The Police State We've Been Promised

The neighborhood I live in is, to put it euphamistically, in transition. A few blocks north are the first signs of gentrification, a few blocks south and you're in an area that I wouldn't recommend walking through at night. There is some gang activity, but not much. Mostly it's just white trash screaming at each other. Occasionally, this escalates into people throwing empty beer bottles. At the end of the block is one of the much debated police cameras. It's positioned in such a way that it can't actually see down this block.

Shortly after we moved in 3 years ago, two people were shot in a drive-by across the street. This happened about 45 minutes after I'd called the police to report those same people shouting and fighting. About two weeks ago, I called to report shouting and fighting. It wasn't until I called again after someone from that group hit the window of a passing SUV with a golf club. This was over an hour later.

Flash forward to last Friday. We noticed someone setting up a grill across the street, shortly after that a few police cars arrived, and we quickly realized that some sort of gathering was being held. I went down to investigate and discovered that the police and Mayor Daley's Pet Alderman were having a small cook out for the community. Of course, as members of the community, we'd heard nothing about it. It turns out that the police had found 3 guns in the empty lot there and were celebrating the community's involvement in reporting the activity that got the police to search the lot.

Sunday afternoon, I heard an argument outside a guy and girl were yelling at each other and another girl was trying to keep them apart. The girl threw her shoe at the guy. Then started waving a rake at him. A police officer showed up shortly thereafter, and apparently decided backup was required. Within the next 30 minutes a total of 9 police vehicles arrived on the scene. Eventually the shoe-thrower was handcuffed and taken away.

So... if you call in a large group of people shouting and throwing beer bottles in the middle of the night, you have to wait an hour and for actual violence to be committed before a single police officer shows up. But throw a shoe at someone on a sunny afternoon and half the department responds? Is it any wonder that it becomes harder and harder to treat the police department with the respect that most of the officers actually deserve?

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