CHICAGO, August 22, 2011—Over thirty years ago, on a hot humid July day, this writer spent his first day of many years, on the Chicago Police Department in a neighborhood the Wall Street Journal would a year later describe as one of the ten most dangerous in the United States.
Thirty three years later conditions in that area have only changed for the worse. The only difference between Lawndale and a fourth-world country is, Lawndale has indoor plumbing.
They never learn.
The politicians and poverty pimps. In 1978 the Lawndale area of Chicago was a ghetto wasteland. There was no hope or dreams Change was what you found on the street, if you were lucky. The population lived lives of abject poverty and bare bones survival.
It was ruthless and violent.
The old commercial, manufacturing, and industrial areas were nothing more than vast swaths of vacant land and vacant buildings.
Today, 33 years later, they are still vacant and there are plenty more of them. The professional corner hangers are still out. Unemployment is still rampant. The number of unemployed ex-offenders is still high and growing.
Instead of developing all that vacant property and putting it to some industrial or commercial use - any economic use - the great ones let it lay fallow.
Poverty is rampant.
When the only profitable commercial enterprise is illegal drug sales, the violence factor just goes up. Legitimate businesses defend against competition through economic means. Drug dealers use violence.
Gangs, guns, and drugs are the only economic activity creating an equal opportunity in these neglected areas. Who’s to blame? Those addle-brained progressives who think they know better and their brainless comrades in Washington.
There is a cure for the violence and crime in these urban jungles: economic development. Build factories, warehouses, assembly plants, and other businesses on all that land. Revitalize what was once a booming commercial and manufacturing area. Give businesses and industry tax and regulatory incentives to locate there.
But that makes sense. Common sense. It is easier to give people Link cards, welfare, and other entitlements. Hire more useless government workers to oversee programs that help no one. Waste more tax money. Government never helps the poor. It only keeps them in poverty, generation after generation.
In Chicago, the worst offenders are the politicians and political preachers. Danny Davis, Jesse Jackson, Bobby Rush, Jesse Jackson Jr., President Obama (who was an Illinois state Senator and a U.S. Senator). The list can go on. They know who they are. They are guilty of heinous crimes of omission.
They are guilty of keeping generations of people in abject poverty. They are guilty of allowing dope to replace legitimate businesses. They are guilty of every death by murder or overdose. Many have been in office or claiming to be civil rights leaders for three and four decades.
Yet, they’ve done nothing to break the cycle of poverty. The only people they help are themselves.
“What would it take to improve health here in West Englewood?”
“Well, they got to stop all this shooting and killing first,” said a second woman. Her name was Mattie Thomas. (Mary Schmich/Chicago Tribune)
According to the Chicago Clout Center for Disease Control (CCCDC), lead poisoning is the leading cause of death in certain Chicago neighborhoods. Lawndale, Englewood, and Chatham are a few.
In these neighborhoods joggers, trying to stay fit and healthy, are moving targets. Professional corner hangers, with no hope, are targets of opportunity. Business owners and cab drivers are targets of advantage. Small children, pregnant women, and senior citizens are target practice. Parks and playgrounds are shooting galleries.
No one wants to ask questions or criticize these people lest they be called a racist. I’m asking. Call me a racist. I have been called worse names.
It is time for America to wake up to the scams and con artists: the Civil Rights scam, the phony economic development scams, and the biggest scams of all, welfare and entitlement programs.
These elites have waged a war of attrition on poor people, especially African Americans. That’s what the Great Society and its future offspring were: wars on poor people. A famous Black preacher years ago, said “The only way to help the poor was not to join them.” All those politicians, preachers, and poverty pimps took that to heart. Instead of joining the poor or helping the poor, they are the beneficiaries of poverty.
It is time to break this vicious cycle. Pour money into these blighted areas to create businesses, factories, manufactures, warehouses, and jobs. Give people a chance to help themselves.
That is the audacity of hope. It is change you can believe in. Those are the dreams of the younger generation’s fathers.
If not, well we saw what happened in London two weeks ago. We see what is happening in other parts of the world.
Those riots and uprisings were poor people saying enough is enough. They are not going to take it anymore. It could happen here.
With the flash mobs, it will be worse. Much worse.
Peter Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance writer, freelance photographer, and consultant. He is a passionate cook and eater. He likes to be the sharp stick that pokes, annoys, and provokes. His opinions are his and his alone.
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