North Michigan Avenue ‘not safe,’ says rifle association
Loop North News

CRIME & SAFETY

21-Nov-12 – Last weekend’s stabbing at the Westin hotel on North Michigan Avenue has the Illinois State Rifle Association again concerned about the Magnificent Mile and surrounding neighborhood.

“The ISRA has been warning citizens for a couple of years that the Gold Coast area is not safe,” said the association’s executive director, Richard Pearson, in a news release on Tuesday.

“In the summer it is flash mobs that terrorize visitors to the Magnificent Mile and now it appears that the hooliganism has extended its reach into the holiday shopping season.”

Visitors to Michigan Avenue’s upscale shops are targeted, suspects Pearson, because they are perceived as affluent.

The state rifle association is an outspoken critic of gun control laws in Illinois. The incidents on Michigan Avenue, says Pearson, point “to the urgent need for Illinois to join the rest of the nation in allowing its citizens to decide how to best protect themselves and their families from the violent criminals who roam our street.”

Following the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on Saturday, a 67-year-old physician from Oak Brook was assaulted in a restroom at the Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago. Dr. Mir Jafar Shah was stabbed and punched in what police say was an attempted robbery by a man who had been released from prison eight days earlier. Jimmy Harris, a 56-year-old with 60 arrests on his record, was serving a sentence for armed robbery.

Chicago Police Department As he fled the hotel, Harris (left) allegedly stabbed in the chest a bartender who chased after him. Harris was later caught inside the nearby Cheesecake Factory restaurant.

Denied bail and still in custody, he was charged with attempted first-degree murder, unlawful restraint, and two counts of aggravated battery.

Both men who were attacked are expected to recover from their injuries.

CPD not doing enough, says former officer

A former Chicago police officer, now a private investigator in Los Angeles and a vocal gun rights advocate, blames gun bans and a current police department that is “under-funded, under-armed, ineffective, and largely irrelevant.”

Writing Monday in his blog, Crime, Guns and Videotape, Paul Huebl (right) says public safety and other issues have left Michigan Avenue, specifically, “all but on life support.”

“The City of Chicago refuses to protect its citizens and visitors and then refuses to let them protect themselves. Chicago can become a ghost town like Detroit or simply get smart.”

Paul Huebl

Huebl says police officers should not enforce gun bans and avoid arresting anyone who has used deadly force in self-defense.

 More info: Crime, Guns, and Videotape

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | sdahlman@loopnorth.com

Published 21-Nov-12 12:10 AM

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January 20-21 @ 7:30 p.m. January 22 @ 3 p.m. Tickets: $30. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago Avenue. Map. More info.

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