atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2089: "Faith"? I shouldn't read the damn paper

I really should not read the Chicago Sun-Times. Mom's got a subscription to it and I normally only read the comics pages, because the paper is otherwise full of BS. And today Mary Mitchell heaves out a steamer.

The column is titled "Fighting criminals is test of our faith" and it begins with her talking about how she had breast cancer.

The article is actually about a little shrine somewhere in Chicago, where some "youths" put up a little memorial to their friend, who got shot and ran his car into a tree a few years ago.

It begins:
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I spent days on end crying.

It was not until I tacked on my bedroom door the biblical scriptures about healing that I was able to overcome the paralyzing fear.

Today, too many people who are living in neighborhoods under siege by young criminals are fighting the same battle.
What battle? Breast cancer? Oh, I get it--she means trying to overcome paralyzing fear.

...nowhere in the article, after that, does she mention faith, until the end:
Most of us catch a glance of young black men like the ones I encountered and assume the worst, in the same way the people who took a quick look at a T-shirt hanging on the tree came to a wrong conclusion.

I understand why many of us are afraid to talk to or even acknowledge the young black males who run up and down our blocks contributing to the chaos that often erupts into violence.

But we have to tackle our fear.

It is not possible to reduce the carnage without interacting with those who are most likely to become the victims or the perpetrators.

This is when we need to work our faith.
"Work our faith"?

Look, people tend to mistrust young black men for a reason: statistically they are the most violent and crime-ridden demographic in the nation. Particularly when they wear what Mitchell describes as "...the urban uniform: you know, sagging pants and white sleeveless T-shirts." That stuff says "gangbanger", and "gangbanger" means "trouble".

It has nothing to do with "faith", and everything to do with probability.

Ms. Mitchell's "solution" to the problem of urban crime is, essentially, that people should believe gangbangers are actually nice young men--they should "work their faith" and believe--rather than, y'know, address the issues of self-defense and lack of police presence and teenage mothers having out-of-wedlock babies all growing up suckling at the government teat.

She seems to think that it's not the inner city that's broken; oh no! It's our attitudes which need adjusting.

She's wrong.

* * *

Meanwhile, there's been some violence at the beach--imagine that, inner-city violence moves towards the Gold Coast when the weather warms up!--and the solution? Video cameras! We'll put up video cameras at the beach! We're not going to let people own firearms or anything, no, but we'll put up video cameras.

An 18-year-old woman got beaten up by a group of six teenage boys. Gee! Teenage boys! Were they wearing "...the urban uniform: you know, sagging pants and white sleeveless T-shirts"? Eh? The article doesn't say, but one can safely assume that if it took six boys to handle one girl, in all probability they were gangbangers.

And the writers of this piece--Fran Spielman and Frank Main--managed to slip a major blunder past the editor. I quote: "Mayor Daley said Wednesday that he wants the Police Department and Park District to draw a line in the sand--literally--because of those incidents."

..."literally"? How's that going to help? "Attention criminals! There is now a line drawn here in the sand. Do not commit crimes here!"

They don't provide any explanation of how Daley wants this line drawn, nor where it will be drawn, exactly, nor who's going to pay for it, nor how it will be maintained. (Don't they have to solicit bids for this kind of work?) They don't include the quote wherein Daley supposedly asked those agencies to literally draw a line in the sand, either.

I therefore assume it's a rhetorical device, incorrectly applied to emphasize a statement. Because I really do doubt Daley literally wants a line drawn in the sand.

* * *

On the editorial page, David McGrath demands that Washington, D.C. cut highway funds for states which don't have mandatory helmet laws. Why?

Because his childhood buddy, riding a motorcycle without a helmet, crashed and died.

"Surely I am not alone in wondering at the inequity of Illinois legislators OKing multiple safety requirements for the modern automobile while closing its eyes to the two-wheeled slaugher in the adjacent lane."


"Think about the safeguards mandated to keep up alive in automobiles: seat belts, air bags, energy-absorbing bumpers, steel beams in the roof and doors."

...David, I hate to tell you this, but none of those things are mandated by Illinois law. All that stuff comes from the federal government.

As for your buddy: I sympathize with you--really I do--but it's not the lack of a helmet law which killed your friend Frank. Frank was killed because he chose not to wear a helmet.

I'm assuming that both Dave and Frank were considerably younger than their 90s. David refers to Frank's death and then says, "Thirty years later..." so assume Frank died in 1980. He gives no other details; just that "...he skidded and flew." What was Frank doing? How fast was he going?

In 1980, they knew about wearing helmets when riding motorcycles. You could actually buy helmets in a variety of shapes and sizes and colors! Even then!

Frank chose not to wear a helmet. Perhaps if he had been wearing a helmet thirty years ago he might still be alive; perhaps not. I could evaluate the probabilities if I knew what other factors were involved in Frank's death. Was he speeding? Had he been drinking? Was another vehicle involved? Why did he skid? The article doesn't say; I don't know.

What I do know is that we don't need another federal law mandating how we should behave.

* * *

Apparently there is some kind of scandal surrounding taxicabs with salvage titles.

...I don't know what the problem is. A wrecked car, properly repaired, is as safe as any other car, regardless of what its title says. But since I can count my use of cabs over the past few years only by resorting to fractions (I've used a cab three times since 2001) I can say with authority that I don't really give a rat's ass about any of this.

* * *

Now I have to go cut the grass.

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