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The Home Front

(Above) Strother Martin in the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke.

It is war in Chicago between law enforcement and law breakers, and the longer a solution remains elusive, the more difficult the decisions become.

6-Sep-22 – “What we’ve got here is...failure to communicate.”

That famous line spoken by warden Strother Martin to petty criminal Paul Newman in the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke pretty much sums up the end of summer in Chicago.

The Windy City truly is out of control. With “spinner” drivers drifting and drag racing through the streets almost every night to show off how cool they are, pedestrian deaths are starting to pile up.


On a recent weekend street takeover, Chicago police arrested nine people, impounded seven cars, and identified 22 additional vehicles for future impoundment.

A Chicago City Council ordinance passed in June allows police to impound cars involved in stunt driving, and offenders can be issued $10,000 fines.

(Left) Drifting, when a car is steered despite loss of traction, at an intersection in Chicago, caught by a user of the Citizen mobile app.

But the under-manned cops aren’t winning every street battle.

At a blocked intersection on the 600 block of West Cermak Road in Pilsen, an angry crowd recently attacked police officers with bricks, a road sign, a tree, rocks, and fireworks as a police vehicle drove toward the crowd. Six squad cars were damaged in this 3 a.m. incident.

On the 6400 block of South Cicero Avenue near Midway Airport at 1:30 a.m., a 40-year-old female pedestrian was killed in a crosswalk after two Corvettes drag raced.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot pinned the blame for the dangerous stunt shows on social media companies and called for federal regulation and enhanced police surveillance across platforms where events are planned.

Police Superintendent David Brown sarcastically thanked the people posting social media videos from the street takeovers, noting that police surveillance technology is studying the clips to identify the cars.

Brown also urged the City Council to amend the ordinance to increase the stunt driving fine to $20,000. Bravo! We’ve got to take the children’s Big Wheels away and give them a time out.

To help quell street violence, looting, carjacking, and gangbanger gun violence, the city plans to hire 500 new police officers.



Brown boasts that only 447 homicides were committed in Chicago through the end of August 2022. That means the city is on a pace for more than 600 murders for the full year of 2022, compared with 797 in 2021 and 772 in 2020.

This writer urges the city to hire 5,000 new police officers, including 1,000 RoboCops – computerized robots from the 1987 film that will recognize bad guys and take them out.

My July 12, 2021, Home Front column – more than a year ago – reported that the streets of Chicago are under siege.

A year ago, Police Superintendent Brown blamed judges, the court system, and bail reform that provides easy electronic monitoring for gun felons. Meanwhile, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx blamed the police for not making enough arrests.

We are fed up and can’t take anymore. It is time for the people of Chicago to take a stand to begin to solve the runaway gun violence, looting, carjackings, and street takeovers plaguing the city.

The killers are gang members and drug dealers fighting over turf for illegal drug sales in Chicago’s streets, mostly on the South and West sides.

The city’s 100,000 gang members have guns and are emboldened and unafraid. An estimated 2,000 of these hardcore gangbangers are trigger men in hundreds of shootings and murders.

Photo by Steven Dahlman

(Left) Chicago firefighters load a man into an ambulance following a shooting outside Snicker’s Bar & Grill at State & Illinois on July 10, 2022. Photo by Steven Dahlman.

Here are some common-sense suggestions for forming an Anti-Weapons, Street Takeover, and Crime Taskforce to remove thousands of weapons, killers, looters, carjackers, illegal spinners, and drag racers from the streets.

Establish Marshall Law. Many of Chicago’s streets are combat zones. Governor J.B. Pritzker should call out the National Guard to help the city retain control of the streets. U.S. Army troops and the National Guard, with FBI, ATF, and Chicago police backup, should set up roadblocks in Chicago’s problem neighborhoods to do searches and seizures for illegal guns, and arrest gang members on outstanding warrants and parole violations.

This really is anti-terrorist work. The federal government should set up military occupation camps in gang neighborhoods so troops can go on night combat patrols to ferret out the gangbangers who are on killing sprees.

The gangs are so bold they likely will take the challenge and shoot it out with federal troops. Big mistake for the gangs, especially if the troops bring in the armored personnel carriers, heavy weapons, and tanks. Let’s arrest and prosecute to the fullest measure of the law those hardcore criminals who survive.

House-to-house weapons searches. Remember, this is a war on guns, really a military operation like fighting terrorists in Afghanistan. If illegal weapons are found in “hot” gang neighborhoods, they need to be confiscated and the illegal gun owners need to be prosecuted. Gang-owned automobiles and properties also should be confiscated and auctioned.

Target gun trafficking. Launch a federal crackdown on gun shops in Indiana and Wisconsin, and other nearby states and suburban Chicago locations, which are selling thousands of weapons to gangs via straw purchasers.

Demand neighborhood intelligence cooperation. We always see the same sad-faced “neighborhood activists” complaining on television news about shootings and the killing of innocent children who happen to be in the path of those bullets. Now, it is the neighborhood groups’ turn to help identify the shooters. They likely know who their gang neighbors are.

Much tougher weapons penalties. If a gangbanger has been arrested on weapons charges more than two times, he or she is a habitual offender and a three-time loser and should be incarcerated for life in federal prison without parole.

One more suggestion. Round up the bad guys, put them on a bus, and send them to do jail time in Texas. Let Governor Greg Abbott foot the bill for incarcerating them.