Letting violent criminals have their way at the expense of law-abiding citizens and business owners has never been an effective strategy for reducing crime. You would think leftist Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot would have figured that out with the dramatically increasing death toll in the Windy City each weekend over the past several months.
Alas, that doesn’t appear to be the case, as Lightfoot’s city saw widespread destruction, rioting and looting following a police shooting over the weekend. And in many areas rioters and looters had their way with private property and merchandise, tearing up property and stealing everything they could get their hands on from local shops and stores.
In one video posted on the internet, looters are seen carrying armfuls of clothing, shoes and other items out of stores, loading their vehicles to near overflowing. Some were trying to carry so many boxes of shoes that they could barely see over their precariously balanced piles.
Police finally arrived more than 12 minutes into the video, and the looters-turned rioters began throwing concrete at the approaching officers. In another YouTube video, a large number of police officers dressed in riot gear were seen trying to protect stores, and smoke bombs were deployed by rioters. The video also shows officers being yelled at and assaulted by the crowd.
In the end, more than 100 people were arrested, two were shot and 13 officers were injured. Additionally, widespread damage was reported throughout the city by the hundreds of people smashing their way into stores on Michigan Avenue, areas in the South Loop and the near North Side.
For her part, Lightfoot seemed stern in calling the rioting and looting “straight-up felony criminal conduct.” Yet it’s hard to take her seriously when she’s done nothing more to address the problem of widespread inner city shootings than to ask drug gangs to stop shooting each other on the streets.
Lightfoot’s strong words also ring hollow in light of Cooke County Prosecutor Kim Foxx basically giving looters the green light to steal whatever they want. Foxx has previously stated that she will not charge individuals for retail theft under $995.
Of course, law-abiding citizens in Chicago are much more poorly equipped to defend themselves against criminal violence than those in most areas, thanks to the city’s and the state of Illinois’ restrictive laws. Not only must prospective gun owners be 21 years old (unless they have a parental signature), they must obtain a Firearms Owners Identification Card (FOID) to purchase a gun. That’s no easy task, as applicants must meet the following requirements: no felony or domestic violence convictions, not subject to a restraining order, no convictions for assault or battery, have not been a patient in a mental hospital, not an illegal immigrant, not a fugitive from justice, neve renounced U.S. citizenship, have not failed a drug test within the prior year, have not been addicted to a controlled substance within the prior year, and have not been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.
In addition, Cooke County also has banned so-called “assault weapons” (semi-automatic rifles) and “high-capacity” magazines (normal-sized magazines that hold more than 10 rounds). Unfortunately for law-abiding citizens, violent criminals aren’t required to follow such laws in Lightfoot’s Chicago and can very easily buy any and all the guns they want on the streets.
In the end, it remains to be seen whether Lightfoot will give her police department free reign to regain control of the city’s streets and protect its residents and business owners. From what we’ve seen in the past, we’re not holding my breath.