CHICAGO, May 23, 2012 — During the Chicago NATO 2012 weekend, most of the attention was focused on protesters and police. The city itself received a great deal of attention. Little attention was focused on the substance of the meetings.
For almost two days one story barely made the news. It is a story about freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression. It is a tale of violence. It is a saga involving anarchists who came from out of state to create mayhem and violence. It is about a group of people who may be white supremacists. It involves a popular, long-established family style restaurant.
The story begins in Tinley Park, a suburb about forty miles southwest of downtown Chicago. It is far enough away from downtown to be ignored by the media, who spent the week concerned with the bathing habits of protesters and anarchists in Chicago.
The Ashford House is a popular Irish restaurant whose clientele includes families of all generations. On Saturday afternoon, while hundreds of protesters and media were on the street where Mayor Emanuel lives, a group of about 12-15 people arrived for a luncheon meeting. They had a reservation for 20. They were members of the Illinois European Heritage Association.
Shortly after arriving, the group was violently assaulted by several masked, black-clad attackers wielding clubs and hammers. A melee ensued of a kind and on a scale never before seen in this quiet family establishment. The victims of the attack defended themselves with chairs. One of the weapons left behind was described as a railroad hammer with a 24-inch handle.
After the assault, the black-clad, masked offenders fled the scene. Police apprehended some of them shortly after the assault. Five Indiana men have been charged and police are searching for 13 more.
What could have caused this brutal attack in the normal quiet leafy suburb of Tinley Park?
The victims of the attack are alleged to be White Supremacists. The black-clad masked avengers are alleged to be from the Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement (HARM). HARM is part of the Anti-racist Action Network (ARAN).
ARAN is described as a violent, anarchist, anti-racist organization. According to various sources and reports, groups in the network follow the doings of supremacist groups and show up anyplace where they meet in public to disrupt or attack them. “Where they go we go.”
The network evolved from groups of anarchist, punk rock, and anti-fascist skinhead movements. A revolutionary anarchist group, Love and Rage, helped them build a network in various states.
They have been known to use covert surveillance of various supremacist groups and individuals in order to attack them or prevent them from holding events. They also follow supremacist groups through their websites and show up at events to create havoc and mayhem.
Evidently the anti-racists do not care about the United States Constitution, which guarantees the freedoms of speech, press, expression and assembly. They also do not care that even uncomfortable, tasteless, or outrageous expression and speech are protected.
Like many left-wing movements, they believe the Constitution only applies to them, especially when they protest, confront authorities, and create havoc and mayhem.
The anti-racists are the same as the violent racists. Instead of white hoods, dressing gowns, burning crosses, guns and nooses, the anti-racists don black clothing and masks while wielding hammers and clubs.
They engage in preemptive violence.
While sporadic minor violence barely simmered between masses of people and police on the streets of Chicago, real, hardcore, violent protest was acted out in a quiet leafy suburb forty miles away.
This was a senseless violent attack on people who were doing nothing worse than meeting for lunch. Even if they were a supremacist group, they were not engaged in any expressive, oppressive or repressive activity.
This attack was violence for the sake of violence. No matter how you sugar coat it, the folks from the anti-racist network violently attacked a group of peaceful diners just because they could. They are criminals and thugs.
Violence, especially pre-emptive violence, as an expression of political speech is extremely dangerous. It is a form of terrorism.
The NATO 2012 conferees hobnobbed and noshed. The Chicago Police worked long hours under tense conditions. Protesters were plotting, planning, and trying to execute various forms of direct action. Potential political bombers, arsonists, and other violence prone individuals were arrested in Chicago. The media covered it extensively.
In a suburb forty miles away, a brutal vicious attack went almost unnoticed for a couple of days. An attack by the same kind of people who were plotting mayhem, havoc, and chaos in Chicago went off as planned.
It succeeded. Their brethren in Chicago failed. The failures got all the publicity. Go figure.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone. Mr. Bella is a member of the National Press Photographers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists.
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