[guest post by Dana]
[Ed. I realize everything is all Biden-Harris right now, but in case you want something else to chew on, here you go.]
What say you, Mayor Lightfoot?
The Ronald McDonald House in Streeterville was among the establishments targeted during looting in Chicago early Monday morning.
The facility provides a home and resources to families while a child receives treatment at local hospitals.
Vandals struck the facility at 211 E. Grand Ave. near Lurie Children’s Hospital as families were sleeping inside. Several windows were smashed, and the front door had to be boarded up.
For a while, residents were placed on lockdown while the commotion was happening right outside
While none of the families or patients inside the refuge were hurt during the attack, a little two-year-old cancer victim missed his birthday celebration because of it:
Two-year-old Owen Buell and his family have been staying at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital while he receives treatment for Stage 4 neuroblastoma.
They were supposed to go home to Joliet to celebrate his birthday.
“We were going to have cake and ice cream and do some presents at home with his siblings and his grandma,” said Owen’s mother, Valerie Mitchell.
But looting throughout downtown Chicago made it impossible.
“The whole door was shattered and it looked like a bullet hole, so I started freaking out thinking about how unsafe that was. You shouldn’t feel that way when your kid needs medical care. You shouldn’t be afraid to walk a few blocks down the street,” she said.
While some small business owners lost everything during the siege that took place on Monday, other businesses are struggling to find a way to reopen or make a decision if it’s worth it to them, given that they already suffered losses back during the May looting. Meanwhile, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who condemned the rioting and looting, saying that “…the core of what happened — that’s organized criminal activity… It was a planned attack,” is still trying to regain control and find the most effective way respond to the disaster in her city:
“The question is how do we find opportunity out of even these very dark days?” Lightfoot asks. “And what we do to band together because together — it sounds like a cliche — but it is so true, we won’t survive this moment. We will not thrive. We will not move beyond, get stronger, and better if we don’t unite.”
However, Chicago Alderman Brian Hopkins is fed up with the Mayor’s inability to tamp down the violence and looting:
Hopkins criticized Lightfoot for not being prepared after the earlier looting in May and June that followed George Floyd’s death, which sparked nationwide civil unrest.
“The real question today is, where was the strategy? What was the decision making at the highest levels?” Hopkins said. “That means the police superintendent and the mayor, who’s a very hands-on mayor when it comes to these kinds of decisions.”
Hopkins painted a bleak picture for the city if Lightfoot can’t get such criminal activity in and around downtown under control.
“Literally, the future of Chicago hangs in the balance, I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that,” he said. “If this continues, how can Chicago survive? What will be left downtown after Water Tower Place gets boarded up and the for-sale signs go up on all the condos near Michigan Avenue? People who live around there have had their sense of safety badly shaken. This is our tax base, by the way. We count on tax revenue from this area of the city to fund all number of other programs we count on.”
When you wake up to the kind of devastation seen Monday morning, Hopkins said, there is “no way to defend” the Chicago Police Department’s response.
“That is not to criticize the blue shirts on the ground. It’s to criticize the strategy and the tactical decision-making of the senior command who were unprepared for this. … They acknowledged they had intelligence that this was going to happen. Yet it happened. So, if there was an attempt to intervene at the earliest stages and to stop it, it failed. … And once it started, there was no stopping it,” the alderman said.
And while Lightfoot described Monday’s rioting and looting as an “assault on our city” and warned looters: “We are coming for you,” Chicago pols remain unimpressed, and are exerting pressure on Lightfoot. This includes demands for that the National Guard be deployed to the city:
Following the looting, Lightfoot also faced pressure from Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, of Western Springs, who released a statement calling for the National Guard, while Illinois Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady, of Bloomington, in a tweet on Monday said “the looting, wanton destruction of property and disregard for public safety we witnessed in Chicago overnight is unacceptable.”
“I implore our leaders at the city, state and federal levels to do everything they can to ensure those who perpetrated these crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that all measures are taken to ensure our residents and businesses remain safe,” Brady said.
Downstate Republican U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood also called for help from the National Guard.
“Criminals continue to loot & destroy property in Chicago with little consequence. The Governor, Mayor & Cook Co. State’s Attorney are failing to protect IL citizens & businesses. Utilize the National Guard. Accept federal support. Prosecute criminals. Restore the rule of law,” LaHood tweeted.
Mayor Lightfoot’s response to the criticism? A big whatever:
“Ald. Hopkins has a penchant for letting his mouth run before he actually gets the facts,” Lightfoot said. “I don’t think there’s any reason for me to say anything further.”
“What we need now is not Monday morning quarterbacks and sideline critics. What we need is to come together as a city and have a united strategy and focus,” Lightfoot added. “We’re focused, we’re not going to let the noise of people that like to chatter before they know what the facts are get in the way and that’s all I’ll say about that.”
Businesses need to be able to function without fear of mass looting and rioting, residents need to feel safe in their city, and anyone considering rioting and looting need to know that, without a doubt, they will face a swift reaction by law enforcement and city officials if they attempt to engage in criminal activity. And last but not least, any 2-year olds with Stage 4 cancer need to be able to safely leave their temporary homes to reunite with their families and celebrate together the significant milestone of living to see one more birthday.