The Truth Behind Chicago’s Violence No, Chicago is not an exceptionally dangerous city.

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The bloodletting in Chicago last weekend, with 74 people shot, 12 fatally, was enough to horrify even locals, who are relatively inured to chronic slaughter at the hands of gun-wielding felons. “Unbelievable,” said state Rep. La Shawn Ford, a black Chicago Democrat who went so far as to call on President Donald Trump for help.
The shock was also evident beyond Chicago. Rudy Giuliani blamed Democrats in general and Mayor Rahm Emanuel in particular. The mayor’s legacy, he tweeted, is “more murders in his city than ever before.” Everywhere, there was agreement that the city’s mayhem is out of control and in urgent need of measures to contain it.
But don’t believe the hype. There are not, in fact, more murders in Chicago than ever before. The number of homicides peaked at 920 in 1991. The death toll last year was 674—and that was down 15 percent from 2016. This year, even with the latest frenzy of shootings, the number of homicides is 25 percent lower than it was at this point in 2017.

These are real signs of progress, however tardy and insufficient. If this year’s trajectory holds, it would mean some 280 fewer people dying violently this year than just two years ago. Another year on this trend line would put the city about where it was in 2013—when the number of homicides hit the lowest level in 48 years.
Contrary to popular myth, cynically promoted by Trump and other outside critics, Chicago is not an exceptionally dangerous city. In terms of violent crime, it is less afflicted than a number of large cities, including St. Louis, Baltimore, and New Orleans.
Republicans blame unbroken Democratic control of Chicago for its mayhem. But partisan coloration is an unreliable indicator of crime patterns. Of the 10 states with the highest rates of violence, seven voted for Trump. Los Angeles, whose homicide rate is enviably low, has had only Democratic mayors since 2001.
It’s easy to blame the mayor for the persistent bloodshed—and former police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who is running against Emanuel in the February election, does not pass up the opportunity. McCarthy headed the Chicago Police Department from 2011 to 2015, and he claims credit for the improvement that occurred in that period.
But he was also in charge of Chicago police when an officer shot and killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald—a gross overreaction that police labored to cover up. The spike in murders began just after the release of dashcam video showing the victim walking away from police before being riddled with bullets. The revelation, which contradicted official accounts, sparked public outrage, particularly among African-Americans.
One problem in Chicago is the dismally low number of homicides that police are able to solve—about 1 in 6. But the department’s poor reputation among many of the people most at risk discourages the sort of cooperation from citizens that cops need to catch the killers.
The city’s record of failing to discipline officers who resort to unjustified lethal force is corrosive. Last year, WBEZ reported that since 2007, the city’s Independent Police Review Authority had “investigated police shootings that have killed at least 130 people and injured 285 others”—and “found officers at fault in just two of those cases, both off-duty” incidents.
The Chicago Reporter provided additional evidence. “From 2012 to 2015, the city spent more than $263 million on settlements, judgments and outside legal counsel for police misconduct,” it found. If police want more help from the communities they serve, this is not the way to get it.
Despite these failures, the decline in homicides suggests that the city and the department are doing something right. But what that might be is hard to determine with any confidence.
The fight against crime can’t be restricted to more or better policing. Chicago’s crime problem is concentrated in a small number of poor, blighted, mostly African-American neighborhoods. Those areas owe their plight largely to a sordid history of systemic, deliberate racial discrimination and violence, endemic poverty, and official neglect over decades.
The conditions that breed rampant crime in parts of Chicago came about not by accident but by policy. The recent attention shows that people here and elsewhere care about the violence. Do they care about fixing the causes?

By Steve Chapman/Reason

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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The 19 black radicals who are still in prison after four decades

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Some African American rebels, including Mumia Abu-Jamal and members of Move, are still incarcerated for their actions during the 1970s black liberation struggle.

Image: Lisa Terry/Getty Images

 

More from the Guardian including this accompanying story .

 

Posted by Libergirl

 

Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race For years, racism has been defined by the violence of far-right extremists, but a more insidious kind of prejudice can be found where many least expect it – at the heart of respectable society

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Illustration: Ben the Illustrator
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Illustration: Ben the Illustrator

On 22 February 2014, I published a post on my blog. I titled it “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race”. It read: “I’m no longer engaging with white people on the topic of race. Not all white people, just the vast majority who refuse to accept the existence of structural racism and its symptoms. I can no longer engage with the gulf of an emotional disconnect that white people display when a person of colour articulates their experience. You can see their eyes shut down and harden. It’s like treacle is poured into their ears, blocking up their ear canals. It’s like they can no longer hear us.
“This emotional disconnect is the conclusion of living a life oblivious to the fact that their skin colour is the norm and all others deviate from it.
“At best, white people have been taught not to mention that people of colour are “different” in case it offends us. They truly believe that the experiences of their life as a result of their skin colour can and should be universal. I just can’t engage with the bewilderment and the defensiveness as they try to grapple with the fact that not everyone experiences the world in the way that they do.

‘Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race’ – podcast

“They’ve never had to think about what it means, in power terms, to be white, so any time they’re vaguely reminded of this fact, they interpret it as an affront. Their eyes glaze over in boredom or widen in indignation. Their mouths start twitching as they get defensive. Their throats open up as they try to interrupt, itching to talk over you but not to really listen, because they need to let you know that you’ve got it wrong.
“The journey towards understanding structural racism still requires people of colour to prioritise white feelings. Even if they can hear you, they’re not really listening. It’s like something happens to the words as they leave our mouths and reach their ears. The words hit a barrier of denial and they don’t get any further.

“That’s the emotional disconnect. It’s not really surprising, because they’ve never known what it means to embrace a person of colour as a true equal, with thoughts and feelings that are as valid as their own. Watching [the documentary] The Color of Fear by Lee Mun Wah, I saw people of colour break down in tears as they struggled to convince a defiant white man that his words were enforcing and perpetuating a white racist standard on them. All the while he stared obliviously, completely confused by this pain, at best trivialising it, at worst ridiculing it.
“I’ve written before about this white denial being the ubiquitous politics of race that operates on its inherent invisibility. So I can’t talk to white people about race any more because of the consequent denials, awkward cartwheels and mental acrobatics that they display when this is brought to their attention. Who really wants to be alerted to a structural system that benefits them at the expense of others?
“I can no longer have this conversation, because we’re often coming at it from completely different places. I can’t have a conversation with them about the details of a problem if they don’t even recognise that the problem exists. Worse still is the white person who might be willing to entertain the possibility of said racism, but who thinks we enter this conversation as equals. We don’t.

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“Not to mention that entering into conversation with defiant white people is a frankly dangerous task for me. As the hackles rise and the defiance grows, I have to tread incredibly carefully, because if I express frustration, anger or exasperation at their refusal to understand, they will tap into their presubscribed racist tropes about angry black people who are a threat to them and their safety. It’s very likely that they’ll then paint me as a bully or an abuser. It’s also likely that their white friends will rally round them, rewrite history and make lies the truth. Trying to engage with them and navigate their racism is not worth that.
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“Amid every conversation about Nice White People feeling silenced by conversations about race, there is a sort of ironic and glaring lack of understanding or empathy for those of us who have been visibly marked out as different for our entire lives, and live the consequences. It’s truly a lifetime of self-censorship that people of colour have to live. The options are: speak your truth and face the reprisals, or bite your tongue and get ahead in life. It must be a strange life, always having permission to speak and feeling indignant when you’re finally asked to listen. It stems from white people’s never-questioned entitlement, I suppose.
“I cannot continue to emotionally exhaust myself trying to get this message across, while also toeing a very precarious line that tries not to implicate any one white person in their role of perpetuating structural racism, lest they character-assassinate me.
“So I’m no longer talking to white people about race. I don’t have a huge amount of power to change the way the world works, but I can set boundaries. I can halt the entitlement they feel towards me and I’ll start that by stopping the conversation. The balance is too far swung in their favour. Their intent is often not to listen or learn, but to exert their power, to prove me wrong, to emotionally drain me, and to rebalance the status quo. I’m not talking to white people about race unless I absolutely have to. If there’s something like a media or conference appearance that means that someone might hear what I’m saying and feel less alone, then I’ll participate. But I’m no longer dealing with people who don’t want to hear it, wish to ridicule it and, frankly, don’t deserve it.”
After I pressed publish, the blogpost took on a life of its own. Years later, I still meet new people, in different countries and different situations, who tell me that they have read it. In 2014, as the post was being linked to all over the internet, I braced myself for the usual slew of racist comments. But the response was so markedly different that it surprised me.

Rest of the story by Reni Eddo-Lodge/theguardian

Posted by The NON-Conformist

African-Americans Feel Left Out of the Gun Debate

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As the Parkland kids enjoy an outpouring of support, many who have been fighting for gun reform for years are wondering why no one is listening to them.

Weeks after the Parkland shooting, Johnetta Elzie, a civil rights activist who rose to prominence during the 2014 Ferguson protests, scrolled through her Twitter feed like most Americans, observing how the media treated the Parkland students fighting for gun reform—and she was perplexed.

These students’ ideas and voices were welcomed, she observed, while her voice and others like hers had been shunned and even ignored just four years earlier after the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Even though, to her, they were all speaking out against the same thing: gun violence in America.

 The difference was that Elzie had been protesting police violence, specifically, which she believes is a major part of the broader gun violence debate. While the Parkland kids were lauded, she was labeled a “threat actor.” FBI agents attempted to contact her about her plans to protest at the 2016 Republican National Convention, a tactic she insists was meant to intimidate her and her family. Similar complaints and calls to action by advocacy groups like the Black Youth Project 100, Black Lives Matter, NAACP chapters and the American Civil Liberties Union were criticized and classified as attacks on American law enforcement heroes.

More at Politico.com

Posted by Libergirl

Rubio Defends NRA Ties, Says ‘Genie’s Out Of The Bottle’ On AR-15s

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During a tense interview aired Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) again rejected many Floridians’ criticism that certain gun control laws would have prevented Wednesday’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

He also defended his ties to the National Rifle Association, and blamed congressional inaction regarding such mass shootings on “people just mov[ing] on.”

Rubio hasn’t personally attempted to address mass shootings through legislation, he said, because “we don’t fully understand everything that could’ve been done to prevent this.”

Much of the mourning following the shooting at Stoneman Douglas, which left 17 dead and more injured, transformed with surprising speed into passionate political advocacy. And, perhaps aside from President Donald Trump, more of that passion has been directed at Rubio, a large beneficiary of the gun lobby’s support, than anyone else.

“I see this reported, it’s unfair, I’ve never said we can’t do anything,” Rubio said, repeating a point he made on the Senate floor Thursday. He added: “What I have said is that the proposals out there would not have prevented it, and that’s a fact.”

More from TPM

Posted by Libergirl

 

A Riot Started in Newark 50 Years Ago. It Shouldn’t Have Been a Surprise

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Image: Time Magazine

On Wednesday in Newark, N.J., members of the community will gather at a memorial to 26 citizens of that city. Under an inscription — “We will forever remember the names of those whose lives were lost” — it lists the names of those who were killed during a riot that began 50 years ago.

But, as urban riots in recent history have drawn comparisons to those of a half-century ago, it’s clear that, while the names of the fallen are an important piece of history, there’s something else worth remembering, too.

The incident that sparked the Newark riot occurred during the early evening of July 12, 1967, when a black cab driver was beaten and arrested by two white police officers for a minor traffic infraction in Newark’s Central Ward area. As word of the incident spread, a crowd gathered outside police headquarters where the injured driver, who was rumored to be dead, was being held. Despite calls to remain calm, frustrated protesters, fed up with the lack of response to their concerns, began throwing rocks, breaking police station windows. Two days of looting followed — and when the looting stopped, the killing began, as New Jersey Governor Richard J. Hughes called in state troopers and the National Guard to restore order. The violence only escalated, resulting in the loss of life. By the time the fighting ended on July 17th, the level of property damage was massive, and injuries were in the hundreds.

More from Time Magazine

Posted by Libergirl

10 Things Everyone Must Know About Terrorism

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(TFC) Terrorism is a complex subject, but the key elements can be distilled and presented in an internet-friendly format. Welcome to the definitive listicle on terrorism. This is the bare bones, so process all of it. Don’t skim this one.

Terrorism is “the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear. It is intended to coerce or intimidate governments or societies. Terrorists usually pursue political, religious, or ideological goals. Enemies who cannot compete with Army forces conventionally often turn to terrorist tactics. Terrorist attacks often create a disproportionate effect on even the most capable conventional forces.” (FM 3-0, 9-37) Even within the United States government, there are varying definitions related to terrorism. Most agencies tailor the definition to suit their mission and therefore increase their budget. The above definition is as close to a consensus as can be found.

Terrorism is not an ideology. It is a military strategy and a set of tactics. That’s it. While in today’s politically charged climate, the following statement will certainly be viewed with contempt, it needs to be said. Terrorism should not be a dirty word. Some of the world’s greatest heroes employed terrorism. That’s why you’ll find many writings use the term “asymmetrical warfare”. It’s terrorism by another name. Specifically, it’s the name the US government uses to describe the tactics of its allies who engage in terrorism.

 Terrorist success rates are high. Most estimates suggest that 85 to 90% of initiated terrorist attacks are successful. If a group is committed to using these tactics, they will be successful at the operational level. 

Terrorist attacks are militarily ineffective. The most spectacular terrorist attack in history occurred on the morning of September 11th, 2001. It’s still talked about and used as a justification for military actions today. Without a doubt, the 9/11 attacks were the most successful terrorist attacks in history. They did not hinder the US warfighting capability in the slightest way. So why do terrorists use a militarily ineffective tactic?

Terrorism is an advertising campaign. An act of terrorism is designed to bring attention to a specific grievance or list of grievances. Sometimes, it’s as simple as the IRA’s short term goal of “Brits out!” Other times, it’s a more complicated series of demands relating to ideology or religion or even a desire to completely undermine entire societal systems. The Unabomber wasn’t killing simply to kill and scare people. He was killing to draw attention to his beliefs.

The public reaction to an attack is more important than your actual emotions. Most of the world saw the man fleeing the London terrorist attack with his pint of beer in hand. That image is an image that defeats terrorism. The “Keep calm and carry on” mantra defeats terrorism. 24-hour news coverage, changing your social media profile, or hashtagging #PrayForPickTheNextCity encourages terrorism. Why? The goal of terrorism is advertising. It’s about dominating headlines. When you prolong the coverage, you are helping the terrorist. By the same token, emotional displays of anger and fear, such as the one from the Representative from Louisiana, Clay Higgins, provide the terrorists with exactly what they want. His rant can already be found on Al-Jazeera and will undoubtedly be used in ISIS propaganda videos. Islamic State strategists couldn’t have written a more useful response themselves.

“All of Christendom… is at war with Islamic Horror.” Thank you, Mr. Higgins, for providing the Islamic State with the perfect propaganda quote to promote the idea of Jihad to non-radicalized Muslims. You said it. It’s a Holy War between “all of Christendom” and Islam. I don’t say this lightly, but you’re an idiot and if you can’t control your emotions, you need to resign.

Terrorism is not new, nor is it going away. The use of surprise, unconventional, dirty, and horrifically brutal attacks against soft targets is as old as warfare itself. Modern incarnations of terrorism didn’t originate in the Middle East. They originated in Ireland after the Easter Rising in 1916. Car bombs, assassinations on public streets, and other modern terrorist tactics were pioneered by a man widely regarded as a hero today. Think back to the legends of Disney cartoons. Robin “taxation is theft” Hood fits the role of terrorist quite well, does he not?

Acts of terrorism create two kinds of victims. The obvious victim is the one who is maimed or killed in the actual attack. The second victim is in the viewing audience. The victim is the person who becomes overwhelmed by horror and allows emotion to override reason. If you believe we should “kill them all,” you’re a victim of terrorism. If you look the other way while your country bombs civilians, you’re a victim of terrorism. If you’re scared of a woman wearing a hijab, you’re a victim of terrorism. If you understand the above, you’re less likely to become one of the less obvious victims of terrorism. If you understand what’s below, you will never surrender to terrorism no matter what the cost may be.

The most important thing to know about terrorism is about you, personally. Many will claim the terrorists are out to destroy our way of life. The last time I checked, our way of life didn’t involve murdering civilians in reprisal. It didn’t involve being afraid of our own shadows. Either what we believe to be good and noble and true is good and noble and true, and is worth defending even to the point of death, or it isn’t worth defending at all. If you’re willing to kill children in airstrikes, you aren’t making tough decisions and you aren’t displaying the measure of a man. You’re a coward. You’ve sold out your proclaimed principles because you’re scared. Our civilization made a very quick descent from “you have nothing to fear but fear itself” to a President who talks about murdering the families of the opposition. If you think murdering families is ok, you’ve allowed your fear to override your reason. You’ve betrayed any beliefs you once held regarding honor simply because you’re scared. You’ve just become another butcher. Don’t try to paint that as being tough. It isn’t. We see you for what you are. You know the relatives of those murdered indiscriminately will take up arms and kill other civilians, you’re just banking it won’t be you. You aren’t a better man because you want to do it for a red, white, and blue flag and the other guy wants to do it for a black and white one. Indiscriminate murder is still indiscriminate murder.

Do not be misled by the cowardice of elected officials. Be braver, be stronger, and maintain your honor. If you want to “make America great”, you can’t sell out the principles that might accomplish that. If you’ve become so afraid that you’re willing to commit the same atrocities as those we claim to stand against, there’s nothing left to fight for. Today’s officials react from a place of fear, they do not lead from a place of honor or principle. You have to lead yourself. You have to steel your own resolve. Nobody will give you encouraging speeches to remind you that without our principles of justice, we are the Islamic State. It’s too hard. It requires too much to display the courage to say do your worst and we will remain. It’s easier to simply engage in a war of attrition and hope we walk away the victors. There is no victory if we surrender who we are.

If you want to win the war on terror, you cannot allow yourself to be terrorized by anyone. That includes the cowards in office.

By Justin King/TheFifthColumnNews/AntiMedia

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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