Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Apocalypse Now?

TBG and I were listening to the talking heads on CNN this afternoon, putting away laundry and making snarky replies to the voices when we stopped in our tracks, looked up at the screen... then each other... stunned.  80% of the victims of violent crime in Chicago refuse to cooperate with the police.

Amidst an epidemic of deaths and mayhem, only 20% of the victims are helping the police to solve the crime.  As the CPD interviewee ruefully reminded us, it's hard to turn the tide when the victims are hostile witnesses.

Hearing that, I had to stop and wonder, were they hostile or were they afraid?  Were they prepared to settle the score themselves, or were they frightened that further damage would be done should they choose to help? Did they feel so uncertain, so insecure, that laying low was their only option? What is it like, being unable to trust the police?

Politics aside, I'm making a connection between the people in those neighborhoods caught up in gang violence and villagers in Afghanistan. Both here and there, random guys with great big guns are tearing around, shooting up the populace. The police are trying, but they aren't getting much help from the victims; it's too dangerous to speak out.

At least, in Chicago, the local officers aren't turning their weapons on one another.  Would that the same could be said for the Afghans. NPR posed the question clearly - how do you trust someone with a loaded gun?  Working side by side makes no difference; the distrust is so deep, the political environment so toxic, the weaponry so available that safety becomes relative. The US military has begun stationing armed troops with the police training forces, for the safety of the US trainers. 

We are there to help them build a nation.... and they are shooting at us?  

Fly back with me to Chicago.  I wish I could embed this map but the interwebs won't let that happen.  If you click through you'll be able to hover over fists (representing assaults) and guys in black (robbers) and bulls-eyes (shooting) and see the date, time and details, like these
One man was shot.... shooting stabbing no perp info....shooting stabbing.... armed robbery.... 37 year old man shot in the back.....15 year old boy was fatally wounded...
and on and on and on.  Yet 80% of the victims won't work with the police to bring their assailants to justice.  Like the Afghan villagers, they are at the mercy of the thugs who rule the roost.  The police, the soldiers, they all go home at night.  The residents remain, in thrall.

4 comments:

  1. I think that often one loses all trust in the police after being shut out by them. When I was 23 years old, in Los Angeles, I was a victim of a violent crime. I seldom write the word victim nor tell the story but I felt is was okay here.. When I woke up in the hospital, I was told I was hit by a car and robbed. I was also told to go to the police station and do a formal report. Not only did they not even want to do the paperwork, they looked at me and said :are you sure you were not beat up by your boyfriend? - why would I ever trust these people for anything? Later on I did hear that there were a group of individuals driving down Beachwood Dr (where I lived in LA) with there lights out looking for prey.. so I wasn't the only person hurt but, I didn't matter to the LAPD. It took me years and a really good therapist before I would even go out of the house at night alone at night...

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  2. Of course, you are right, Julie. Jan 8, 2011 was such a big deal that everyone was on "best behavior" but when we were robbed in Chgo in the early 1980's the police didn't care and we felt very alone.

    Good therapists are wonderful, aren't they? So glad you are going out now... and that The Burrow was a safe place for your story to be told. You know we all understand that "victim" is a loaded word....
    a/b

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  4. One man was shot.... shooting stabbing no perp info....shooting stabbing.... armed robbery.... 37 year old man shot in the back.....15 year old boy was fatally wounded...

    and on and on and on. Yet 80% of the victims won't work with the police to bring their assailants to justice. Like the Afghan villagers, they are at the mercy of the thugs who rule the roost. The police, the soldiers, they all go home at night. The residents remain, in thrall.

    ReplyDelete

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