Activism Chicago Style

Recently, we have had three major instances of activism; the shutdown of the Dan Ryan Expressway, the shutdown of Lake Shore Drive, and the attempted shut down of the expressway that feeds traffic to O’Hara Airport on Labor Day.

The rational for these illegal actions was to call attention to the shooting galleries that we Chicagoans call the south and west sides. Black on black crime is the impetus for 3,000 people shot in 2017 and just shy of 2,100 shot with 335 killed so far in 2018.

Interestingly enough, these three undertakings were staged nowhere near the daily violence. All were in relatively quiet areas of the city where people abide by the rule of law, respect one another, and appreciate the police. Again, interesting!

Another fun fact: Chicago’s mayor gave permission for the demonstrators to block the Dan Ryan Expressway defying the Illinois State Police. Strangely enough, the superintendent of the Chicago Police Department walked arm in arm with the trespassers while they violated state law on an interstate highway. Lake Shore Drive was also shutdown with approval from the mayor.

Conversely, the state police stood their ground and refused to allow these trespassers to cause havoc on the feeder ramp to O’Hara Airport. Twelve arrests were made for trespass on a highway. Arrested individuals were taken into custody, cited, then released.

These groups of protestors come from all racial backgrounds with varying agendas: police brutality, race relations, political issues, but primarily shootings and gun violence; all worthy of discussion, but none worthy of discarding the rule of law.

There are locations in Chicago that experience gunfire daily. My first thought is why don’t these groups march in the locations where the violence occurs? Instead of shutting down expressways and preventing tax-paying, working class people from driving home, they should take their cause to the areas that are under siege.

My advice to these activists:

Collect your activist posse, with your activist preachers, and march in front of the gang hot spots on the south and west sides of Chicago. I am certain you will receive police protection as well as the critically sought media publicity you desire. Who knows, you may even slow the crime down for a short period on time, maybe save a life or two.

Do positive loitering in front of houses and locations where drugs are being sold and killing community members daily? Get fifteen or twenty activists, including all those priests and reverends, and march in front of these dopes houses. There were over 72,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2017, most blamed on heroin and fentanyl.

Take the moneys spent on your rented transportation and citation fines and buy sports equipment. Basketballs and footballs are relatively inexpensive and the south and west sides have an abundance of courts and fields. It takes ONE individual to start these programs and the targets of these 3,000 shootings will be taken off the streets.

Preachers, reverends, and priests, start doing the job you signed up for, teach and mentor. The most important issue in these neighborhoods is the fatherless family. People don’t often speak of this as the major contributing factor of juvenile delinquency, high crime rates, drug usage, gang violence, school dropout, and other forms of antisocial tendencies, because they will be called racist. It has been proven repeatedly that kids, regardless of race, that grow up in a fatherless home are dramatically more often affected by these socially disruptive issues than kids being given moral guidence by a father figure. If you want to preach, preach to the right people.

Activists open the lines of communication between the neighborhood and the police. Help the police help you: It can be anonymous. “Snitches get stitches” is a self-defeating mantra that gets people killed.

Without witnesses, the police cannot solve any crimes, especially murder. Unlike the mother of the murdered seven-year-old girl who knew the shooter but refused to help the police, come forward and help put these shooters and murderers in prison.

Call in locations where guns and dope are stashed. Start a survival group among blocks. Be the modern Musketeers, all for one and one for all. Stick together and don’t let any of your neighbors be intimidated by the gangs.

When you see an interaction between police and thugs, instead of videotaping it, jump in and assist the police. It’s your neighborhood, do something to protect it.

The vast majority of violent crime is committed on the south and west sides of the city. Quit demanding more and more resources. The city is broke. Start protecting your own neighborhoods. Help the police help you. And quit the silly traffic shutdowns. All you’re doing is deferring from the real problem and irritating other people.

To all my brothers and sisters in blue, lock and load and protect each other. And as always, stay safe.

Larry Casey, sergeant (ret.), Chicago Police Department, Criminal Justice Professor, Wilbur Wright College. View his website at for more information and review his book by the same name.