with us in Chicago? How many lives must be lost before we mobilize to end the insane carnage in our streets? A thousand deaths a year? Two thousand? […]

Most Chicagoans, particularly those who live in killing fields like Englewood and North Lawndale, may be unaware of an experiment that virtually stopped the bleeding for one blessed weekend in November 2016.

On those amazing few days, Chicago police, Cook County sheriffs, state police and federal agents saturated the three most dangerous police districts in the city. Shooters were silenced. Open-air drug markets closed. Gangs couldn’t loiter at liquor stores, vacant lots and viaducts.

The strategy worked. The killing ceased. That weekend there was exactly one shooting — one — in the area under patrol.

If we are truly serious about ending gun violence, we need this kind of bold action. We have to unpack the plan created by Robert Milan, former first assistant state’s attorney in the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, and former deputy U.S. Marshal Jim Smith.

The mission: crush the violence with a six-month saturation deployment of law enforcement that mirrors the November 2016 weekend experiment.

But we live in a city that is broke. We don’t have the money or the manpower to repeat the tactic, let alone sustain it.

Worse, perhaps, we don’t seem to have the courage to swallow our pride and our politics to keep our people alive. Why else would Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council reject the idea of seeking assistance from the Illinois National Guard?

In fact, the city should ask that guardsmen be deployed, along with local police, to the South and West sides, not to militarize them, but to restore public safety and save lives.

When living in Chicago, I was amazed at the lack of beat cops in the downtown. You could go a week without seeing a single police officer or cop car.

It’s rather astonishing that America is incapable of maintaining basic law and order in its third-largest city. Serious countries do not allow large swaths of their major cities to descend into anarchy, while citing budget problems as an excuse for failing to take appropriate law enforcement action.

Murder with a smile

Turning that frown upside-down

If this doesn’t spook you just a little, well… you’re not easily spooked:

Retired NYPD detectives Anthony Duarte and Kevin Gannon held a press conference in 2008 to make the public aware of a dozens of deaths that are officially listed as accidental drownings, deaths that the two former cops allege are actually murders linked to one another. “I believe we’re looking at an organized group that has a hierarchy and is involved in murder and other criminal activity,” Gannon said. Such a revelation would, if true, re-write a large portion of what we think we know about criminology. Experts would tell us that serial killers don’t work together in teams, in fact in extremely rare instances we have only seen them work in pairs.

I read the full article on a day when the paywall was down. Unfortunately, it’s back up. Anyway, the Zebra murders that gripped San Francisco in 1973-74 are proof that semi-clandestine, murderous cults can exist, although the alleged Smiley Face Killers would appear to be a (big) step up from anything we’ve seen before in terms of both secrecy and competence.

The author’s hypothesis that the arrival of the internet explains why the Smiley Face Killings began in earnest around 1997 is interesting and reminded me of this essay from 10 years ago about the rise of anonymous group suicide in Japan.

The most spectacular manifestation of Japan’s exploding suicide culture, Internet group suicide, is unique in that it is rooted in the technologies of the computer age and has no meaningful precedent in traditional Japanese social behavior.

Given its role in fostering a wide variety of social pathologies, some of which seem entirely capable of destroying civilization, I would argue that the jury is still out on whether the invention of the internet was overall a Good Thing for humanity.