Lake Shore Drive blocked by police

By John Ruberry

For the second time in less than a month, left-wing protesters illegally blocked a major Chicago expressway, with the goal of bringing attention to gun violence in America’s third-largest city.

You know what? People in Chicago and its suburbs already know about the homicide epidemic. As do most people nationwide. Last year Chicago, as it did in 2016, suffered more murders than the far-more populous cities of New York And Loa Angeles–combined.

On the flipside, according to Hey Jackass, murders and shootings are down in 2018 compared to last year.

Zero murders should be the goal of any society, although, given human nature, it’s not even a remotely realistic one. But Chicago can do much better.

I covered the most recent lawbreaking protest, the Thursday afternoon rush hour blocking of Lake Shore Drive on Chicago’s North Side for my blog, Marathon Pundit. You can read my report here. You’ll learn that the rally was really a collection of  a baker’s dozen of leftist grievances.

What was that I said about illegal protests? Has fascism, as the leftists claim, conquered America under President Donald Trump? What happened to the First Amendment of the US Constitution?

Nothing has happened to the First Amendment.

Let’s see what that right-wing group (just kdding), the ACLU of Illinois, has to say about street-blocking protests:

Protesters blocking traffic on Belmont Avenue last week

In some cases, government can require a permit as a condition of protest on public property. For example, government often can require a permit for parades in the streets, given the impact on vehicle traffic.

More…

Protesters do not  have [emphasis mine] a First Amendment right to block pedestrian or vehicle traffic, or to prevent entry and exit from buildings.

Father Michael Pfleger, the gadfly left-wing Chicago priest, did not possess a rally permit when he and his followers blocked the 14-lane Dan Ryan Expressway last month on a Saturday afternoon on the South Side. Should’ve he been arrested? That’s a tough call, as the Illinois State Police, which has jurisdiction on this interstate, allowed Pfleger’s group to block the Dan Ryan.

So here we have cops, with the acquiescence of Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican by the way, consenting to law breaking. Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, expressed support for the protest.

At the block-Lake Shore Drive rally,, according to the Chicago Police, who has jurisdiction on that road, that event saw 150 protesters block eight lanes of traffic, ruining the commutes of thousands. Tio Hardiman and Gregory Livingston, the organizers of last week’s protest, carefully chose the day of their disruption. A few miles south of Belmont Avenue, where the rally began, the first day of the Lollapolooza festival was underway. And about a mile away the Chicago Cubs were hosting the San Diego Padres for a night game.  While they chose their day well, Hardiman and Livingston didn’t have a rally permit either. I guess they were so busy rabble-rousing that they simply forgot to apply for one.

Protest co-organizer Hardiman: “Where is your rally permit?”

Let’s take a closer look at those protest numbers. We know there were just 150 activists blocking Lake Shore Drive. Keeping an eye on the marchers were anywhere from 300-400 police officers. Also along for the hike, which ended at Wrigley Field, were 100 media representatives and bloggers, including  of course this one.

What about the cost?

The state spent $323,000 on the Dan Ryan protest. Municipal figures haven’t been released yet but it’s a safe guess that when those Chicago numbers are tallied, the cost of Pfleger’s protest will soar past a half-million dollars.

And when the Lake Shore Drive figures are added, will the costs of the two illegal rallies exceed $1 million? My prediction is they will.

If these protests were held instead downtown at a traditional and easy to patrol location, such as Daley Plaza, the taxpayer outlay would have been a pittance. And the plaza can handle many more than 150 people. Activists can enjoy their First Amendment rights there with minimal hassles for the rest of Chicago. And since all protesters seek media attention, nearly all of Chicago’s press and broadcast outlets have offices within walking distance of Daley Plaza. Everyone wins.

When unfunded pension debt is figured in, Illinois and Chicago are essentially broke. Chicago and Illinois are suffering from negative population growth.. And if such banana republic type protests continue to run amok, more people will throw up their hands and join the exodus.

There is another possibility.

Leftists fondly look back the 1960s protests at University of California at Berkeley as the good old days. But Ronald Reagan trounced an incumbent Democratic governor in 1966 by among other things, vowing to clean up “the mess” at Berkeley. However, California was right-leaning five decades ago.

At some point Chicagoans, will scream, “Enough!”

Especially if these expressway protestpaloozas become monthly occurrences.

Blogger in downtown Chicago

These illegal protests need to end. The police need to enforce the law. And that means arresting and prosecuting the organizers of these exercises in lawbreaking.

We are still a nation of laws.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John RuberryChiraq

Chicago is five days removed from its bloodiest May in twenty-one years. Two decades Chicago had more residents, so on a per capita basis May 2016 is even worse than it seems. The Tuesday tally for Memorial Day weekend carnage was six dead and 69 wounded. You might as well add a seventh death to the the total; yesterday a man who chased a woman onto a busy street last Sunday where she was killed by car as she escaped his alleged robbery attempt was charged with murder.

What is Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, doing about the mayhem?

Not a whole lot.

Which is surprising because this is the man who shortly before he became Barack Obama’s first White House chief-of-staff said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

Sabina guns
Pfleger’s church

Rahm–you have your crisis. Even though it has a much smaller population, Chicago, which a rapper, since shot, coined the “Chiraq” nickname for, suffers from more murders year after year than New York and Los Angeles.

Why is that? Well, Emanuel and loudmouths such as onetime Obama faith advisor Father Michael Pfleger blame guns. But Chicago isn’t a setting for a Stephen King novel, the firearms don’t fire themselves.

The real problem is street gangs. With the possible exception of Los Angeles, Chiraq has more gang members than any city in the country, 68,000 of them in 2012. That’s more than the population of a Chicago ward.

If Rahm really believes that a crisis shouldn’t go to waste, he can declare war on gangs. Sure, the arrest of 100 gangbangers last month was a good start, but that turned out to be a very bittersweet minor victory because one hour after the press conference at Chicago Police headquarters announcing the busts, a city of Chicago employee was shot to death one block away, the intended target was a gang member who obviously wasn’t one of the 100.

As with most Chicago murders–this killing remains unsolved.

A war on gangs will be a tough one, Rahm will learn if he takes my advice and wages one. Gang members have their wiggled their tentacles throughout Chicago society and government, even within the City Council.

And I have to suspect that there are some John Connolly types, not the onetime Texas governor, but gangster Whitey Bulger’s mole in the FBI, within the Chicago Police Department.

Last month an alleged hitman for the Chicago-based Gangster Disciples gang, who was also a suburban Atlanta cop, was one of 48 gangbangers charged in a sweeping federal indictment.

Rahm, you now have the “opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

Yet my guess is that Emanuel will make only half-hearted attempts to fight Chicago violence. Because he’s a liberal he fears being attacked from the left–from groups as Black Lives Matters, for instance. And progressives, because they are obsessed with the rights of thugs, aren’t predispositioned to be effective crime fighters.

Meanwhile Chicagoans are slaughtering each other while Rahm is checking his latest poll numbers.

Special thanks go out to the Facebook commentor who reminded me of Emanuel’s famous quote.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

National Heritage Corridor tracksBy John Ruberry

While the protests and the riots were raging in Ferguson, Missouri after the shooting by a police officer of Michael Brown. a nine year-old South Side Chicago African-American boy, Antonio Smith, was shot to death near railroad tracks that mark the boundary between rival factions of the Gangster Disciples street gang.

No one has been arrested for the killing of Smith.

Yesterday the funeral for the boy was held in a modest storefront church.

Last week the funeral for Brown took place in suburban St. Louis. The Rev. Al Sharpton, a race-baiter for nearly 30 years, gave the eulogy. He was among the media figures, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has been in the racism business for nearly 50 years, who traveled to Ferguson to proclaim his outrage. President Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, the most reckless man to lead the Justice Department since Harry M. Daugherty in the Warren G. Harding Administration, also journeyed to St. Louis to appraise the situation.

Jesse Jackson at an Occupy Chicago rally
Jesse Jackson at an Occupy Chicago rally

To my knowledge none of them commented on the Smith murder. None of them were at the Smith funeral, not even Jackson, who lives on Chicago’s South Side. The only nationally-known civil rights figure who expressed outrage over the Smith killing was Father Michael Pfleger, a onetime spiritual advisor to President Obama who chipped in to a reward fund to find the boy’s murderer.

Locals on both sides of the political spectrum are calling Chicago “Chiraq,” in recognition that during some months when American forces were still fighting in Iraq, more Americans were murdered in Chicago some months than died in combat in that broken nation.

Now that’s a real outrage.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.